A boy reads from his Koran at a mosque in Mogadishu, Somalia, during the holy month of Ramadan (UN Photo/Ilyas A Abukar)
ACCORD’s Knowledge Production Department continues to analyse the volatile situation in Somalia in order to contribute to AMISOM’s peacebuilding efforts.
As security threats in Somalia perpetuate, and its government celebrates gains made in recapturing ungovernable territory previously under al-Shabaab, the number of external actors supporting the Federal Government of Somalia is surging. The diversity of these stakeholders – ranging from traditional peacebuilding actors such as the World Bank, United States of America, United Kingdom and African Union; to new partners such as Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan and Turkey – begs for a closer examination of the role and respective approaches being used by these institutions and countries in supporting efforts to rebuild Somalia.
Staff members based in the Durban offices of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) recently contributed to efforts to understand the challenges and opportunities in Somalia further, as they undertook field research and conducted interviews with a number of stakeholders in Somalia between 20 and 26 August 2015.
Convinced of the need to better understand Somalia and its ongoing security situation as part of its own multidimensional engagements with international actors such as the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the Federal Government of Somalia and non-state actors; ACCORD deployed Charles Nyuykonge, Senior Researcher in the Knowledge Production Department (KPD) and KPD Research Intern Diana Ricardo, to Mogadishu, Somalia as part of a research consortium funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY).
Other members of this consortium are: the American University-Washington D.C., Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Istanbul Policy Center (IPC), the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), and the United Service Institute of India (USI-India), based in New Delhi.
The research by both ACCORD and the IPC will produce a report on the role of new actors in peacebuilding in general, and in South Africa and Turkey in particular.
The ACCORD field visit and interviews uncovered invaluable insights into the current political climate in Somalia and helped demonstrate that despite the ongoing security challenges that limit the movement of people, threaten freedom of association and undermine peace processes and the post-conflict reconstruction efforts of the state, there are visible signs of normalcy, particularly in Mogadishu.
Amongst those interviewed were senior government officials, civil society representatives, and Somalis living in the Diaspora. In addition to formal interviews, ACCORD researchers gathered anecdotal evidence through informal discussions with several individuals engaged in traditional as well as innovative peacebuilding activities in Somalia. This allowed for better understanding of the environment in the country.
Following week-long research activities on the ground, ACCORD and IPC staff continue to gather information and compare notes from the outcomes of their conversations with a range of actors involved, concerned with or benefitting from engagement with peacebuilding actors in Somalia.
This research, which will culminate in the production of Policy & Practice Briefs, fits well within KPD’s strategic objective of producing experience-based, academically rigorous and relevant knowledge aimed at informing and supporting the work of conflict management practitioners, governments and civil society organisations in Africa and beyond.