Interpeace has been engaged in Côte d’Ivoire since 2012 and established its Regional Office for West Africa in Abidjan in 2013.
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.
The overall goal of the Côte d’Ivoire programme is to establish inclusive, participatory and change-oriented dialogue processes. This dialogue will strengthen socio-political cohesion, restore trust and promote locally-owned development targets.
In 2013, Interpeace and its partner Indigo Côte d’Ivoire conducted participatory research in the western regions. This research revealed that the main challenge for rebuilding lasting peace and trust in the region is a widespread feeling of ‘self-victimization.’ Addressing this sentiment is a fundamental condition for constructive dialogue that develops concrete solutions to the obstacles to peace.
In 2015, Interpeace and Indigo Côte d’Ivoire engaged communities in three communes of the economic capital, Abidjan, in a participatory research to identify factors that pose challenges to peace. The participatory research focused on violence involving youth in three neighborhoods: Abobo, Yopougon and Treichville. Factors contributing to violence identified by the participants in the process are: the limits of the political economy of urban social diversity, notably increased tensions between various social groups due to competition around meager economic opportunities; the disintegration of the educational system; the transformation of family structures and the emergence of new models of social success; and the struggle for control of economic spaces such as bus stations. Participants also identified solutions that will need the implication of all stakeholders for sustainable solutions.
Interpeace and Indigo Côte d’Ivoire have managed to engage a diverse range of stakeholders, notably the national authorities and the United Nations, who have welcomed the unique peacebuilding approach and value the research results which contribute to their planning processes.