Thank you for writing to us at Ask an Advisor with your question. It is obviously a very important one, and a great many words could be written about it!
We want to be careful in responding, because from your question it seems that you may come from a different culture than we do. Where we live, in the United States, we do not have conflicts between chieftains, as you suggest you do. The nature of our own conflicts may be different in some ways.
If that is true, what can we say that might be useful to you? Here are some brief thoughts we have:
Many conflicts arise because the people in conflict do not have a good relationship with each other. They often do not know each other well; they do not understand each other; they distrust each other. Because of this, they place low value on the other person, and think of them as a possible threat. All of this easily leads to conflict.
When that is true, we believe that dialogue is the best way to resolve such conflicts. We mean a dialogue where the people in conflict can be brought together to respectfully listen to each other, and to search for common ground, a peaceful resolution to their own conflicts.
Sometimes, the people in conflict need some outside help. A third person, who could possibly be a development worker like yourself, could help bring people together and help moderate the dialogue. In some cases, that third person could first meet separately with the people in conflict, to learn more about their interests, their own goals, and their own ideas for resolving the conflict. This could occur before the people in conflict are brought together directly.
So these are some starting ideas we can share with you. They are not magic, and they may not always work. And in any case there is more to say. But we hope these thoughts may be helpful to you in stimulating your own thinking and to working toward your own local solution.
For further information, you might want to consult some relevant materials in the Community Tool Box. Specifically, you might take a look at Chapter 20, Section 6, and also Chapter 27, Section 9. Both of these have more information and ideas about conflict and conflict resolution that you can use.
We hope some of these thoughts may be helpful to you. Thanks again for being in touch, and all best wishes for success in your important work.