Context

Since the end of the socio-political crisis in 2011, the situation in Côte d’Ivoire has become more stable and the country has gradually entered a reconstruction phase. A number of major infrastructure projects initiated by the state have resulted in continued economic growth. Despite these positive developments, the socio-political situation remains fragile. Tensions between communities exist within the city of Abidjan, and in the forest area of the west, both areas being home to much of the socio-political tensions and violence that have affected Côte d’Ivoire for over a decade.

Interpeace has been engaged in Côte d’Ivoire since 2012, working with local partner Indigo Côte d’Ivoire (CI). Interpeace and Indigo CI have been particularly active in the western regions of the country, where our 2013 and 2017 participatory action research projects revealed that the main challenges to social cohesion and lasting peace is a widespread feeling of ‘self-victimization’, a trust crisis between the populations and the local authorities, and tensions around the figure of the foreigner. Since 2015, Interpeace and Indigo-CI have also engaged on issues of youth violence and resilience to violence, including in Abidjan, through participatory research projects, as well as operational initiatives aimed at reintegrating youth gang members within their communities.



Goal

Together with Indigo Côte d’Ivoire, we aim to consolidate our position in the field of social cohesion, with a strong emphasis on conflict prevention and management, as well as youth (resilience to) violence, by engaging local actors, citizens and local authorities alike, towards the participatory analysis on, and the strengthening of local responses to local challenges to peace.



PRECIS Project - Prevention of political violence and strengthening of democratic governance through collaborative, citizen mediation in three risk areas in Côte d'Ivoire

Despite the end of the socio-political crisis in 2011 and the constant economic growth, Côte d'Ivoire remains vulnerable to political violence. The upcoming presidential elections in October 2020 are already a source of instability and could be the trigger of an outburst of violence. In this context, Interpeace, in partnership with Indigo Côte d'Ivoire and SeeD (Centre for Sustainable Peace and Development) is carrying out a 24-month project aimed at preventing political and electoral violence, with the support of the European Union. The project takes place in three areas identified as being amongst the most at risk of political violence: the district of Abidjan, the district of the Montagnes and the Bandama Valley. The project first aims to provide a comprehensive mapping of political violence in Côte d’Ivoire and of its main triggers, by conducting a wide participatory quantitative research,...

YPS (Youth Peace and Security) in practice: (Self-)analysis and leadership reinforcement of young people in preventing political violence in Côte d'Ivoire

Funded by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), this 18-month project aims to support the practical implementation of the United Nations’ Agenda on Youth Peace and Security (YPS), mainly by supporting and “working with” existing youth-led initiatives that engage in peacebuilding activities in their respective communities. The Ivorian youth is commonly perceived as a key actor of political violence, being the victims of political instrumentalization and violent mobilization, especially in electoral contexts. To change this limiting perception and to highlight youth’s commitment to, and potential for peace, the project recognizes and strengthens youth leadership in the prevention of political violence - 2020 and 2021 being sensitive election years in Côte d’Ivoire. In this sense, the project does not perceive young men and young women as mere “beneficiaries” but as active partic...

Helping re-shape national policy on Islamic Education Structures

Interpeace is supporting the Ivorian Ministry of Education in shaping the development of the “National Strategy on Integration of (students of) Islamic Education Structures in the formal education system in Côte d’Ivoire”. The stakes are high for this integration process, because a significant number of children who attend Islamic education structures (which are mostly not officially recognized by the State) do not simultaneously attend public schools. Hence, the development of that strategy is one of the government’s main instruments in implementing the law on compulsory schooling for children between 6 and 16 years of age. From 2017 to 2018 Interpeace and Indigo Côte d’Ivoire started their involvement with the National Education Ministry (MEN) by conducting a participatory research on traditional Quranic schools and talibé children, with the financial support of UNICEF and the EU. By...

Strengthening participatory governance on land tenure in rural areas

In 2019, Interpeace and Indigo Côte d'Ivoire initiated a Project in the Mountain District and the Worodougou Region, whose objective is to contribute to the sustainable and inclusive governance of the State-led process consisting in securing land tenure and protecting specific areas. Through this EU-funded initiative, the aim is to generate, within populations, a good understanding and full participation in the processes of preservation of protected areas and delimitation of villages territories. This 22-month project also intends to work to alleviate the tensions related to these initiatives, by setting up a framework for collaboration between stakeholders in the different processes. The first phase consists in a dialogue and information process with the populations, the authorities and the civil society, to contribute to generate a common and in-depth understanding of the socio-political dynamic...

Fostering sustainable social cohesion

In the Western District of “Les Montagnes,” Interpeace and Indigo Côte d’Ivoire, with the support of the EU, were able to (1) foster collaboration and increased trust between local authorities and Peace Committees in 9 localities (informal committees that aim at preventing or solving local conflicts) in Western Côte d’Ivoire; and (2) enhance the conflict management skills of the members of the targeted Peace Committees. The combination of these two achievements resulted in the decrease of social tensions within the target communities. In order to catalyze the positive changes in conflict resolution and social cohesion, we will further facilitate collaboration between the local authorities and peace committees in the region. We will share these achievements and good practices with the regional and national authorities in order to institutionalize the role of—and collaboration with—peac...

Destigmatizing the so-called “microbe” youth

The perceptions and attitudes of parents, teachers, communities and journalists towards the so-called “microbe” children (youth gang members) have positively changed in the Abidjan districts of Abobo and Yopougon, where Interpeace and Indigo Côte d’Ivoire operate. The narrative around these children has become more humanized and less stigmatizing. This positive transformation is a critical achievement considering the increasing violent tensions around the phenomenon of the “microbes” since the end of the post-electoral crisis. This change in perception and attitude was incrementally achieved throughout 2018 thanks to enduring efforts in confidence building, dialogue, and individual support of Indigo Côte d’Ivoire’s teams for the various target groups. Throughout 2016 and 2018, Interpeace and Indigo managed to generate a deeper understanding of the “microbes” phenomenon at all le...

Analyzing the root causes of youth-led violence in West Africa and the Sahel Region

Generally analyzed through the lenses of “radicalization” or “violent extremism”, dynamics of young people engaged in new forms of violence is the focus of growing international scrutiny, especially in West Africa. However, as this interest grows, we realize that our current understanding does not allow us to fully grasp the phenomenon’s complexity. Furthermore, young people are rarely associated to this analysis and even less so to the solutions developed. Therefore, the solutions proposed can only be partial or ineffective. A Participatory Research led by Interpeace, together with its partners IMRAP and Indigo Côte d’Ivoire, supported by UNICEF, describes how societies and dynamics surrounding young people in Mali and Côte d’Ivoire structure the trajectories of some of the latter towards violence. Ideology (namely religious) appears less like a decisive motivation, but rather as l...

Resources