Consultant Services for Durable Local Reconciliation โ€“ Lessons learnt and prospects for coherence with policing and peace enforcement (SSFMR-038-C01)

  • Added Date: Friday, 26 February 2021
  • Deadline Date: Thursday, 18 March 2021


The Somalia Stability Fund (SSF) is a multi-donor fund working towards a peaceful, secure, and stable Somalia. It offers Somali stakeholders a source of multi-year funding that can respond to local needs and opportunities.

The Stability Fund aims to contribute to enhancing stability in Somalia through the following programmatic outputs:

  1. Fault-lines for political conflict (FGS-FMS, inter & intra state) are identified and appropriately addressed

  2. Enhanced popular participation in governance, particularly for women and excluded communities

  3. Increased government visibility and community engagement

  4. Reduced community vulnerability to conflict

  5. Throughout 2021, SSF will prioritise three broad areas; sub-national democratisation, district council formation, and reconciliation

SSF invites eligible and qualified entities (โ€œBiddersโ€) to submit proposals in response to this RFP for the Provision of Consultant Services for Durable Local Reconciliation โ€“ Lessons learnt and prospects for coherence with policing and peace enforcement (SSFMR-038-C01)**


Post-conflict reconciliation is a broad term that entails a wide array of often contested outcomes and processes. While the common use of the term speaks to the idea of communities resolving past violence, building mutual trust and respect and acknowledging and addressing their shared and interlinked histories of violence, much of the post-conflict reconciliation literature emphasises the importance of the fair application of the rule of law as a foundational starting point. Efforts to build trust and relations between formerly conflicting parties will be difficult if those communities continue to be fearful of violence or if the terms of peace have not been adhered to.

The demand for reconciliation in Somalia has many facets, given the complex history that transgresses local, national, and international dimensions. At the local level, inter-communal conflict is a frequent occurrence with many drivers, often centred upon issues of natural resource access and management, access to and use of political power, historical enmity, and the desire to take revenge for past killings as well as issues of land, access to markets and business opportunities, and inter-personal grievances. To address issues of protracted inter-communal conflict, there has been a wide array of initiatives with varying degrees of success. Some of the commonly pursued approaches have been grounded in convening conflicting communities, either in local or national reconciliation conferences, with a view to mediating past violence and resolving to end the conflict.

Frequently, however, while reconciliation conferences and foreign supported peacebuilding initiatives may have elicited peace agreements and/or halted violence in the short term, this has not often translated into a durable peace. Often, the terms of a peace agreement go unfulfilled by either conflicting party and any trust and goodwill that reconciliation workshops or conferences may have generated is eroded, and inter-communal tensions re-emerge. In worst-case scenarios, a re-ignition of violent conflict between communities occurs and the cycle of attempting to reconcile and resolve the conflict returns.

There are, however, examples where local reconciliation has produced more sustainable outcomes and halted re-escalations of violent conflict. A good recent example is Galkayo, where, after multiple cycles of conflict, reconciliation and the breakdown of peace back to conflict, the introduction of a joint police unit that has cross-clan membership coupled with an inclusive peace committee, has had encouraging long-term results. This has provided an institutional architecture that can respond to grievances which have contributed towards a more conducive environment in which the terms of dispute resolution are enforced and where grievances can be addressed/resolved by a mutually endorsed peace committee before they escalate into violent conflict.

In other areas, there has been similar successes in local reconciliation where the enforcement of peace agreements has contributed towards the durability of local reconciliation initiatives. Lessons learning and analysis of SSFโ€™s work to support District Councils has similarly emphasised the importance of peace enforcement to local reconciliation, dispute resolution and local governance formation. Furthermore, community security initiatives and police accountability programmes of various guises across Somalia have seen indications that where policing is linked to community forums for police-community engagement, and coupled with dispute resolution mechanisms, it contributes towards increased trust in police and local authorities more broadly and potentially more durable peace.

Finally, while many programme initiatives in Somalia adopt similar principles and models of implementation, there continues to be divergences in approach, duplication or inadequate coordination. Furthermore, if and where there is value in linking security, policing and justice with local reconciliation and community dispute resolution initiatives, this needs to be understood and options for coordination and standardisation of approach created.

Research Objective

To understand the contextual circumstances, programmatic approaches and institutional interlinkages that support successful local reconciliation in Somalia.

There is a need to identify and understand the instances of successful (or most successful) reconciliation in Somalia, what are the common characteristics of successful reconciliation and how best to replicate this in ways that are feasible and effective for long term peacebuilding.

The research should identify the different types of programmes that relate to local reconciliation, community security, policing-community dialogue and similar initiatives that have been delivered in recent years with a view to identifying examples of successful (or most successful) reconciliation. It should draw upon programmatic reports and evaluations as well as qualitative interviews with peacebuilding implementing agencies to understand different approaches and their effectiveness and complement this with field research to sample a selection of initiatives to assess their impact and perceived success by local communities.

