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Topics / Sustainable Peace in Africa

African-Led Peacebuilding Data Initiatives

Three grants for innovative projects, led by African institutions, to collect and share conflict data

In June 2018, Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded three grants for innovative projects, led by African institutions, to collect and share conflict data. Through a highly competitive invitation-only request for proposal process, three grants of $300,000 were made to projects developed by Africa-based institutions with U.S.-based partners.

The request for proposal process was developed in response to the concerns of African academics and researchers about the limited opportunities for data ownership and usage on the continent. The predominance of internationally conceived projects emphasizing non-African methodologies and priorities limit the utilization of African-developed methods and inputs. At the same time, current data collection methods have failed to consistently provide reliable data, particularly in conflict-affected regions. Therefore, Carnegie Corporation, whose “Peacebuilding in Africa” initiative seeks to “elicit and apply local knowledge,” sought African peacebuilding and data-focused institutions to develop new and creative methods for collecting reliable and accurate data on issues of peace and security.

Each project pilots a data collection method aimed at improving understanding of conflict drivers. The three grant recipients are:

ACORD International (ACORD) headquartered in Kenya, in partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)

To answer the question “how does citizen participation in service delivery influence social cohesion?” ACORD and BWH are partnering with local civil society organizations in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo to design and implement data collection based on the relationship between citizen participation in service delivery mechanisms and conflict. Utilizing free open-source data collection tools and online and offline methods, the project will identify methods for improved data collection in conflict-affected regions. Ultimately, from the data collected, this project aims to identify causal factors that lead to the development of more inclusive societies with reduced levels of violence. Once compiled, the data set will be made publicly available.

Centre de Recherche et d’Action Pour la Paix (CERAP) headquartered in Côte d’Ivoire, in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)

CERAP and UC Berkeley are implementing multiple low-cost data collection methodologies in identified conflict-prone election districts in advance of the 2020 presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire. Low-cost data collection methods will be compared to more intensive monitoring mechanisms in the reporting of a broad range of acts associated with electoral violence. Data will be collected before, during, and after the elections. In parallel to these activities, the CERAP and UC Berkeley team will engage willing community leaders in conflict-prevention activities. The project presents an opportunity to collect extensive locally sourced data throughout an election cycle. Ultimately, the project aims to assess the accuracy, reliability, and quality of various data collection protocols and their implementation. Once compiled, the data set will be made publicly available.

Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) headquartered in South Africa, in partnership with the University of Michigan and the University of the Witwatersrand

EISA and the University of Michigan are engaging election observer missions and local election results reporting to better understand the challenges of maintaining peace before, after, and during election processes across Africa. The project will collate results from roughly 300 polling stations in countries where EISA will send election observers from late 2018 through 2019. Election observers will gather information on security arrangements, incidents of political violence, and public infrastructure and services in the areas of individual polling stations. Data collected will be geocoded and linked to local election returns. The resulting data will provide researchers a detailed view of the relationship between local factors, election cycles, and violence. Once compiled, the data set will be made publicly available.