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Local Knowledge for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding in Africa

In the aftermath of conflict, existing local capacity is a critical resource for peacebuilding. In recent years, the concept of “the local” is at the forefront of international peacebuilding policy and principles. Much work remains to be done, however, to take local knowledge and innovation more seriously into account in post-conflict planning and programming. International policy mechanisms have yet to fully utilize local capacity, despite the benefits of incorporating local knowledge, experiences, and initiatives.

The Leveraging Local Knowledge project addresses this gap. This project aims to identify locally-led peacebuilding initiatives, to develop mechanisms toward more meaningful engagement of local actors in externally-led peacebuilding processes, and to facilitate deeper transfer of local knowledge to national and international policy-makers.

To achieve this, the project undertakes a combination of research, dialogue, and outreach, working at the local, regional, and international levels of knowledge and practice. Looking at select post-violence countries across Africa, IPI commissioned five case studies by local scholar-practitioners that map original and experience-based peacebuilding and statebuilding initiatives. Two cross-regional meetings—a West/North Africa regional meeting in May 2014, and an East/South Africa meeting in September 2014—will situate the case study findings in broader debates, facilitate sharing of best practices and lessons learned, and generate further insights and recommendations for more effective operationalization of local knowledge in peacebuilding.

Following a roundtable meeting in New York in October 2014, a policy report will be published to present concrete recommendations toward more effective and sustained use of local knowledge in regional, continental, and international peacebuilding and statebuilding initiatives, as well as early warnings systems and conflict prevention efforts. The Leveraging Local Knowledge project aims to contribute to clearer knowledge and direction in international peacebuilding policy, more accessible mechanisms and models to access local knowledge, and as a result, more effective and inclusive peacebuilding practice and operations.

Program staff:

Andrea O Súilleabháin
Policy Analyst