IPAT supports new partnership with Kenyan government
IPAT Peacebuilding Adviser Michaela Ledesma traveled to Nairobi in May and August 2014 to advance a new partnership between the Interpeace East and Central Africa Regional Office and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), Kenya. The national-level government body was formed following 2008 elections violence with a broad-based mandate to alleviate ethnic discrimination and promote diversity. Together, Interpeace and NCIC aim to contribute to sustainable peace in Mandera County, Northern Kenya, an area facing critical development and security challenges.
In two 3-day workshops, the NCIC and Interpeace sought to achieve multiple objectives. The first was to collectively validate their nascent partnership based on a more comprehensive understanding of one another’s principles, programming and institutional strengths. The second was to exchange expertise in specific methodologies and tools of possible relevance to a pilot peacebuilding process in Mandera. Finally, the partners required concrete progress towards the design and launch of the pilot, grounded in a baseline of shared contextual knowledge about Mandera County and relevant stakeholders.
To this end, both events necessitated a careful balance between structured presentations and small group work, and opportunities for less structured reflection and discussion within and outside formal sessions. The open, direct tone set by senior management animated a rich exploration of key issues including political space management, local ownership, and stakeholder involvement, among others. Coupled with participants’ ongoing, critical examination of contextual and methodological expertise introduced by NCIC and Interpeace staff – in particular Mandera County situational analysis, participatory action and consultative research, consultation and dialogue, and audiovisual documentation – the group made rapid progress towards a joint vision and workplan for the partnership and pilot.
Following the second workshop held in August, the NCIC and Interpeace are collaborating on several important milestones that will enable the launch of peacebuilding activities in Mandera County in 2014/15. These will centre upon the mobilization of a wide range of actors in a long-term process of positive societal change. Feedback from leadership and staff of both institutions indicate that the foundation for a strong partnership has been laid as well as an enthusiasm for the possibilities of continued capacity exchange and collaboration.
Participants feedback :
” The workshop has given the participants the avenue to engage and build relationships to the extent that the outcome of the workshop was owned by both institutions. From my observation this is the beginning of a successful partnership. ”
” A nice approach to facilitation, which effectively captured and synthesized what was coming from the group. An important facilitated outcome of the workshop was that concrete outputs were formulated allowing NCIC/Interpeace to draw significantly from the workshop when developing the next steps. “