This research project, which is a sub-project of the collaborative research centre (CRC) “Future Rural Africa,” investigates the violent side of future-making in East and southern Africa. It asks whether and how current socio-ecological transformation change existing forms of organised violence or create new patterns of violence. In the focus of the project – as of the overall CRC’s investigation – are transformation processes initiated by the intensification and conservation of land use. BICC studies both kinds of transformation under the conceptual lens of ‘frontiers’ in order to better understand the dynamics of violence on the ground. The first phase of the CRC involved a qualitative empirical study of of large-scale infrastructure and conservation projects in rangelands, particularly the Lamu Port, South Sudan, and Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor in northern Kenya, a region marked by a long history of armed conflict. The results have served to further develop and refine the concept of ‘frontier.’ In spring 2022, the second phase (2022-2026) of the project started. The focus of the field research is now on Samburu in northern Kenya, Narok, west of Nairobi, and Kilosa in central Tanzania. The aim of the second phase is to explore the extent to which the “frontier” concept can be applied to large-scale infrastructure projects in East Africa in order to understand the linkages between practices of shaping the future and dynamics of violence, and how such an understanding can help to develop interventions to mitigate violence. In addition to the project leader (C. Schetter), the project team includes a PhD student, two Master’s students and three African cooperation partners
“Supporting Small Arms and Light Weapons Control in Africa” is commissioned by the German Federal Foreign Office. The project activities aim to operationalise international SALW and ammunition control/management best practices such as MOSAICS, IATGs and UN Saferguard in difficult, often conflict-affected contexts. At the regional level BICC partners with the African Union to support their Silencing the Guns 2030 programme of work through the provision of support to AU Member States, with ECOWAS in their central role in the emerging regional Plan of Action process; with RECSA on enhancing the capabilities of Member States, particularly in relation to PSSM activities, and with SARCOM in their development of new regional approaches to countering cross border illicit SALW trafficking. The project supports the partner organisations with capacity-building measures and research-based policy advice. Through the current partnership with the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A) along with the other partners, the team conducted a field research on the possession and proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the West Pokot region in Northern-Eastern Kenya to provide policy recommendations on the local and national level to aid in combating the illicit transfer and ownership of SALW.
FooCo – Food Security and Conflict Dynamics in northern Kenya
The project FooCo – Food Security and Conflict Dynamics in northern Kenya is a collaborative research project of the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC) and Caritas Germany, which is financed by Caritas Germany. A pilot study on the interrelations between acute food crises and violent conflicts is conducted with the view to developing a larger transdisciplinary research project on the same topic with diverse humanitarian actors. The pilot study uses Marsabit county, which is strongly affected by food crises and violent conflict, as a case study combining qualitative social science methods with visualization methods of Participatory Rural Appraisals. The empirical research is conducted in close collaboration with the local nongovernmental organisations CARITAS Marsabit and PACIDA, which are active in the humanitarian and peace-building sectors. The study aims to identify the interrelations between acute food crises and violent conflicts in order to assess local communities’ diverse needs and the potentials to positively transform the local conflicts through humanitarian and peace-building support. Field research is undertaken in November 2022, with a research report expected to be written by March 2023.