The case for integrated, adaptive initiatives to strengthen local resilience
Our work revealed the highly political nature of living and working in the borderlands, in that communities exist within a messy system of competing political, economic and social dynamics that constantly threaten to disrupt progress towards greater stability.
By extension, we found that resilience toward conflict and insecurity, economic or environmental shocks could not be understood in isolation – to do so is to impose false and dangerous dichotomies – and nor should they be approached in programmatic silos.
We found six key factors supporting (or undermining) resilience for borderlands communities; cross-border trade; border security; natural resource management; centre-periphery politics; cross-border social networks; and the presence of border-adjacent infrastructure and state services. We also found that these factors coalesced in crucial feedback loops which could strengthen various forms of resilience.
This led us to conclude that there was truth to the stories we had heard; that there are strong, well-evidenced arguments for better, more integrated programming, founded upon peacebuilding, and which stand to improve life for people living in East Africa’s borderlands.