25th – 27th March 2024 (Nairobi, Kenya) -In the dynamic and conflict-ridden landscape of the Horn of Africa, solidarity and advocacy initiatives play a crucial role in amplifying the voices of affected communities and catalysing positive change. The Africans for the Horn of Africa Initiative (Af4HA) comprises of Pan African Lawyers of Africa (PALU), Atrocities Watch Africa (AWA), Africa Leadership Centre (ALC), and the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI). Af4HA has emerged as a pivotal player in this arena, mobilizing support and advocating for peace and justice across the region. As Af4HA prepares to chart its course for 2024, it reflects on its past efforts and gears up for a strategic planning meeting aimed at shaping its future endeavors.

Since 2023, Af4HA embarked on a series of solidarity activities and advocacy campaigns aimed at addressing the myriad conflicts plaguing the Horn of Africa. From mobilizing support through various media platforms to engaging in advocacy rounds at key policy centers such as the United Nations General Assembly and the African Union Summit of Heads of States and Governments, Af4HA remained steadfast in its commitment to amplifying the voices of affected citizens. Notably, the initiative focused on conflicts in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan, recognizing the interconnected nature of these crises and their regional implications. Af4HA's advocacy efforts also targeted the involvement of regional and global actors in exacerbating conflicts, as well as the insufficient response from regional and continental bodies.

As Af4HA prepares to navigate the complexities of the Horn of Africa and align approaches for research and advocacy in 2024, it convened a three-day strategy and planning meeting aimed at defining its strategic cocus, conceptualizing research and advocacy approaches and building on the insights gained from the past year.

Before Af4HA embarks on this strategic planning process, its commitment to solidarity and empowerment remains unwavering. By centring the voices and experiences of affected communities, Af4HA aims to drive meaningful change and foster inclusive peacebuilding efforts in the Horn of Africa. Through collaborative partnerships, innovative advocacy, and evidence-based research, Af4HA stands ready to confront the complex challenges facing the region and advance its vision of a more peaceful and prosperous Horn of Africa.

The PALU Chief Executive Donald Deya addressed the concerns arising from the multiple conflicts afflicting the region, attributing them to factors like resource monopolization, ethnic and religious differences, border disputes, regionalism, and poor governance. To improve the situation, recommendations were made, including strengthening the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Secretariat to address regional issues impartially, and enhancing regional conflict management capacity, while involving the African Union (AU) to counteract detrimental international influences driven by self-interest. Additionally, it was proposed to bolster law enforcement institutions to effectively respond to conflicts, consider historical grievances in conflict resolution efforts, increase UN involvement in humanitarian aid and peace negotiations, establish a coordination mechanism for conflict resolution actors, and introduce a new AU framework to address these challenges comprehensively.

In conclusion, the strategy and planning meeting represents a pivotal moment for Af4HA as it charts its course for 2024 with a clear focus on strategic alignment and impactful advocacy, to continue its vital work in mobilizing solidarity and promoting peace in the Horn of Africa.

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