These variables refer to the framework of the organizations or initiatives, the way they are set up and conceived. Some of the variables are assessed on a scale while others are organised according to types that are deduced from the data collected to date and therefore bound to change as more data is collected and analysed.
Direction of engagement
The social and political relationship between leaders/activists in the initiative and the participants. There are three main directions to consider: (a) top-down, (b) bottom-up and horizontal comprising of (c) elites peer-to-peer and (d) general public horizontal engagement.
Relationship with state authorities
We code for each organization its relationship with state authorities ranging from formal to independent: : (a) Formal initiatives are those which are directly led and run by the state or by an authority appointed by and reporting to the state. (b) A semi-formal relationship describes initiatives that are partially led by state authorities but with significant leadership from non-state actors. (c) Informal but engaged relationship relates to initiatives that are exclusively and fully led by non-state actors, but state authorities still engage in some way, either by funding, as participants, or in another way. (d) Informal initiatives are those which are completely independent and disconnected from state authorities.
Framing of conflict/issue
This variable is unique to the study of reconciliation initiatives. While general NGOs and civil society may address broad issues or serve communities in a general way, work around reconciliation suggest a specific issue, conflict, or harm which the initiative seeks to respond to and help overcome. However, we find that the way of framing the conflict or issue the initiative seeks to address varies significantly, with some types of approaches presenting more commonly than others.
Level of specificity in mission statement
Different organisations and initiative define their purpose and objectives at various levels of specificity, and vagueness is sometimes maintained intentionally to allow for flexibility of activities. The level of specificity is an important variable to connect to the assessment of participants feedback as well as to measures of efficacy, both self-assessed and observed. The specificity variable is assessed as a combination of two factors - how narrow or broad is the mission of the organisation, ranging from a very specific single issue to very broad and wide inclusion of multiple issues; and how clearly is the mission defined, ranging from explicit framing of both historical/political context and clear framing of the purpose or mission to definitions which have some clear framing in them but some vague elements, to mission statements which are very vague and overall avoid clear framing.
Purpose of the initiative
While many organizations have multiple objectives and goals, most organizations specify the primary practical purpose of the initiative, especially where this determines the types of activities it operates. The following list covers the most common purposes currently studied in the project, but it is not a complete list, and more purposes may be revealed as the research progresses. The first three categories – (a) rehabilitation of victims, (b) rehabilitation of perpetrators and (c) improving relationships between groups – are all clustered under ‘psycho-social’ objectives. The next two categories of (d) political activism and (e) legal activism are clustered under ‘activism/reform’ and often characterize bottom-up initiatives, and (f) refers to public advocacy. The following explains the definition and scope of each category.