Impact evaluation of the Livingsidebyside peacebuilding educational programme in Kyrgyzstan
Identity/feeling of belonging
This study presents the results of an impact assessment of a school-based peace education programme in southern Kyrgyzstan, that aims to promoting interethnic and inter-religious tolerance and understanding. Ten schools were randomly selected from a sampling frame of 31 Russian-speaking schools to receive treatment. Using an oversubscription design we randomized treatment at the individual level. Participants received an eight-week extra-curricular training programme teaching them how to take perspective, to reflect on their own attitudes and beliefs and that of others, practice mediation skills and gain hands-on experience in cooperating with members of different ethnic groups through joint projects. We measure impacts on knowledge, beliefs/attitudes and behavior using a set of survey measures, behavioral experiments and focus groups discussions, immediately after the end of the training and one year after. We find that knowledge and intergroup cooperation improves and sustains in the medium term as a result of the programme. Beliefs and attitudes related to feeling at home in Kyrgyzstan and self-confidence however seem to be negatively impacted by the programme. These negative impacts are more pronounced among girls. Also, participants belonging to the country's ethnic majority are affected more than those belonging to ethnic minorities. In sum, our results show a modest impact of the programme on relevant outcomes. This may be due to the intervention being relatively “light” in terms of intensity and duration; the sample size and sample design, or some combination of these aspects. Future interventions and research designs should consider a larger and more heterogeneous sample of schools and testing varying versions of the programme that differ with respect to e.g. duration, intensity, subpopulations, and format. This would help improve our understanding of which elements of a peace-building education work (best) and how such a programme impacts various subgroups.