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Abstract

An enduring problem in contemporary peacebuilding is how to effectively reconcile rival groups previously engaged in violent conflict. As part of evaluating a conflict prevention project in Burundi around the 2015 elections, a cluster randomized field experiment was implemented (n=447) to assess whether and how intergroup encounters may affect competitive victimhood. The data was collected using a survey, focus groups, and semi-structured observations. The main finding is that intergroup encounters can reduce certain competitive victimhood beliefs by affecting several psychosocial factors, with reduced intergroup anxiety being essential in the mediation process. In this study, the encounters attenuated the belief that ingroup victims require greater protection than victims from the outgroups.

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