COALESCE: Mercy Corps’ Social Cohesion Handbook

A mercy Corps team member listening to a community member speaking.
A Mercy Corps team member discussing how the cash assistance and WASH/water services have supported the community after the flooding with a community member.
March 01, 2024

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Mercy Corps launches its new Handbook for programs supporting social cohesion, called COALESCE: Collective Action and Local Engagement for Social Cohesion.

Social cohesion is at the heart of advancing and sustaining development goals, and to navigating crisis toward stronger, more resilient communities that address all individuals’ needs. It’s at the bright center of peace, helping people, communities, and institutions forge bonds to navigate differences and tackle shared challenges together. Social cohesion is a glue that not only enables peacebuilding, but also inclusive, equitable, and accountable governance.

The COALESCE Handbook for Social Cohesion guides program implementers in designing, implementing, and measuring interventions that seek to increase social cohesion. It is intended both for practitioners that focus on social cohesion as part of peace and good governance programming, as well as for those seeking to integrate social cohesion interventions into other development or humanitarian programs.

The handbook consolidates years of the lessons and practices from Mercy Corps’s peacebuilding and good governance programs, and across the humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding triple nexus. Mercy Corps will share the COALESCE framework with its four main elements, as well as key applications where social cohesion underpins crucial community dynamics and deliberative processes.

Notably, there are other important approaches to strengthening social cohesion that are not represented in COALESCE, and dialogue around the handbook’s launch should offer exploration of how COALESCE aligns with or complements other organizations approaches.