Category Archives: Society & Culture

JEFCAS Seminar Series: “Eritrea- Repression and Resistance”

Venue: Pemberton Room 2.11

Date:  Wed 22nd March 2017

Time: 16:00 – 18:00

Speaker: Martin Plaut (Institute of Commonwealth Studies)

Martin Plaut

About Martin Plaut:

Martin Plaut is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of   Commonwealth Studies and author of “Understanding Eritrea” published by Hurst October 2016. The book explains how the country operates and why President Isaias Afwerki has retained in power. His main research interests and publication include Civil Rights, Colonies & Colonization, emigration & immigration, International Relations, Modern History, Political Institutions, Socialism, Communism, and Anarchism. Mr. Plaut research focus is Africa in general, South Africa and Horn of Africa in Particular.

Yorkshire African Studies Network (YASN) tion and Transition – Roots and Routes

Yorkshire African Studies Network conference

Migration and Transition – Roots and Routes

University of Hull, 18th and 19th May 2017

http://beta.www.hull.ac.uk/Choose-Hull/Study-at-Hull/Open-days/Visit-us.aspx

The main theme of the conference is Migration and Transition – Roots and Routes

This 2 day interdisciplinary conference aims to create an inclusive and supportive space for post-graduate scholars, academics and community members to come together in a supportive environment, to provide a platform of critical thinking, exchange of ideas and to promote inter-relationships between academics, researchers, the community and non-academics. .

The conference provides an opportunity for academics and professionals from various fields to share their theoretical knowledge, research findings and practices with colleagues, participants and community members in a relaxed and stimulating atmosphere. Participants’ input will be encouraged in order to add value and interaction, promote networking and foster partnerships throughout the duration of the conference. The conference will be interactive, providing an excellent opportunity for networking.

The main theme of the conference is Migration and Transition – Roots and Routes

There are four strands and poster presentations

Four strands:

  1. The socio-economic and demographic determinants of migration.
  2. Cultural practices, health and life transitions in refugee camps
  3. Sex slave trafficking/ sex workers
  4. Social media, political activism and restorative justice

The socio-economic and demographic determinants of migration: Socio-political, economic, ecological and violence are factors driving migration. Rising violence as a result of ethnic or religious intolerance has led to increased levels of migration. Migration can be humanitarian and/or economic.

Health and life transitions in refugee camps: Forced immigration is a challenge and the traumatic events may have an impact on the individual’s sense of self, identity, health and well-being.

Sex slave trafficking/ sex workers: The sex trade exploitation affects people from all walks of life; asylum seekers, migrant workers and sex workers.

Social media and political, cultural and religious activism: Media activism utilises social media and communication technologies for social, political, cultural and religious movements and activism. Users are able to create and share content for political, cultural and religious change.

Poster presentations: Poster presentations may be on any research topic related to Africa. All ideas will be considered.

Paper presentations will be 15 minutes. Poster presentations will be 15 minutes.

Abstracts of 250 words and poster presentations to be sent to: b.orton@hull.ac.uk  by the 30th March 2017

Foe more Information see: http://lucas.leeds.ac.uk/2017/02/23/yasn-conference-migration-and-transition-roots-and-routes/

Billy goes to Marikana: the staged lives and times of two mining towns

marakana

The author Alinah Kelo Segobye recently received funding from the Rotary Peace Centre, Peace Studies Department as a visiting scholar at the University of Bradford in 2016.
In this article she discusses and narrates the case and experiences of two mining towns.
Please find link to full article: https://theconversation.com/billy-goes-to-marikana-the-staged-lives-and-times-of-two-mining-towns-63848

About the Author

prof-alinah-segobye

Alinah Kelo Segobye has recently completed a term as visiting scholar at the Rotary Peace Centre, University of Bradford. She is an honorary professor at the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI), UNISA and former Deputy Executive Director at the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa. Segobye’s research includes Africa’s development, the archaeology of southern Africa, indigenous knowledge systems, heritage studies and HIV/AIDS. She has served as an advisor, facilitator and expert for a number of international organizations. She has authored and co-authored a number of essays and book chapters on themes including Africa’s development outlooks and the future of the past in Africa.

