With over 20 years of experience working in the Somali Region, Interpeace and its partner organizations have supported and advanced state-building and peacebuilding processes. Our work has helped transform dialogue into action in the interest of communities across the region, by convening a wide range of stakeholders in neutral political spaces. Interpeace’s long term institutional partners, the Academy for Peace and Development (APD) in Somaliland and the Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC) in Puntland, have ensured local ownership in our peacebuilding approach.
The Somali Programme consists of two main and interconnected programmes – Pillars of Peace and Democratization. With the objective to build social cohesion, the Pillars of Peace Programme, established in 2009, seeks to strengthen the ability of grassroots communities to connect and provide input into evolving governance structures. The Democratization Programme, ongoing since 2011, builds on the work of the Pillars of Peace Programme, focusing on state reconstruction, aiming to increase public trust and strengthen democratic institutions. Together, these programmes have played a major role in building bridges between local communities and their leaders at all levels.
Over the past decade, Interpeace and its Somali partners have demonstrated continued relevance and resilience in the region, being part of several key achievements. In 2010, Interpeace supported Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission as its lead international technical advisor for the successful delivery of the presidential elections. APD played a key civil society role at every level of the process, including political mediation and strengthening electoral laws. In 2012, Interpeace supported the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission in the process leading up to the ratification of a revised Puntland Constitution. Building on this basis, it worked with the Commission to lay a strong foundation from which to pursue local council elections. In the meantime, PDRC made important contributions to voter education, media preparedness and managing political sensitivities. In 2014, Interpeace began its re-engagement in the south and central regions of Somalia through the establishment of a Peacebuilding Team in the capital of the Jubaland State of Somalia. As of December 2015, the Interpeace Peacebuilding Team (IPT) has grown to include an office in Mogadishu, with a capacity to operate across south and central Somalia.
Interpeace also worked closely with key actors in the Federal Government of Somalia and the federal states, providing facilitation training to civil servants across different ministries to assist in the development of key dialogue and consultation processes around the 2016 election process and wider state-building initiatives. In Somaliland, Interpeace’s partnership with the National Electoral Commission has provided significant support to the voter registration process. And in Puntland, Interpeace worked together with PDRC to facilitate the political process leading up to the resumption of the democratization process, through the launch of a new electoral commission.
Throughout the past two decades, we have engaged in a variety of processes to mitigate conflict. Some examples include APD’s land management process, which aims to develop legal, policy and social frameworks to prevent and resolve land-based conflict and PDRC’s Rako reconciliation process, which has given youth and women a primary role in resolving long-standing local conflict. Moreover, using communication tools such as the Mobile Audio Visual Unit (MAVU), which uses film to reach rural and marginalized communities that have limited access to information, we have promoted engagement and consultation with thousands of citizens in the region.
In the next five years, Interpeace and its partners will seek to reinforce the capacity of Somali society, both the government and citizens, to strengthen and ingrain democratic culture and practices that underpin state-building, and promote sustaining cohesion between Somalis at the local, regional and federal levels. This will be achieved by supporting effective and legitimate governance, promoting citizen ownership of democracy and peacebuilding, and enhancing the contribution of women and youth to peace and democracy.