Having identified the mechanisms that have supported more promising efforts at durable local reconciliation, the research should identify local reconciliation programming best practice and make recommendations on how success can be enhanced and replicated across Somalia. It will look at the current programming, policy and capacity building initiatives and think practically about how they can work in concert to advance local inter-clan conflict resolution and build towards more durable reconciliation.

The research will, in addition, be cognisant that different models of dispute resolution may have differing success and should consider whether dispute resolution is grounded upon Xeer, formal justice, Sharia and Islamic authorities such as Imams, or newly established community dispute resolution mechanisms.

The research should consider the extent to which women, youth and marginalised groups have been involved (or not) and whether there are any connections to efficacy and impact.

Where there are security and justice programming initiatives, whether the FCDO supported Somali Security and Justice Programme, the US funded Expanding Access to Justice and UN supported Rule of Law Security Institution Group, it would be valuable to reflect on the scope and potential for closer cooperation to enhance reconciliation outcomes through greater peace enforcement through policing.

A gender and social inclusion lens should be applied when considering the outcomes of reconciliation initiatives with the rights of women and marginalised groups considered when assessing the performance of reconciliation initiatives. It is essential that violence de-escalation is not at the expense or violation of individual rights. For example, the violation of womenโ€™s rights where rape cases may be resolved through the victim being forced to marry the perpetrator.

Approach and Methodology

An initial literature review should be performed to understand the spectrum and geographical spread of local reconciliation initiatives that are performed by different peacebuilding agencies.

A criteria for assessment should be prepared that should articulate how โ€œsuccessโ€ is determined and the contextual and programmatic factors that may have contributed to or hindered it.

Programme reports and evaluations should support the ability to draw upon and evidence quantitative data โ€“ e.g. Number of reconciliation meetings in a location, number of community meetings, number of participants to a workshop or community forum, time frame over which the initiatives took place etc. Qualitative interviews should support information gathering to assess post-intervention performance.

Recognising that the number of local reconciliation initiatives may be substantial, the research provider should identify a means to sample different initiatives to perform more in-depth case study analysis to draw out understanding of success or lack of success.

The research team should assess where and how peace enforcement has been performed or effective and where or how police or other security actors have provided peace enforcement and if or how this has enhanced local reconciliation durability.

The research team is expected to liaise closely with the SSF Research Manager when developing research tools, analysing data and drawing out recommendations and lessons learnt. A consultative approach is expected to ensure that the approach taken and deliverables meet SSF needs and expectations.

Key Deliverables

i. Literature review โ€“ what are the typical types of local reconciliation initiatives in Somalia, where are they being deployed, what are the perceived successes and limitations of these approaches.

ii. Assessment framework, research plan and research tools.

iii. Final Report - Comparative assessment of local reconciliation initiatives in Somalia, characteristics of success and recommendations on best practice. This should include a reflection on the interaction between policing and peace enforcement and areas of potential improved interaction. The final report should also provide at least nine detailed case study examples of where there has been success, where there has been limited success and where local reconciliation has not been successful and conflict has returned with detailed information on what contributed to the success or failure of each.

iv. Recommendations for future programming and best practice lessons learnt to strengthen durable local reconciliation.

Key Personnel

The following personnel and associated skill sets are required for the task. Additional personnel can be proposed (e.g., a Somali advisor or additional field personnel). What is most important is that the team combination adequately covers all necessary knowledge, skills and experience requirements.

Lead Researcher:

ยท Higher level academic qualifications (Masters level of equivalent) in the area of political science, peacebuilding and conflict transformation, international development, law, security studies or similar discipline.

ยท Five years post qualification experience in a lead technical role on local peacebuilding, local reconciliation, policing and/or community security programming in fragile and conflict affected states (FCAS), preferably in Somalia.

ยท Strong understanding of Somali inter-clan or inter-communal relations and how these contribute towards the manifestation of conflict at the local level.

ยท Experience and understanding of evaluation approaches and lessons learning of programmes in FCAS settings and comparative analysis tools. Understanding and experience of research tools and approaches for social research and comparative analysis of impact.

ยท Knowledge and understanding of the Somali socio-political context and the Somali security, policing and local governance sector and how this contributes towards the escalation/de-escalation of local conflict.

ยท Demonstrable experience and understanding of gender and social inclusion concerns in peace and conflict resolution programmes.

Field Researcher:

ยท At least three yearsโ€™ experience of qualitative research on issues of social and political conflict, peacebuilding programming, stabilisation or policing and justice in Somalia.

ยท Experience collecting data through a variety of methods inclusive of key informant interviews, focus group discussions and through different contexts, such as community level data collection or multi-stakeholder forums.

ยท Experience transcribing data from the field.

ยท Experience of, and ability to, conduct research with a wide cross-section of research participants.

Duration of Assignment

The assignment is expected to take approximately 16 weeks, taking into consideration SSF feedback and review timelines. The work should be fully completed no later than the 30th September 2021.

This vacancy is archived.

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