CONMICOM – conflict mitigation in communities: LforS learning and simulation game

Gabathuler, Ernst; Bachmann, Felicitas (2005). CONMICOM – conflict mitigation in communities: LforS learning and simulation game. In: LforS learning and simulation game. Bern, Switzerland: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)

Three extended families live around a lake. One family are rice farmers, the second family are vegetable farmers, and the third are a family of livestock herders. All of them depend on the use of lake water for their production, and all of them need large quantities of water. All are dependent on the use of the lake water to secure their livelihood. In the game, the families are represented by their councils of elders. Each of the councils has to find means and ways to increase production in order to keep up with the growth of its family and their demands. This puts more and more pressure on the water resources, increasing the risk of overuse. Conflicts over water are about to emerge between the families. Each council of elders must try to pursue its families interests, while at the same time preventing excessive pressure on the water resources. Once a council of elders is no longer able to meet the needs of its family, it is excluded from the game. Will the parties cooperate or compete? To face the challenge of balancing economic well-being, sustainable resource management, and individual and collective interests, the three parties have a set of options for action at hand. These include power play to safeguard their own interests, communication and cooperation to negotiate with neighbours, and searching for alternatives to reduce pressure on existing water resources. During the game the players can experience how tensions may arise, increase and finally escalate. They realise what impact power play has and how alliances form, and the importance of trust-building measures, consensus and cooperation. From the insights gained, important conflict prevention and mitigation measures are derived in a debriefing session. The game is facilitated by a moderator, and lasts for 3-4 hours. Aim of the game: Each family pursues the objective of serving its own interests and securing its position through appropriate strategies and skilful negotiation, while at the same time optimising use of the water resources in a way that prevents their degradation. The end of the game is open. While the game may end by one or two families dropping out because they can no longer secure their subsistence, it is also possible that the three families succeed in creating a situation that allows them to meet their own needs as well as the requirements for sustainable water use in the long term. Learning objectives The game demonstrates how tension builds up, increases, and finally escalates; it shows how power positions work and alliances are formed; and it enables the players to experience the great significance of mutual agreement and cooperation. During the game and particularly during the debriefing and evaluation session it is important to link experiences made during the game to the players’ real-life experiences, and to discuss these links in the group. The resulting insights will provide a basis for deducing important conflict prevention and transformation measures.

Item Type:



08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Gabathuler, Ernst and Bachmann, Felicitas


900 History > 910 Geography & travel


Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)




Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

29 Oct 2015 14:55

Last Modified:

29 Oct 2015 14:55

Additional Information:

Didactic game, also published in German.


Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback