Background: Why Nairobi?
My research examines the dynamics of third-party peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, and development interventions and their combined effects on resiliency of different actors in civil conflict, using Somalia as a case study. Understanding the integrated effects of these interventions over time requires knowledge of what is happening on the ground among stakeholders and primary actors at the local and regional level, how these dynamics impact the broader conflict, and the result on both local and regional interests.
Kenya has long-standing strategic interests in – and influences – on the Somali conflict. Interests include instability in south central Somalia and operations in the port of Kismayu, cross-border spillover of violence and extremism, one of the world’s largest refugee camps in northeast Kenya, and absorption of displaced persons living as refugees in major urban cities such as Nairobi. These interests have spilled over into domestic politics in Kenya and threaten stability in Kenya itself. In addition, many International Nongovernmental Organizations (INGOs) that provide humanitarian aid or support peace operations in Somalia have a large presence in Nairobi. Some, such as the United Nations and World Bank have dual mandates: (1) provide humanitarian relief aid in Somalia and to displaced persons within Kenya, and (2) support development initiatives that reduce the risk of conflict in Somalia by fostering a stable and productive environment with respect for rule of law and human rights. Some local Somalia NGOs also operate out of Nairobi due to security concerns.
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) maintains offices and conducts security and peacekeeping training in Nairobi. Many other government organizations and embassies until very recently have also managed their operations in Somalia from Nairobi. Collectively, intervention initiatives from these diverse organizations involve many sectors – government, civil society, private enterprises, international, regional, and local non-governmental organizations, and academia.
Intervention Actors and Interview Subjects
I will engage a cross-section of actors in Nairobi from these different organizations – NGOs, government, and military – to discuss their interventions in Somalia and the impacts.
Targeted actors are:
- Scholars and analysts within academia and think tanks in Kenya (and Somalia) who study issues that arise around the Somali conflict and regional efforts to resolve them (ISS, RVI, ICG, HIPS, Sahan Research).
- United Nation organizations in Kenya (and Somalia) that run humanitarian aid and development programs for Somalis (UNSOM, UNSOA, UNDP, World Bank, UNHCR, OCHA, UNIDIR)
- African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM)
- Training and deployment of peace keeping troops (UN peace support training center IPSTC, Civilian-military affairs)
- Government donor program offices (e.g., US AID, DIFD)
- NGOs and CSOs in Kenya (and Somalia) working on humanitarian aid and/or development in response to Somali conflict and/or to reduce its regional impact (Mercy Corps; Oxfam, Save the Children, CARE, SAFERWORLD, Refugees International, Catholic Relief Services, HAVOYOCO, HIRJA, SEDHURO, Somalia NGO Consortium)
- Official mediation efforts, such as those through Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) Somalia Peace Facilitation Office
- Local populace affected by conflict and interventions and the choices they make
Profiles of interview subjects
Humanitarian Aid and Development (international and local partners)
- Senior scholars and researchers in the area of regional peace keeping and security
- Decision makers responsible for strategic analysis of conflict and organization’s role and those who advise them
- Kenya foreign service officials and diplomats in regional peace keeping, security and development
- Program managers responsible for designing and implementing initiatives and those who advise them
- Practitioners who provide services in the field and those who support them
- Affected populations
Peace Operations in AMISOM
- Senior officers and soldiers at battalion and command unit levels engaged in stabilization and protection missions
- Officers providing training, mentoring and advisory support to Somalia Police Force and Somalia National Army
- Soldiers on the ground in Somalia involved in securing humanitarian corridors, logistics, and/or escorting convoys for the delivery of aid
- Civil-military affairs officers or soldiers assigned to interface with civilians and/or the AMISOM civilian components in Somalia for non-security assistance
- Instructors who train troops to deploy for AMISOM missions.
- Affected populations
Interview and Discussion Questions:
The questions fall into three broad categories:
- Understanding conflict drivers and impact from local and regional perspectives,
- Understanding the intended scope and outcomes of interventions, and factors that affect success in achieving those outcomes, and
- Relationships between peace operations and humanitarian aid interventions.
Observations of the impact of interventions on resiliency of different actors, challenges and opportunities in those interventions, and unintended consequences are of particular interest.
How Information Will Be Used:
Discussions and responses to interviews will inform a model to examine scenarios for sequencing and layering of interventions to achieve more stable equilibrium at local and regional levels. This model will then be used to test hypotheses and explore future policy options. The analysis will be presented as a dissertation thesis to the University of Maryland and may be published as an academic article.