Civil society organizations (CSOs) have important roles to play in building trust in post-conflict societies. This research examined how 25 CSO peacebuilders use communication to build trust in Northern Ireland. Our findings suggest that peacebuilders work across different levels of society as trust intermediaries. Communication is central to CSO peacebuilders’ practice in engendering trust and in demonstrating their trustworthiness as individuals, inter-group facilitators and organizational representatives. Synthesized from our data, a communication toolkit from ‘low level’ communication intervention to ‘high level’ persuasion explains the strategies that CSO peacebuilders employ to mitigate distrust and nurture trust as they work towards peace in Northern Ireland. We propose this toolkit might be malleable to trust building in other conflict-affected contexts.
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Rice, C., Stanton, E. & Taylor, M. A Communication Toolkit to Build Trust: Lessons from Northern Ireland’s Civil Society Peacebuilders. Voluntas 32, 1154–1164 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-021-00376-0