SEEK is a cross-border three-year conflict management program funded by the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa. The program, which commenced in January 2018 and ended in March 2021 adopts a conflict systems-based approach to address the multiple causes of conflict in Northwest Kenya and Southwest Ethiopia and to promote peacebuilding, conflict management, and resolution capacities, at the community and cross-border levels. It is part of the EU’s program for collaboration in the cross-border areas of the Horn of Africa to prevent and mitigate the impact of local conflict and to promote greater regional and inter-governmental collaboration for economic development and overall greater resilience.
SEEK’s title is based on the Amharic (Selam) and Turkana (EKisil) words for peace. It is being implemented by a consortium with Pact Kenya as the lead. SEEK is implemented with three consortia partners (local NGOs) and through community-level boundary partners (BPs) to ensure sustainability and maximum impact. The Ethiopian Institute of Peace (EIP) covers Southwest Ethiopia, while Saint Peter’s Community Network (SAPCONE) and Strategies for Northern Development (SND) work in Turkana and Marsabit Counties in Northwest Kenya. SEEK’s objectives are to:
- Strengthen peace structures by working with existing traditional and formal peace structures so that they can respond effectively to conflicts
- Increase social capital and cohesion by linking youth and women to early warning structures, integrating at-risk-youth through mentorship, increasing involvement in community decision-making discussions, and creating opportunities for youth
- To provide conflict-sensitive support to investment and development actors through conflict sensitivity training, and facilitating dialogues with business players for peace
Project Operational Areas
SEEK works in four strategic cross-border conflict systems along with Ethiopia – Kenya corridors. The four conflict systems are:
S1. Conflict System 1: Nyangatom -Turkana Sub-system
- Conflict System 2: Dassanech -Turkana Sub-system
S3. Conflict System 3: Dassanech – Gabra Sub-System
S4: Conflict System 4: Hamer-Gabra Sub-system
EIP implements covering all four conflict sub-systems in the key woredas-Dassanech, Nyangatom, and Hamer which are under the administration of South Omo Zoe of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR).
On the Ethiopia side, SEEK project has supported a total of 42 kebeles – 30 from Dassanech Woreda; 9 from Nyangatom woreda, and 3 from Hamer woreda. EIP’s intervention areas ranging from strengthening peace-building structures to conducting dialogues and capacity-building efforts. Over the last three years, SEEK project has closely worked in particular with the youth, women, elders, and peace-building structures of the target woredas.
Dassanech and Nyangatom dialogue in Demich village
SEEK is aware of the connection between the spread of COVID-19, the resulting economic devastation, and the link to conflicts and insecurity in the border areas. The Project supported the governments of Ethiopia and Kenya in the areas of South-western Ethiopia and North-western Kenya with awareness-raising, procurement and distribution of COVID-19 prevention kits, and installation and distribution of information, education, and communication materials.
With support from EUTF, SEEK in collaboration with the South Omo Zone, county governments of Turkana and Marsabit, Omo Delta Project, and other agencies conducted activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including:
- Multi-stakeholder coordination meetings
- Awareness-raising for communities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and implement government rules and directives, including prevention of movements
- Procurement of medical supplies, handwashing water tanks, and sanitary supplies, such as soap
- visibility materials and communication support
EIP Executive Director briefing about the support to address COVID-19 in project woredas
Moreover, EIP with support from EUTF, implemented Peace Dividend activities which include the rehabilitation of 13 km from Betela – Kibish in Nyangatom woreda, supply of motor fishing boats and fishing nets to Dassanech Woreda. To enhance cross-border Early Warning and communication , SEEK also procured IT equipment, generators ,office materials, mobile phones and cameras and distributed to the peace and security offices of the three project woredas.