In November 2014, Interpeace entered a partnership with Kenya’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to implement a joint pilot peacebuilding programme in Mandera, a county that faces significant peace, security and development challenges. Located in Kenya’s North Eastern Region, along the border with Ethiopia and Somalia, Mandera County has intermittently experienced clan-based clashes since 1983. These clashes are primarily fuelled by competition for political and economic opportunities as well as territorial disputes between the various clans living in Mandera. Tensions between the clans swiftly escalate to large scale acts of violence, while the porous international borders have allowed infiltration by militant groups from Somalia. These militant groups have further contributed to insecurity, often launching deadly attacks both in Mandera and in other parts of Kenya.
Interpeace’s partner in Kenya, the NCIC, was established to help build lasting peace in Kenya following the 2008 post-election crisis. After the December 2007 elections Kenya experienced deadly violence perpetrated along ethnic lines. The NCIC is a government agency mandated to foster lasting peace and cohesion between Kenya’s various ethnic communities. Interpeace and the NCIC signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2014, formalizing a partnership that will enable them to collaborate on the Mandera pilot programme. The partnership will make it possible for Interpeace to share its two decades of peacebuilding experience with the NCIC. It is also hoped that the Mandera Pilot Programme – which is Interpeace’s first initiative in Kenya – could spawn future initiatives for sustainable peace in the broader Mandera Triangle, a conflict prone region in the Horn of Africa where Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia converge geographically.