Cooperative empowerment across boundaries in borderlands of Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia - Study of civil society in Eastern African border regions
Civil society is generally defined as being neither part of the state nor business but commonly thought of as based on formal organisations. The aim of the study was to review this notion within the context of specific East African borderlands and to analyse characteristics of an informal civil society. The study focused on the border regions between Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan where over 90% of the population are mobile pastoralists.
While pastoralists organise decision making processes among themselves and cooperate across borders, there is little understanding between them, national majorities and international actors. The informal civil society comprises trustworthy connectors between these groups, social innovators and personalities from all walks of life. This study indicates that, while funding formal civil society can be useful, the insights and capacities of the region’s informal civil society – such as people’s mental strength and practical ingenuity - are resources that should be better known and promoted.
The research was based on five weeks of fieldwork in Kenya and Uganda in mid-2017. It has been conducted in cooperation with the Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institut. There is also an English summary (PDF).