MARCH 2015Leveraging Local Knowledge forPeacebuilding and Statebuildingin AfricaE D I T E D BY A N D R E A Ó S Ú I L L E A B H Á I N
Cover Image: Kibera, the largest ofNairobi's slums, and the secondlargest urban slum in Africa, with anestimated population of between800,000 and 1.2 million inhabitants.Nairobi, Kenya, 2010. Ollivier Girard.Disclaimer: The views expressed inthis paper represent those of theauthors and not necessarily those ofthe International Peace Institute. IPIwelcomes consideration of a widerange of perspectives in the pursuitof a well-informed debate on criticalpolicies and issues in internationalaffairs.ABOUT THE EDITORANDREA Ó SÚILLEABHÁIN is a Senior Policy Analyst atthe International Peace Institute.Email: [email protected] owes a debt of thanks to all of its donors, whosesupport makes publications like this one possible. In particular, IPI would like to thank the Carnegie Corporation ofNew York, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and thegovernment of Finland, who supported the project onLeveraging Local Knowledge for Peacebuilding andIPI PublicationsAdam Lupel, Director of Researchand PublicationsMarie O’Reilly, Editor and ResearchFellowMarisa McCrone, Assistant ProductionEditorStatebuilding in Africa.The editor would like to express her gratitude to a numberof individuals for their guidance throughout the project:Francesco Mancini, Maureen Quinn, John Hirsch, YoussefMahmoud, and Adam Smith at IPI; Camilla Campisi andAndrew Tomlinson at the Quaker UN Office; GraemeSuggested Citation:Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, ed.,“Leveraging Local Knowledge forPeacebuilding and Statebuilding inAfrica,” New York: International PeaceInstitute, March 2015. by International Peace Institute,2015All Rights Reservedwww.ipinst.orgSimpson at Interpeace; and Vincent Kayijuka at the UNPeacebuilding Support Office. Wendy Chen contributedinvaluable research assistance, and Marisa McCrone andMarie O’Reilly provided skilled editing support.IPI would also like to thank the members of the virtualadvisory board for this project (listed in the annex) and theregional meeting participants for their insights. And theeditor extends her gratitude to the many peacebuildersfrom local, national, and international organizations whoshared experiences and lessons from their work for lastingpeace.
CONTENTSExecutive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iiiIntroduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1Andrea Ó SúilleabháinWomen, Local Governance, andStatebuilding in Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Yasmin M. KhodaryYouth Peacebuilding in Burundi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15Nestor NkurunzizaStatebuilding, Local Governance, andOrganized Crime in Mali . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24Frank OkyereLocal Alternatives afterElection-Related Violence in Zimbabwe. . . . . . . . . . 32Webster ZambaraNew Technology for Peace in Kenya. . . . . . . . . . . . . 42Grace MainaConclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50Andrea Ó SúilleabháinAnnex. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58MEMBERS OF THE VIRTUAL ADVISORY BOARD
iiiExecutive SummaryThe call for national and local ownership ofpeacebuilding and statebuilding design andpractice has grown louder in recent years. Theprinciples of leveraging local knowledge andattending to local context have gained increasingprominence and visibility in international policy.Standards of field practice for internationalnongovernmental organizations (NGOs) andpeacebuilding missions now regularly includeconsultation of local perspectives and engagementof local actors. But regional, national, andcommunity-level knowledge have not foundeffective channels to influence and inform theinternational decision-making process. Translatingthese principles into practice—in terms ofpeacebuilding and statebuilding mechanisms,processes, and programs on the ground—is anenduring challenge for the United Nations andinternational actors.This report aims to highlight examples ofinnovative peacebuilding and statebuilding at thecommunity and local level across Africa. Five casestudies explore the work of local actors, theirrelationship to and interaction with national actorsand policies, and their influence on internationalprograms and planning. The case studies includewomen’s statebuilding initiatives in Egypt; youthcentered peacebuilding programs in Burundi;efforts to build local governance in the face oftransnational organized crime in Mali; violencetransformation training in Zimbabwe; and the useof online and mobile technologies to counterelection violence in Kenya.These cases illustrate an array of innovations andadaptations in locally driven peacebuilding andstatebuilding