PROMOTING PEACE EDUCATION IN SOMALIA UNIVERSITIES: EXPERIENCES AND INSIGHTS

Promoting Peace Education in Somalia Universities: Experiences and insights

Somalia has been a failed state and without a central government for many years. War has traumatised Somali society, and destroyed its national institutions, infrastructure, social foundations positive ethos, communal trust, community spirit, solidarity, sense of hope and prevented meaningful dialogue. Somalia’s youth have grown up in a country where violence is the norm. This, combined with poverty and the complex problems of a post-conflict society has resulted in a large number of disenfranchised youth who are vulnerable to recruitment by extremist and criminal groups. This project aims to inspire Somali youth and restore a sense of hope, confidence and trust through a process of positive dialogue, reconciliation, building healthy relationships and learning non-violent communication methods.

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About Dr Yusuf Sheikh Omar & Khadijo Osman: Yusuf Sheikh Omar holds PhD from La Trobe University. He is a writer, a poet, peace activist. He worked as a teacher at Victoria University, as a researcher at University of Melbourne and Victorian Transcultural Mental Health focusing on Khat Use in the Horn of African community in Victoria and on Emotional wellbeing of the Horn of African Muslim men. His research focuses on social integration of young Somalis living in the western countries. Dr Khadijo Mohamed Osman has a PhD from University College London, School of Pharmacy, UK.

http://www.hiiraan.com/op4/2016/aug/117033/our_journey_to_mogadishu_fear_and_hope.aspx

 

JEFCAS Seminar Series: Beyond Radicalisation

Venue: Pemberton Room 2.11

Date: Wed 25 January 2017

Time: 16:00 – 18:00

Speaker: Dr Paul Higate,

University of Bristol: Beyond Radicalisation: Gendered Assemblages and Migrations of Violence.

paul-200x196

About Dr Paul Higate: Dr Higate is a reader in Gender and Security School for Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol. His research focuses on the gendered culture of the military and militarised masculinities in the substantive contexts of: the transition of military personnel to civilian life, United Nations peacekeeping and most recently private security contractors. Dr Higate has an interest in developing innovative and inter-disciplinary informed ways in which to theorise security, drawing on human geography, critical geopolitics, sociology and cultural studies.

JEFCAS Seminar Series: Radicalisation and Violence in Africa

Venue: Pemberton Room 2.11

Date: Wed 11 January  2017

Time: 16:00 – 18:00

Speaker: Professor Charles Abiodun Alao.

Professor Charles Abiodun Alao, King’s College London: Radicalisation and Violence in Africa.

professor-abiodun-alao-200x203

About Professor Abiodun Alao: Abiodun Alao is Professor of African Studies at King’s College London. His areas of Research interests include: Emerging Powers and Global Leadership; the Politics of Natural Resources Management; Religious Radicalisation and Political Violence; Politics, Security and International Relations in Africa.

His authored books include Mugabe and the Politics of Security in Zimbabwe, (McGill-Queens University Press, 2012); Natural Resources and Conflict in Africa: The Tragedy of Endowment, (Rochester University Press, 2007); The Burden of Collective Goodwill: The International Involvement in the Liberian Civil War, (Ashgate Publishers, 1996); and Brothers at War: Dissidence and Rebellion in Southern Africa, (British Academic Press, 1994). He Co-authored Peacekeepers, Politicians and Warlords: The Liberian Peace Process, (United Nations University Press, 1999); and Co-editor of Africa after the Cold War: The Changing Perspective on Security, (African World Press, 1998); Nigeria and the United States: Twists and Turns over 50 Years, (African Peace Support Publishers, 2011); and China and Africa – Building Peace and Security Cooperation (Forthcoming Palgrave – Macmillan, 2016).

