Dialogue and Community Resilience in East Africa

Dialogue and Community Resilience in East Africa

17-18 March 2021

The GCTF Capacity-Building in the East Africa Region Working Group Co-Chairs, Egypt and the European Union, convened a virtual workshop on Strengthening Civil Society, National and Regional Approaches to Dialogue and Community Resilience in East Africa.

The purpose was to profile the complexities of dialogue and community resilience initiatives in the East Africa region and to discuss international and regional obligations related to promoting resilience along with exploring current actions to meet these obligations. Importantly, the workshop identified lessons learned from East Africa, emerging new activities aimed at promoting more effective dialogue and building community resilience, and recommendations for various stakeholder groups on how best to engage in dialogue and resilience building in the region.

Addressing the threat through dialogue and inclusion
To address the complex transnational terrorist threat, a number of obligations have been placed on states. These include United Nations Security Council Resolution 1624 (2005) and 2178 (2014) [hyperlink to these resolutions], which call on states to enhance dialogue and to promote social inclusion and cohesion.

The workshop highlighted that effective approaches require a multi-layered, whole of society framework across the local, national and regional levels and with participation from key stakeholders including community and religious leaders, civil society, women, and youth, among others. Dialogue is a process that should always be supplemented with action — implementing goals that correspond to the needs of the community. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, offline approaches should be supplemented with online dialogue and advocacy, which can particularly engage youth as an often-marginalized group. Trusted, long-term and consultative partnerships between law enforcement and local communities are also essential to enhance capacities to detect and prevent terrorist acts.

Challenges and gaps in East Africa identified during the workshop include a lack of long-term and evidence-based programing, sustainable resources, limited geographic coverage, and diverging donor interests.