Ambitious agenda emerges from ALC-NAI workshop
Following a workshop in Nairobi in July, great strides were made for the launch of a civil society, democratization, and peace and security research agenda in Africa.
NAI’s research cluster on conflict in collaboration with the African Leadership Centre (ALC) in Nairobi organized the two day workshop.
The workshop was designed to identify, document and discuss the contributions and challenges faced by civil society in working towards peace and security in Africa. It brought together a regionally representative group of participants from civil society networks, donors, scholars, policy community and actors in the security sector.
During the discussion on ‘Civil Society and Regional Peace and Security in Africa’, the lack of space to engage and incorporate home-grown ideas on human security in the continent was observed. The need to boost the capacity of civil society actors to provide alternative evidence-based recommendations was highlighted. This is needed in order to successfully bridge the gap between academia and policymakers.
The meeting proposed a NAI-ALC framework for dialogue between civil society and policymakers. A research and policy advocacy proposal to address key questions is also needed. In addition, the meeting proposed producing a joint publication from the workshop proceedings.
There was also a Roundtable discussion on ‘The Politics of Alliance-Building for Conflict Prevention and Democratization in Kenya’. The Roundtable offered an opportunity to reflect on participants’ experiences and gains. It also provided a platform for strategising on how to influence and ultimately steer political thinking and practice towards peaceful appreciation of democratic values in Kenya. For NAI, the Roundtable provided a first opportunity to build a network and engage with stakeholders in the areas of democratic governance, peace and security in the region.
The Roundtable recommended that the ALC should become a forum and platform for debates about civil society a catalyst for democratic transformation. Among civil society organizations, a progressive alliance with a clear, coherent and well-coordinated advocacy approach should be established. As regards Kenya, such an alliance should organize, mobilize and advocate for the appointment of forthright, consistent and reliable candidates into key positions created by the new constitution. A progressive lobbying architecture should also be established, as well as formal support and accountability networks for activists and civil society actors.