Apart from extensive publications on African security issues, Prof Alao has undertaken numerous assignments for international organisations, including the United Nations, African Union, European Union, World Bank, ECOWAS and for individual countries.

Cultural practices that affect children’s health must be revisited

cultural-practices

The author Alinah Kelo Segobye recently received funding from the Rotary Peace Centre, Peace Studies Department as a visiting scholar at the University of Bradford in 2016.
In this article she discusses why Africa must prioritise its youth if the development aspirations of the global Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and Agenda 2063 are to be realised.
Please find link to full article: https://theconversation.com/cultural-practices-that-affect-childrens-health-must-be-revisited-63787

About the Author

prof-alinah-segobye

Alinah Kelo Segobye has just completed a term as visiting scholar at the Rotary Peace Centre, University of Bradford. She is an honorary professor at the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI), UNISA and former Deputy Executive Director at the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa. Segobye’s research includes Africa’s development, the archaeology of southern Africa, indigenous knowledge systems, heritage studies and HIV/AIDS. She has served as an advisor, facilitator and expert for a number of international organizations. She has authored and co-authored a number of essays and book chapters on themes including Africa’s development outlooks and the future of the past in Africa.

Annual Peace Studies & International Development Conference: Resources, Conflict and Development in Africa

The annual Peace Studies & International Development conference for Africanist doctoral students and early post-doctoral career scholars and practitioners is scheduled to take place on the 11th May 2017 at the University of Bradford in United Kingdom.

The conference theme is: Resources, Conflict and Development in Africa.

Conference cluster themes include:

1) Natural Resources and Conflict

2) Transition from Resource Conflict to Peace and Peacebuilding

3) Natural Resources, Demographic Change and Development

4) Conflict, Security, Peace and Development Nexus

5) Regional Integration, Security and Development

6) Africa and the Rest of the World
The conference is open to doctoral students and early career scholars, researchers and practitioners. Potential participants and paper presenters are required to submit an Abstract of 200 – 300 words on or before 15th November 2016 to:              africanistpgrc2017-group@uni.bradford.ac.uk
All shortlisted participants will be required to submit the first draft of their papers at least two months before the conference. The conference is expected to result in a co-edited book (Lead Editor: Professor Kenneth Omeje, Senior Research Fellow, John & Elnora Ferguson Centre of African Studies, University of Bradford). Kindly note that all short-listed participants will be responsible for the full-cost of their participation, including visa, travels, accommodation and subsistence.

For full details on the conference: conference-call-oct-2016-revised-version-1

YASN Conference 2016: Transitions’ from what to what? Justice and Reconciliation in Africa

The 2016 Yorkshire African Studies Network (YASN) Conference is scheduled for Friday 18th November 2016 at the University of Bradford and is supported by JEFCAS.

The conference aims to subject to scrutiny the realms of criminal justice, social justice and reconciliation in Africa. This is not envisaged as a narrow field; the conference is designed to include all elements of international criminal justice, truth and reconciliation commissions, localized notions of retributive, restorative and re-distributive justice, and ideas of social justice linked to themes as broad as poverty, gender, land and societal cleavages. The conference, however, aims also to interrogate the notion of ‘transition’. Often applied to societies deemed in need of change, the important questions of what is envisaged and what actually happens are accompanied by an even more fundamental uncertainty as to whether ‘transition’ is indeed an appropriate term for these processes.

Guest speaker: Dr Phil Clark (SOAS)

We welcome applications from PhD students, researchers and academics focusing on the above issues in any part of the African continent from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds. Please submit 300-word abstracts for papers to be presented at the conference to Dr David Harris (d.harris7@bradford.ac.uk) by 30th September 2016. We will let you know as soon as possible after the deadline whether your paper proposal has been accepted.
This call for papers is open to all academics, researchers and postgraduate students whether they are based in Yorkshire or elsewhere.

Times and schedules will be confirmed in due course.

