The Importance and Value of Local Peacemaking Initiatives: Lessons From Africa

The Importance and Value of Local Peacemaking Initiatives: Lessons From Africa

Presented by: Carter School Better Evidence, April 2022

Project Facilitator: Jeffrey Helsing, Executive Director, Better Evidence Project, Carter School, George Mason University

This session will focus on the importance of local peacemaking initiatives and how outside intervenors can complement rather undermine such efforts, as too often occurs. The specific focus will be on examples from Sub-Saharan Africa. Three cases will be highlighted: a South Kivu dialogue process that was organized and facilitated by Carter School faculty member Charles Davidson and local partners in the DRC; local mediation practice in Bangassou in the Central African Republic supported by UN Senior Mediation Advisor and Better Evidence Project Advisory Board member Emmanuel Bombande; and a successful network of women mediators (HAWENKA) who have strengthened the ongoing peace process among warring Somali diaspora groups in Northern Kenya. The Carter School’s Better Evidence Project provided a grant to HAWENKA that developed lessons from the mediation with an eye to developing evidence of the effectiveness of locally facilitated peacemaking efforts. There will also be a facilitated discussion about how local peacemaking initiatives are becoming more prevalent and more successful in areas where international efforts have usually failed.


Charles Davidson, PhD. Director, Carter School Political Leadership Academy

Amina Hassan Ahmed, Director, HAWENKA

Samwel Oando, Senior Advisor, HAWENKA, Kenya; and National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, New Zealand

Emmanuel Habuka Bombande, Senior Mediation Adviser, United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs