Community dialogue in Deg’Athey, Dobley.
Conflict resolution is hugely important on Somalia’s path to peace and stability. Traditional elder-led legal systems are still widely accepted and respected, and so it is vital to consider these methods and involve community actors in current peace building efforts.
To support conflict resolution activities alongside Somalia’s state-building activities, the Stability Fund partnered with the non-governmental organization Pact in implementing the ‘Broadening Options for Reconciliation, Development, and Empowerment Investment’. The project was implemented in several districts throughout the Kenya-Somalia border and aimed to improve the peace and governance capacities of district administrations as well as strengthen community peace initiatives.
To ensure the independence of community-based peace organizations in conflict resolution and mitigation, Pact carried out a capacity assessment in an effort to understand and improve the capacity and effectiveness of peace organizations. As a result, 19 local partners were trained, coached and mentored. Partners rolled out the training to community sector groups, such as: councils of elders, women groups, youth groups, livestock market mediators, and peace committees, who take an active role in conflict resolution in their communities, independent from external support. Throughout the implementation of the project there has been improved cooperation and networking among peace builders leading to the formation of joint response units in Gedo and Juba region.
Pact also worked with local government peacebuilding initiatives to improve their responsiveness and involvement in conflict mitigation and resolution. As a result, 1,648 district administrators, security agents, the council of elders, and community policing units were trained from March 2014 to November 2015. Five of the six district administrations in both Gedo and Lower Juba regions supported the peacebuilding processes in their districts by enforcing community peace agreements (CPAs). The CPAs use the traditional Somali resolution system Xeer, which is widely accepted among communities within the region. Under Xeer, elders serve as judges who mediate cases between parties. Community-based peace organizations together with local government peacebuilding initiatives resolved 22 conflicts amongst communities in Gedo and Juba region using CPAs.
Peace dividends were constructed in partnership with local contractors to serve as connectors between conflict- affected communities. Together with the community oversight body three markets were constructed, a vegetable and meat markets in Luuq and livestock market in Elwak. In addition, three health care facilities in Dollo, Afmadow,
and Hoosingo were constricted. Four water pans each at Duyagaron, Waldena, Borubirdeso, and Nasri and a community hall in Raskiamboni were constructed. The hope is that co-managing and sharing community facilities will help conflict-affected communities to rebuild broken relationships, ultimately contributing to lasting peace. Hire Mahamud Nuur, the Chairman of the Community Working Group (CWG) commented “As a community member I feel the communities are recognizing the contribution of the facility, it has made most of them [conflicting communities] interact and realize there is a lot of inter-[clan] relationships and [I] hope that can help us make peace”.
A year on from completion of the project in Gedo and lower Juba the structures and mechanisms that were established for conflict prevention, mitigation and response remain.