In 2015 an international conference was jointly organised by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and the War Trauma Foundation (WarTrauma) titled ‘Healing communities, transforming society: Exploring the interconnectedness between psychosocial needs, practice and peacebuilding’. It was aimed at assessing whether and how the fields of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and peacebuilding (PB) are, or should be, integrated. The conference was built on the March 2014 Special Section of the journal Intervention, guest edited by Brandon Hamber, Elizabeth Gallagher and Peter Ventevogel titled ‘Peacebuilding and psychosocial work’. Taking up the findings in the Special Section as well as the recommendations that emerged from the conference (Bubenzer & Tankink, 2015), IJR and WarTrauma have since conducted a systematic literature review and a mapping exercise of global practice while also reaching out and building relationships with individuals and organisations already working in or interested in working in this field. Findings from these processes provide rich evidence that by and large, MHPSS and PB practitioners operating in post-conflict settings acknowledge that an integrated approach is needed in order to interrupt cycles of violence and build sustainable peace.

In May 2017, IJR and WarTrauma together with 17 invited expert academics and/or practitioners, from around the world began to develop best-practice guidelines for an integrated approach that reflects the essential theories and practices of each field. The attached document, which emerged from the May meeting, is a first draft of a set of practice guidelines that are intended to be inclusive, practical and user-friendly.

It is our firm intention to consult as broad a range of stakeholders as possible, to ensure that these guidelines-the first of their kind- are relevant, user-friendly and that they contribute towards the ultimate goal: building sustainable peace through an integrated approach.

Your comments and suggestions are most welcome but more importantly, they are necessary! Feel free to send us your feedback in any form that suits you. Or let us know if you’d prefer a skype meeting and we will endeavor to make time to talk to you. We also welcome your sharing of these guidelines with your networks; kindly cc us in any forwarding of this email so we can file names in our consultation database.

Looking forward to your feedback by not later than the 14th of October 2017.

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