Lessons Learnt: Community Sensitive Border Security and Management in the Mandera Triangle and Karamoja Cluster

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Objectives and successes to date

Project objectives

The Community Sensitive Border Security and Management in the Mandera Triangle and Karamoja Cluster (CSBSM) project contributes towards Outcome 1 of the East Africa Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF)’s goals. This is to “strengthen regional capacity to manage and prevent conflict, tackle cross-border security threats and disrupt threats to the UK”, with sub-objectives “security forces more operationally effective, human rights compliant and able to integrate with UK capabilities” and “improved governmental service delivery that increases equitable access to justice and security provision”.

As a means of achieving these overall objectives, CSBSM has eight goals:
Border security and management practice in border areas of Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda is more collaborative, human rights compliant and effective in tackling cross border insecurity, crime, and irregular migration.

Policy and strategy recommendations on making border security and management more effective are agreed by local communities, authorities, and security providers in target areas of Mandera, Gedo, Turkana, West Pokot, and Karamoja. They are discussed with key national border security and management stakeholders in Kenya, Uganda and Somalia.

Improved collaboration and trust is generated between communities, security providers, and local authorities in border areas of Mandera, Gedo, Turkana, West Pokot, and Karamoja on preventing and reducing cross border violence, crime, and irregular migration.

Through local stakeholder consultation, challenges and opportunities for improving collaboration between border communities and security providers, and making border security and management more effective, are identified by communities, authorities and security providers in border areas of Mandera, Gedo, Turkana, West Pokot, and Karamoja.

A total of 145 local authority representatives, security providers, and community representatives in Mandera, Gedo, Turkana, West Pokot, and Karamoja are provided with new knowledge and skills on conflict management and community sensitive border security and management.

Communities and security providers in 15 border areas of Mandera/Gedo and 34 border areas of Turkana, West Pokot, and Karamoja demonstrate increased willingness to collaborate in order to reduce challenges and enhance opportunities identified via the stakeholder consultations in point 4.

Authorities and community representatives in border areas of Mandera/Gedo and Turkana, West Pokot, and Karamoja discuss challenges and opportunities for reducing cross border insecurity and crime. They agree on collaborative and coordinated actions during four cross border dialogue meetings.

A Policy Brief is written on community sensitive border security and management with recommendations from local authorities, communities, and border security providers. It is shared with national border security and management policy makers in Kenya, Uganda, and the Juba administration in Kismayo.

CSBSM is based upon lessons learned and recommendations from the CSSF funded Community Driven Conflict Prevention and Management in the Borderlands Areas of the Mandera Triangle and the Karamoja Cluster project that ran from September 2015 to March 2016.

Project successes: Karamoja Cluster

In the Karamoja Cluster, nine consultation meetings and surveys hosted by DDG with communities and security providers completed in Turkana, Pokot, and Karamoja identified challenges and opportunities in border security and management in the area. Dialogue meetings with relevant local communities, authorities, and border security providers have resulted in a number of action points regarding cooperation between the security providers and community local leaders, including tightening of the security at the border areas to reduce the flow of firearms and early reporting of incidences to security providers by community members and local authorities. One (1) Dialogue meeting between Communities & Security providers and Two (2) cross border dialogue meetings with relevant stakeholders to generate recommendations on border security and management are scheduled to take place in the last quarter of the project.

DDG has noted an improvement in collaboration between communities, security providers, and local authorities. The community-security provider dialogues have increased sharing of information and joint implementation of action points, such as regular meetings between community members, kraal leaders, and security providers, early reporting of cattle theft, and cooperation and support of peace initiatives. DDG continues to conduct regular meetings between the community members, local authorities and security providers in the target areas to further increase the level of trust between all parties involved.

DDG conducted a workshop for high level authorities, security providers, and community representatives from Pokot, Turkana and Karamoja on core principles and aspects of community sensitive border security and management. The workshop focused on co-operation and co-ordination, capacity building, and community involvement. In addition, DDG has held community engagement training for local authorities and security providers in Pokot, Turkana, and Karamoja as well as conflict and crime prevention training for communities at village level.

It is generally recognized that the Advanced Conflict Management Education and Community Engagement for officers from UPDF, Local Defence Unit, Uganda Police Force in Uganda together with officers from the GSU, Administration Police and Regular Police Kenya have assisted reducing conflicts between the communities and security providers.

These direct interventions in relation to the security providers have created the platform and trust to engage with DDG during the intervention period.

Project successes: Mandera Triangle

In Mandera/Gedo, DDG conducted two stakeholders mappings in Mandera and Elwak involving 25 participants (22 male and three female), resulting in a list of barriers and opportunities to improved border security and management in the area. Following this, DDG facilitated two cross-border dialogue meetings between Kenyan and Somali administrators in Elwak. The dialogues resulted in five points of agreement regarding cooperation between the two authorities, including information sharing, regular meetings, and community sensitisation.

DDG has arranged over 20 community-security provider dialogue meetings in order to develop mutually agreed action points. These action points – over thirty so far – are catalogued and followed up on by DDG to track their implementation. Despite the recurrent terror attacks in the area the level of trust between community members and security providers is gradually improving as a result of DDG’s interventions. This includes several dialogue and citizen engagement platform meetings in major towns and interior areas between community members and security providers which have boosted the mutual trust as shared by police records.

In terms of capacity boosting, DDG has held a four-day Advanced Conflict Management and Conflict Sensitivity training for 25 security providers in Elwak and two two-day Community Engagement trainings for 45 security providers Elwak and Belet Hawa.

According to the Deputy County Commissioner of Mandera South, systems are gradually being put in place to strengthen cross-border relations following DDG’s facilitation of inter-authority dialogue and engagement supports. He gave examples of progress including continuous intelligence sharing, joint supervision and review of security measures, and constructive community initiatives such as care for vulnerable youths.

Conclusion

CSBSM has made strong progress towards achieving its objectives in both the Mandera Triangle and Karamoja Cluster. In total to date, DDG provided Conflict Management Education to 1,003 community members, Conflict Management and Conflict Sensitivity training to 747 security providers, and Community Engagement training to 598 security providers and local authorities. This increased knowledge and capacity, in combination with increased dialogue, coordination, and trust between borderlands communities, local and national authorities, and security providers, will influence the development of border security and management policies and strategies to become more effective, human rights compliant and sustainable.