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East Africa and the Sudans

The East Africa region and both South Sudan and Sudan are at pivotal points in their development – with periods of uneasy peace punctuated by outbreaks of conflict.

East Africa and the Sudans

Common issues affecting the Great Lakes and Sudans region include the availability of small arms and light weapons, the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence, land and resource-related disputes, ethnic tensions, and a lack of basic resources. However, despite a legacy of war and its consequences, the region is rich in both human resources and material resources, including oil and minerals, the extraction of which, if sensitively handled, could contribute to future development and prosperity.

Saferworld’s work in the region began in 2001, and over the years we have focused on supporting civil society involvement in conflict prevention and security provision, conflict-sensitive approaches to development, and advocating for stronger national and regional controls on small arms and light weapons. Current programming looks at issues related to land, minerals, and cross-border security and community security. We now run programmes in Uganda and seven states in South Sudan, and promote the role of civil society in Sudan.

The Horn of Africa has seen significant economic growth and investment, increasing regional cooperation within the broader East African region, and democratic, peaceful reform over the past decade, transforming the perception of the region as one characterised by high levels of violent conflict, humanitarian crisis and political instability. However, a number of challengeshave the potential to undermine this positive trajectory if left unaddressed. This includes resolution to ongoing conflict in Somalia and reinforcing important governance reforms, cross-border conflicts, including between pastoralist communities, the transfer of illict small arms and light weapons and increasing violent radicalisation in the region which poses a significant security challenge for actors in the Horn of Africa.  

Saferworld has been working in the Horn of Africa since 2000 focusing on areas including supporting civil society engagement in governance, peace and reconciliation processes, conflict sensitive governance and investment, police reform and community security approaches, examining cross-border conflict early warning and response mechanisms and understanding the relationship between political settlements and security sector reform. We are currently running programmes in Somalia, including Somaliland, and Kenya.