Introducing HARP

Life and Peace Institute’s Horn of Africa Regional Program (HARP) is the youngest of LPI’s programmes.  Based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, LPI seeks to utilize its over 30 years’ experience of grassroots peacebuilding and research engagement in the Horn to address systemic and structural causes of interlinked conflicts in the region through policy engagement.

At its core, HARP works to contribute to coordinated and informed regional peacebuilding that is cognizant of conflict dynamics at the local level. By strengthening existing mechanisms and forging new platforms that link analysis and evidence from the grassroots, to policy making circles at the regional level, HARP will advocate for policies that promote inclusive, nonviolent and peaceful transformation of the complex system of conflicts in the region.

The Rationale

Over the years, it has become increasingly evident that conflicts in these regions are trans-boundary, multi-level and interlinked. Peacebuilding interventions should therefore, be coordinated and at all levels: local, national and regional. Further, in order to address the overwhelming peace and security challenges of the region, governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental peacebuilding efforts should be synchronized. Taking this into consideration and with a systemic analysis of the region, HARP facilitates platforms that enhance the participation of civil society and academia in regional policy making, mainly at the AU and IGAD levels.

What we do

The overall mission of success of the program is to see “Policies and actions at the regional level are comprehensive and inclusive in order to transform conflict in the Horn at and in consideration of all levels”. The HARP works towards this vision in different ways:

Building local capacities for policy engagement

The HARP supports LPI’s country programmes and partners’ national, regional and global policy advocacy efforts. It provides the technical support necessary to identify and analyze policy relevant issues that come out of their grassroots peacebuilding work. It also fosters the networks necessary for the appropriate policy engagement between country programmes and partners, and regional policy stakeholders such as the AU and IGAD. In addition, the RP creates space where country programmes and partners can formulate and disseminate their policy messages and lessons learned in order to ensure that LPI and its partners participate in regional policy conversations and translate their local peacebuilding work to regional policy changes.

Collaborative Policy Analysis and Engagement Platform

The HARP’s second approach to contributing to regional policies that are transformative and informed by local perspectives is through its pilot project Collaborative Policy Analysis and Engagement Platform. Informed by research that indicates a lack of coordination and sufficient collaboration between state and non-state peacebuilding actors in the HoA, the pilot project creates new platforms and complement existing spaces to minimize the distance between those that effect and those that are affected by regional policies in the Horn. 

The Collaborative Policy Analysis and Engagement Platform aspires to enrich regional policies with local perspectives, lived experiences of the people who are affected by conflict. The Platform will therefore, create a participatory and multi-stakeholder based process for policy generation in the Horn of Africa where civil society, academia and government and intergovernmental policymakers all take part in the policy process. With its lead academic partner the Organization for Social Sciences Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA) and civil society partner Inter Africa Group (IAG), the HARP will work on peace and security related regional policy dilemmas faced by IGAD and AU each. The Platform harvests existing research from civil society and academia on a selected topic, analyzes and translates it to actionable policy inputs for the consideration of primary policymakers within the AU and IGAD architectures.

This process of generating policy would further be formalized and structured through the Horn of Africa Policy Forum (HoAPF) where the current regional policies, the recommendations from the Pilot and the way forward are discussed and deliberated. While the pilot Platform is expected to run from Spring 2013 – Spring 2014, some of its components and outputs leading up to the final policy recommendations and the HoAPF will be widely shared through social media and publications, as appropriate.

Informing regional policy debates

For more than 25 years, the Horn of Africa Bulletin (HAB) has been LPI’s flagship publication covering regional peace and security issues. Launched in 1989 following requests made by European, mainly ecumenically based, aid agencies, HAB was initially a review of media reporting on regional developments in the Horn. The main purpose was to provide reliable and objective information in order to inform, educate and contribute to informed public opinion and decision-making. Since 2007, the objective of HAB has been “to be a tool for peacebuilding and conflict transformation in the Horn of Africa Region”.

As part of the new HARP, HAB has been re calibrated to become an effective tool in policy engagement and awareness-raising. Building on LPI’s longstanding history and extensive network in the Horn of Africa, the new Horn of Africa Bulletin will be an open platform where the latest peace and conflict trends in the Horn and their policy implications are discussed by eminent academics, field practitioners, journalists and policymakers.

As a policy tool of  HARP, the HAB  informs the opinion and views of key actors by presenting and widely disseminating:

  • Alternative analysis and perspectives on conflicts in the Horn that are often ignored in mainstream media and policy debates
  • Up-to-date analysis from the field and policy monitoring
  • Compilation of useful new resources, including academic publications, policy reports, practitioners’ toolkits and emerging trends in the field of peacebuilding

To read the latest HAB click here

Success stories

–          LPI signs a host agreement for its regional programme with the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs read more here

–          Regional Peacebuilding mapping report

LPI’s HARP published a research on the state of regional peacebuilding in the Horn of Africa, based on a yearlong mapping study conducted by the Institute. The study, which covered 142 state, interstate, and non-state peacebuilding actors in the region, has information and analysis on the general understanding, implementation of regional peacebuilding, its gaps and potentials. You can find the full document here.

How you can participate

–          Read Horn of Africa Bulletin

–          Read and share also our other LPI publications with your contacts, networks

–          Contact us with your lessons learned on similar initiatives