Northern Kenya has a long history of ethnic conflict, violence and marginalisation, but new issues are exacerbating local tensions and providing challenges for traditional peacebuilding structures. In response, Conciliation Resources is expanding its programme in the Horn of Africa with the launch of new work in northern Kenya.
Existing community structures for addressing conflict in this part of Kenya are being challenged by issues arising from devolution, terrorism and resource extraction. These issues are exacerbating local tensions and raising new challenges for traditional peacebuilding structures. Conciliation Resources’ new project is working to strengthen community-level, national and cross-border peacebuilding in Garissa County, which is identified as one of the conflict hotspots in the lead up to general elections in August 2017.
Conciliation Resources’ Horn of Africa Programme Director, Aden Abdi states:
"Co-ordination between local, county and national peacebuilding initiatives and structures is key to addressing interconnecting conflict systems; building trust between communities and the Kenyan state; and ensuring local ownership of peacebuilding initiatives."
Within communities, the project is supporting the training and mentoring of members of Local Peace Committees (LPCs). Members, including women, youth, elders and religious leaders, are being trained in the prevention and management of existing and new community-level conflicts. The project will also support these LPCs to work more effectively with county and national government as well as advocate for the inclusion of peacebuilding work in county government plans.
Somali clan linkages across the state borders of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia mean that local conflicts in northern Kenya cannot be resolved in isolation, which is why this project will also work to support cross-border peacebuilding initiatives. This will include co-ordinating cross-border meetings with the regional body Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, Kenya, Somalia Conflict Early Warning Units and local communities.
This project will draw on lessons learnt from Conciliation Resources’ work in West Africa, where we have supported successful cross-border initiatives between Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.
This project is funded by ifa (Institut fur Auslandsbeziehungen) with resources provided by the German Federal Foreign Office.