initiatives, and they examine thechallenges and opportunities in linking localknowledge to international policy and practice.The lessons emerging from these cases point toseven recommendations for those seeking topromote or learn from local knowledge:1. Define and redefine the “local”.It is incredibly difficult to define what is “local,”and external actors should be critical of thisconcept in relation to peacebuilding andstatebuilding. The meaning of “local ownership”is often unclear and needs to be negotiated,defined, and redefined in each individualcontext and community. This continuousexamination of local or community-levelapproaches and perspectives can lead to greaterinclusion and participation of civil society,women, youth groups, and other stakeholders inconflict-affected areas.2. View local knowledge as an existing source ofcapacity and an ongoing resource.International actors often use local knowledgeas a passive source of inputs for project designor conflict assessment. But local knowledge hasmore to offer as an existing source of capacityand an ongoing resource. International andnational actors should not only analyze conflictbut also look closely at what is working—thoroughly mapping peace resources andnetworks in local communities, to utilizeexisting structures and capacities for peace.3. Bridge the divide between local and national.In the countries studied, the divide betweenlocal communities and national governmentsoften undermines community initiatives.External actors need to engage with the population beyond national elites, and yet they are notwell positioned to intervene between the stateand its citizens. Still, if peacebuilding is aboutincreasing the resilience of societies to preventand manage conflict, then local citizens must beincluded—particularly those individuals andorganizations already undertaking peacebuilding projects. International actors cancreate links, channels, and opportunities forcommunication between local communities andnational policymakers, in addition to calling forresponsible national leadership.4. Do not presume legitimate representation.In peacebuilding and statebuilding programs,participation and representation are complexand contested processes. According to manyAfrican practitioners, international actors areselective in choosing “local” partners, often
ivEXECUTIVE SUMMARYfocusing on elite groups in national capitals.This inhibits deeper buy-in for projectsimplemented in communities without consultation on priorities and program design. Still,many civil society groups in Africa facechallenges of internal governance, representativeness, and legitimacy. As the case studiesdemonstrate, community-level and grassrootsactors do not speak with one voice, and they arenot all or always committed to peace.5. Accept that peace takes time, and plan accordingly.Today’s conflicts are cyclical, and relapse iscommon. When the international communityfocuses on a country emerging from conflict,institution building often receives commitmentsfor four to eight years of funding, when ittypically requires forty to eighty years toachieve. The transformation needed to bringinclusive governance and sustainable peace toconflict-affected countries requires long-termplanning.6. Measure the impact of local knowledge.A growing body of evidence demonstrates thathigher levels of inclusivity in peacebuilding areassociated with more sustainable peace. Still,civil society and local groups remain oftenexcluded from top-down peacebuildingprocesses. It is time for international actors toprioritize local ideas and community priorities,and to invest in more research demonstratingthat this approach leads to success.7. Operationalize local engagement.The recent attention on inclusivity has not yetled to major changes in the approaches ofinternational actors. An immediate obstacle isthe lack of guidance, as international actorsneed specific strategies and tactics tooperationalize national ownership, and theyrequire planning mechanisms that formally takelocal knowledge into account. Partnershipsbetween external and internal actors can buildon and learn from peacebuilding initiativesalready undertaken locally, and address regionaland global conflict drivers.The nature of conflict settings today, the repetition of violence, and the frequency of relapse inmost conflict-affected states require new strategiesand approaches from actors seeking to build peaceand governance. Following years of collectivepeacebuilding experience and hard lessons learnedfrom recent relapses into conflict in South Sudanand the Central African Republic, more work isneeded to ensure that peace is locally owned, thatinternational operations build on existing capacities for peace, and that these capacities areleveraged for statebuilding and peacebuildingpractice.
