Supporting Community Peacebuilders and Government Officials to Promote Reconciliation in Hirshabelle State, Somalia
The project focuses on supporting and empowering local peacebuilders in their efforts to address conflict and support reconciliation in Hirshabelle State.
Timeframe: 2020 - 2023
The overall aim of our work is to support the citizens of Hirshabelle State in their engagement to resolve conflicts peacefully and sustainably. This project continues the work started in previous Berghof Foundation projects in Hirshabelle State by increasing the knowledge and developing the capacity of the Hirshabelle Insider Peacebuilders Network (IPN).
The project includes direct support to conflict transformation and reconciliation engagement of the IPN in Hirshabelle. The IPN members take the lead in designing and organising their own activities within their communities, with direct support from the Berghof Foundation and its project team. This allows the IPN members to respond swiftly and flexibly to the needs in their communities and to work directly with conflict parties. Through these indigenous activities, the IPN is actively promoting peace and conflict transformation across the state.
One central component of the project focuses on supporting the IPN by introducing a digital networking and monitoring tool, namely arcGIS. By adding a digital layer to the existing network, the Berghof Foundation is integrating an innovative approach to localise, connect and support regional hotspots for peace – hence moving beyond just a problem-oriented conflict mapping to a solution-interested mapping of peace. The component centralises the networking of IPN members, the monitoring of impact, and the provision of targeted, effective support.
Communication and cooperation between community-level actors for peace and government officials in Hirshabelle State is critical to building sustainable peace. Thus, the relationship between community peacebuilders and the Hirshabelle administration, including the police force, will be actively fostered and strengthened in the framework of the project through joint activities and regular exchange on issues of conflict and peace. Furthermore, the project team will develop the capacity of the Ministry of Reconciliation, the district commissioners, and other relevant government officials with regard to mediation and conflict transformation.
Somalia is characterised by various types of conflict at different levels that have at their heart clan rivalry, resource scarcity, religious extremism and a lack of dealing with the past. Unfortunately, both the Somali elite as well as external actors have a history of assuming that power-sharing arrangements among the elite actors can lead to conflict resolution and ultimately reconciliation on the ground – an assumption that has proven repeatedly to be shortsighted.
The implementation of a federal system since 2012 brought with it new conflicts primarily due to the top-down approach in which the federalisation process has been implemented. Grievances developed around the (perceived) unequal sharing and distribution of resources within a federal system and have aggravated conflict dynamics in many parts of the country. Simultaneously, there are historical grievances due to the many atrocities committed during the civil war and the lack of comprehensive reconciliation and dealing with the past to address these issues. Thus, there is an urgent need in Somalia to encourage and support conflict transformation and reconciliation on the local level in order to reduce violence, foster social cohesion, and ensure proper participation in the ongoing governance processes in the country.
Partners and funding
The Berghof Foundation works closely together with the Hirshabelle State administration and partners directly with the Hirshabelle Ministry of Reconciliation.
The project is generously funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Read the full grant agreement.
- Sharif Abukar Ahmed, Project Manager (Jowhar, Somalia)
- Open Horizon Co. Ltd, Administrative and Financial Accounting Assistance (Nairobi, Kenya)
- Mohamud Hassan Abdi, Finance and Logistics Officer (Mogadishu, Somalia)
- Zainab Mohamed, Project Officer (Mogadishu, Somalia)
Trauma and Trauma Healing Workshop
In January and February 2021, two workshops on trauma and trauma healing were conducted in Jowhar and Beledweyne with all members of the Hirshabelle Insider Peacebuilders Network (IPN). The IPN members took part in a 4-day workshop on the topic of trauma and how it can be the underlying cause of conflicts and act as a barrier to long-lasting peace. The workshop also addressed how trauma may impact the IPN members’ efforts in building peace and encouraging reconciliation. The participants learned skills to identify and react to such trauma in their communities and discussed how they could integrate trauma-sensitive approaches into their ongoing peacebuilding engagements in Hirshabelle State.
Direct Support for Reconciliation and Mediation Activities of the IPN
Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding Workshop for Elders
In April 2021, the IPN members in Jowhar conducted a 3-day workshop on conflict resolution and peacebuilding for elders from two neighbouring communities involved in a land dispute. The IPN members designed the workshop for roughly 20 community leaders from both villages in order to build their capacities to mediate the conflict peacefully. The participants learned lessons on collaborative mediation, and the IPN members facilitated an open discussion between the community leaders.
Mediation and Conflict Resolution Workshop for Women
In April 2021, the IPN members in Beledweyne conducted a 4-day mediation workshop for roughly 40 women in the community. The event addressed how conflict can impact the safety and environment of an entire community. The workshop focused on the role of women in conflict resolution within the community. The IPN members provided inputs on conflict resolution and facilitated an active discussion among the participants.
Updates from this work:
- Mitigating the climate crisis in Somalia 4 Nov 2022
Publications from this project:
Mohamud Hassan Abdi
Sharif Abukar Ahmed
Media and Communications Manager
+49 (0) 177 7052758