The Social Cohesion and Reconciliation (SCORE) Index is developed through a partnership between UNDP-ACT and SeeD with USAID funding. It is implemented under a non-commercial, royalty-free licence from the United Nations Development Programme. As a customisable, flexible and evidence-based predictive instrument, the SCORE Index can be utilized to identify programmatic entry points which are most likely to have a positive impact on peacebuilding outcomes. From this perspective the SCORE Index speaks to the concerns of the donor community which fund post-conflict peacebuilding projects but are still uncertain about the real efficacy of their investments. The SCORE Index offers governments, donors and peacebuilding organisations the opportunity to systematically design and test conflict transformation theories of change before sponsoring and endorsing new peace-building programmes.

Leveraging the SCORE Index as a tool for conflict transformation

The SCORE Index is a customisable and flexible predictive instrument, that can be utilized to identify programmatic entry points with high likelihood of impact on relevant peacebuilding outcomes, including:

Developing shared visions for the future:
The SCORE can be utilized to understand factors which underlie diverse visions of a country’s future, and use this knowledge to help different constituencies build the most viable societal consensus.

Preparing for a peace referendum:
The SCORE analyses the formal content of a peace plan in the context of prevailing societal and inter-group dynamics to construct different scenarios which can predict possible outcomes of a peace referendum vote.

Building community cohesion:
The SCORE can identify factors that motivate citizens to invest in their communities and assess the quality of the social, political and economic institutions which govern the relationships between an individual and the state.

Reframing security:
The SCORE can be used to detect security threats that different communities are experiencing, and investigate how alternative security policies would enhance or undermine their sense of security.

Mainstreaming gender and youth:
The SCORE can be customized to identify needs, challenges and opportunities for the empowerment and inclusion of young people and women.

Countering violent extremism:
The SCORE can identify risk factors which underlie an individual’s decision to join violent extremist groups, alongside protective factors that inhibit such actions and instead promote constructive civic engagement.


The SCORE Process:

The SCORE index eschews the one size-fits-all approach that often characterizes cross-national indices. To ensure that each SCORE Index reliably captures the societal dynamics of the specific country where it is being implemented, the process typically begins with inclusive consultations with a broad cross-section of national stakeholders - civil society, academia, government, business leadership and grassroots communities. These contribute to an initial in-depth understanding of societal dynamics in relation to outcomes of interest, while the technique of Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping is utilized to capture and validate complex inter-relations between different system components. With such a conceptual framework in place, appropriate measurement instruments are then selected – either from the existing library of SCORE instruments or custom-made for the specific country. The SCORE index can flexibly integrate different modalities of data collection as needed, including surveys, text mining, expert assessments, and secondary analysis of published national statistics. The sample frame is then designed in such a way as to ensure that results can be reported with a high level of confidence for different sub-regions within the country, but also for distinct societal groups of interest (e.g. specific ethnic communities or social demographics). Actual fieldwork is usually conducted in collaboration with established national researchers or research agencies, who can display the needed level of cultural awareness and sensitivity to assure a reliable data collection process. Results are then processed using advanced data analysis techniques (See SCORE Concepts and Methods) with a view to developing robust and valid metrics for multiple indicators of interest, but also feeding into predictive models that can suggest effective entry points to impact outcomes of interest. Data analysis is conducted with the support of a National Reflection Group, which provides strategic direction to the SCORE data management team - thus maximizing the useful, policy-oriented insight that can be gleamed from the research process. Finalized results are then discussed with relevant stakeholders with a view to generating specific programmatic recommendations that will most effectively address identified challenges. These can then be converted into specific intervention protocols (e.g. specific programmes which support dialogue and healing; a civic participation and advocacy initiative) which are pilot tested in appropriate areas of the country while being monitored and evaluated for impact and cost-effectiveness through selected components of the SCORE index. The final step in the process is to turn over accumulated know-how to appropriate national or international stakeholders (e.g. the government; the United Nations; international development organizations) to scale up effective interventions with a view to achieving nation-wide social and political change.

The SCORE Index adheres to a multi-dimensional conceptualisation of conflict dynamics and conflict transformation. It is a fundamental axiom of the SCORE that no single discipline, by itself, provides adequate explanatory power to guide the design of peacebuilding interventions. For instance, the study of inter-group relations is critical to the understanding of any societal conflict, especially when it comes to delineating the dynamics of social threats, negative stereotypes, discrimination and dehumanisation. It is, however, essential to contextualize such an understanding by looking into ideological narratives, institutional fragilities, and lack of economic opportunities, which can all drive the evolution of polarized group identities. Even where such risk factors predominate, psychological and community resilience might help to interrupt the downward spiral from socio-political tension into violent conflict. In any given country where the SCORE is implemented, all the above potential conflict drivers and resilience buffers are considered during the calibration and model design phase - alongside other, context-unique parameters.

To explore SCORE country projects, see “Where we work”.

To read more, download the  2nd Edition - “Predicting Peace: The Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Index as a tool for conflict transformation”