Networks for Peace: Preventing and resolving conflicts through early warning mechanisms in Africa

Africa | Cameroon | Kenya | Uganda |

Location: Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda

Duration: October 2019 – October 2022

Communities: Rendile, Samburu, Borana, Gabra, Turkana, Mbororo, Basongora, Bakonzo, Batuku

What is this programme about?

The project is addressing deadly inter-community violence, conflicts between two main livelihoods of farming and cattle raising, identity conflicts, low community capacities, marginalisation and low trust between communities. In Uganda, we focus on conflicts affecting Mid-Western Uganda in the Rwenzori sub-region among the Batuku, Basongora and Bakonzo communities. In Cameroon, we focus on the conflict between pastoralist and agro-farming communities covering the East, West, Northwest and Adamaoua regions. In Kenya, we focus on conflicts in the North Eastern regions, specifically the counties of Isiolo and Marsabit among the Samburu, Turkana, Rendille, and Borana communities.

Why are we delivering this programme?

The project is addressing the problems which emerged as key issues in our research and consultations. The data showed that pastoralists are some of the poorest and most vulnerable populations in the region. There are usually no well-designed and systematically used Early Warning Mechanisms (EWMs) – or when they exist, many are flawed (for distinct reasons) and fail to prevent identity-based conflicts.

Minority and indigenous peoples’ (MIP) organizations usually have a poor capacity to mobilise, train and support their communities to feed into and use EWMs and to mobilise institutional responses. Additionally, the lack of strong networks between MIP organizations leads to reduced knowledge-sharing, mutual support, and collaboration at the regional and national levels. Duty bearers and decision makers lack awareness of identity-based conflicts as well as political will to resolve them.

Weak links between MIP communities and duty bearers result in insensitive interventions, reduced accountability, and continuing cycles of violence. As we are implementing this programme, we also support the communities beyond our theory of change. Our discussions with partners and communities indicate that the latter are priority areas and that they are part of a coherent framework that can be viably addressed in a project of this scale and scope – for example through reducing the prevalence of small arms and changing the land tenure policy.

In Cameroon, the Anglophone conflict, while also affecting the Mbororo populations, is beyond this intervention’s scope. These factors might be indirectly affected through our actions, for instance by amplifying the voices and demands of pastoralists and empowering them to advocate for their rights. Our activities are however not directly seeking to create change in these aspects.

What are we aiming to achieve?

  • Strengthen the ability of existing and new advocacy actors to enable decision makers to be held to account;
  • Show positive behaviour change in targeted groups as a result of the interventions; and
  • Strengthen the response to conflict and local-level crisis to improve resilience in fragile and conflict-affected states.

What are we doing?

  • Mapping and analysing conflict annually, using conflict experts, consulting with community members and stakeholders;
  • Developing, strengthening and launching Early Warning Mechanisms (EWM) in each country after consultations with stakeholders – these mechanisms being secure, accessible, easy to input data into and extract data from;
  • Organising research and validation meetings with community members and stakeholders to help test, refine and validate EWM frameworks and methods;
  • Developing verification, analysis, visualisation and dissemination methods for EWMs and training partners so that the data coming in is verified before sharing and well presented to improve ease of understanding by peace actors; partners will then be able to cascade this information to their communities and to other stakeholders;
  • Developing and publicising intervention pathways, where stakeholders agree on the protocols and responses to EWM data – communities and partners will be able to use these pathways as a basis for advocacy to hold duty bearers accountable;
  • Selecting Peace Ambassadors (with a special attention to gender balance) – the exact methodology will be determined by partners in collaboration with their communities, without duplicating any existing work;
  • Building capacity for Peace Ambassadors through four-day trainings organised by our partners in collaboration with a peace expert;
  • Raising awareness amongst communities – each Peace Ambassador will be conducting at least six awareness-raising sessions on different issues related to conflict prevention and peace building;
  • Organising networking meetings in years 2 and 3 to share information and knowledge and trouble shoot, and offer mutual support;
  • Organising an annual peace conference, which will bring together peace actors from target countries and communities to reflect on lessons learnt from the project, conflict dynamics and innovative solutions, and developing trends in conflict prevention (other stakeholders and communities may also be invited to see this project’s successes); and
  • Sensitising duty-bearers and decision-makers every year on issues affecting minority communities, conflict prevention and the EWM and response.

Who are our partners?

Our partners are:

Who is funding the programme?

This programme is funded by UK Aid Direct.

This content represents the views of Minority Rights Group only and is its sole responsibility. UK Aid Direct does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

Photo: Awaho Talla, 37 years old and a mother of five is from the indigenous Mbororo tribe, living in the remote town of Yoko, in the Central Region of Cameroon. December 2018. Credit: UN Women/Ryan Brown. Published on Flickr under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence.

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