1IntroductionAndrea Ó Súilleabháin*Over the past two decades, the concepts ofpeacebuilding and statebuilding have emerged intandem with extensive institutional developmentsrelated to peace and security. Many of these institutions, interventions, and programs have focused onpeacebuilding and statebuilding in Africa. Nine ofthe United Nations’ sixteen peacekeeping missionsare deployed in Africa.1 All six countries placed onthe agenda of the United Nations PeacebuildingCommission since its founding in 2005 are inAfrica, alongside UN regional peacebuilding officesfor West Africa, Central Africa, and the GreatLakes region.2 Other major international stakeholders maintain ongoing peacebuilding andstatebuilding efforts in Africa, such as the WorldBank and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).Alongside this international attention, the lasttwenty-five years also witnessed the rapid development of continental, regional, and nationalpeacebuilding initiatives inside Africa. Regionalorganizations, such as the Economic Communityof West African States (ECOWAS) and theIntergovernmental Authority on Development(IGAD) in Eastern Africa, have launched earlywarning and conflict prevention mechanisms. Inthe last decade, the African Union created its Peaceand Security Council and the Panel of the Wise,among many other initiatives to supportpeacebuilding efforts.Peacebuilding is now widely understood as arange of activities that help prevent and reduceviolence in conflict-affected spaces.3 According tothe OECD, these include activities “designed toprevent conflict through addressing structural and*12345678proximate causes of violence, promoting sustainable peace, delegitimizing violence as a disputeresolution strategy, building capacity withinsocieties to peacefully manage disputes andreducing vulnerability to triggers that might sparkviolence.”4 Peacebuilding is a process consisting ofseveral dimensions and phases, from disarmamentand demobilization to institution building, transitional justice, and economic recovery.5Statebuilding comprises actions undertaken bynational or international actors to establish,reform, or strengthen the institutions of the state.6The relationship between peacebuilding andstatebuilding is complex. Peacebuilding andstatebuilding can be mutually reinforcing processesthat establish and support effective, legitimate,accountable, and responsive states; indeed, inpractice, “the state is the primary vehicle throughwhich domestic and international peace is sought.”7However, in some cases, peacebuilding andstatebuilding priorities may be in tension with oneanother.8 Definitions that view statebuilding as anational process can help ease these tensions, byprioritizing citizens’ concerns, their participation,and state-society relations.The mandates of UN missions often include“strengthening state institutions,” or statebuilding,as a necessary component of sustainable peace.This support typically focuses on the national level.At the same time, there are increasing calls for localownership of peacebuilding design and practice, totake local knowledge fully into account in programdesign and conflict assessment, and to strive for themeaningful participation of local actors—what hasbeen called “the local turn” in peacebuilding policyAndrea Ó Súilleabháin is a Senior Policy Analyst at the International Peace Institute.As of January 2015. See “United Nations Peacekeeping,” available at www.un.org/en/peacekeeping.See Devon Curtis and Gwinyayi Dzinesa, eds., Peacebuilding, Power, and Politics in Africa (Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2013), pp. xi and I.Robert Muggah and Christian Altpeter, “Peacebuilding and Postconflict Recovery: What Works and What Does Not?” New York: International Peace Institute,June 2014, p. 3.Alliance for Peacebuilding, “Peacebuilding 2.0: Mapping the Boundaries of an Expanding Field,” Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, Fall 2012, p. 12.Muggah and Altpeter, “Peacebuilding and Postconflict Recovery,” p. 3.Charles T. Call and Elizabeth M. Cousens, “Ending Wars and Building Peace,” Coping with Crisis Working Paper Series, New York: International Peace Academy,March 2007, p. 9.Lauren Hutton, “Internal and External Dilemmas of Peacebuilding in Africa,” Institute for