For almost 20 years, Interpeace has worked in the Somali Region to support and advance statebuilding and peacebuilding processes. It works with and through Somali partners, the Academy for Peace and Development (APD) in Somaliland and the Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC) in Puntland. It also supports a decentralized Peacebuilding Team in southern Somalia, currently with presence in Mogadishu, Kismayo and Baidoa, with more key locations soon to be added.
Interpeace partners are experts at building and maintaining neutral spaces for dialogue and drawing together a broad range of stakeholders in participatory processes that promote social reconciliation, improve local governance and strengthen democratization.
The Interpeace Somali Programme consists of two main and fundamentally interlinked programmes, the Pillars of Peace programme and the Democratization programme.
The Pillars of Peace programme was established in 2009 to build social cohesion in the communities of Somaliland, Puntland and southern and central Somalia. It also aims to strengthen the ability of grassroots communities to connect and provide input to their evolving governance structures.
The Democratization programme builds on the work of the Pillars of Peace programme. It approaches state reconstruction and governance processes in the region from a peacebuilding perspective that seeks the broadest possible engagement of stakeholders.
Together, these programmes have played a major role in bridging the gap between and among local communities and their leaders at all levels.
With an established presence in the Somali region, Interpeace and its Somali partners have demonstrated continued relevance, resilience, and ability to translate dialogue into action in the interest of communities across the region. The following are some key achievements and activities to date.
Interpeace supported Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission as its lead international technical advisor for the successful delivery of presidential elections in 2010. APD played a key civil society role at every level of the process, including political mediation and strengthening of electoral laws.
All Interpeace partners have engaged in a variety of processes to mitigate conflict. Examples include APD’s land management process, which aims to develop legal, policy and social frameworks to prevent and resolve land-based conflict; PDRC’s Rako reconciliation process, which has given youth and women a primary role in resolving a long-standing local conflict; and the Peacebuilding Team’s efforts to develop local structures in southern Somalia that will increase social cohesion across clan lines.
Interpeace supported the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission in the process leading up to the ratification of a revised Puntland constitution in 2012. Building on this basis, it worked with the Commission to lay a strong foundation from which to pursue local council elections. At the same time, PDRC made important contributions to voter education, media preparedness and managing political sensitivities.
In Baidoa, Interpeace’s local peacebuilding team worked with the regional administration, youth groups and students to support the establishment of a regional youth leadership – the first such initiative in the South West State of Somalia. With the continued support of Interpeace, the youth leadership will focus its efforts on promoting greater involvement by youth in regional peacebuilding initiatives and to provide alternatives to youth to prevent them from being recruited by armed groups.
Interpeace and its Somali partners are placing the experiences gained and lessons learned in Puntland and Somaliland at the disposal of stakeholders in the nascent democratic processes in southern and central Somalia and at the federal level.