The Yorkshire Africa Studies Network is comprised of the Universities of Bradford, Durham, Hull, Leeds, Leeds Trinity, Sheffield and York. Find out more about YASN at http://lucas.leeds.ac.uk/yasn/.

 

Una Hakika: The Phone Line of Prevention in Kenya

Christine Mutisya is a project coordinator for the Una Hakika project. She has an MSc in development and project planning from Bradford University. She is engaged in managing misinformation for the Sentinel Project, involving herself in peacebuilding activities and project management.

Adrian Gregorich is the community manager at the Sentinel Project. His academic background is in human rights, holding an MSc in human rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an honours BA in political science and human rights from Carleton University in Ottawa. Adrian has worked with a number of NGOs around Africa as well as in Canada. His research and campaigning interests lie in mine action, violence prevention, poverty reduction, and global primary health care. He works as a freelance writer and resides in Ottawa, Canada. He can be reached via Twitter: @AdGregorich

Misinformation is a major problem in societies around the world, especially now that the rise of social media enables the spreading of rumours to happen much faster than was possible in the pre-digital era. Kenya’s Tana Delta region provides a good example not only of how misinformation can spread, but also how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be used to monitor and contain its harmful effects.

Misinformation was one of the factors that led to violence in the Tana Delta during 2012 and 2013, a time when Kenya was warming up to the general election scheduled for March 2013. At such times, politics and land injustices become especially salient and these also factored into the clashes which killed nearly 170 people while displacing tens of thousands. The aftermath included increased hatred and mistrust between the two most affected ethnic communities, the Orma and the Pokomo. Even after the election period ended, misinformation still spread throughout the Tana Delta, thus continuing tensions in the region.

A Sentinel Project team visited the Tana Delta in early 2013 and recognized this problem of rumours, which led to the creation of Una Hakika (Swahili for “Are you sure?”), a mobile phone-based information system used to map and counter misinformation in the Tana Delta. One of Una Hakika’s long-term goals is to enable people to ask themselves are you sure before taking action on any information. Rapid action on false rumours before verification led to some of the violence in 2012-2013.

The focus of the training was accurate reporting of information through the Una Hakika text messaging service.
The focus of the training was accurate reporting of information through the Una Hakika text messaging service.

Before setting up the system, the Una Hakika team conducted a baseline survey throughout the Tana Delta during January-February 2014 in order to understand the spread of information in the region, what technologies people use to share that information, and to generally understand the potential users of Una Hakika in order to better design the system. One key finding from the survey was that 87.3% of the 249 respondents believed rumours contributed to violence in the region, while 61.1% of respondents had heard information they believed to be untrue within the previous 12 months. Out of those 61.1% only 50.6% took further action to verify if the information was true.

IMG_7791
Newly trained ambassadors are using the technology available to them to report potentially dangerous rumours, and help build peace in their communities.

Una Hakika works as a free mobile phone-based reporting system with a short code through which individual citizens report incidents or potential misinformation, after which they receive verification of its accuracy. This works via a three-stage process. In the first stage, users send information to the system, through SMS, phone calls, the Una Hakika website, or by speaking to a trained community ambassador. who serve as a bridge between people and technology.

The second stage of the process prioritizes and verifies received messages by drawing upon a variety of information sources which may be able to provide the facts of the situation relating to a given rumour. These sources include the community ambassadors, local authorities (police and administration), other NGOs operating in the area, and the media (social media and mainstream media).

Third, once the Una Hakika team has verified reports of a rumour they are then able to provide feedback to the community about the authenticity of the information. This response is targeted to ensure that the rumour management process does not inadvertently spread rumours. Rumour verifications are still only sent to subscribers in the villages from which those rumours were reported, since there is a risk of people who have not heard a given rumour focusing on the wrong parts of a counter message and disregarding the statement that the rumour is false.

Two years down the line, Una Hakika has seen tremendous results. People’s mindsets have changed in the sense that now when a resident in the Tana Delta hears a rumour their first reactions is increasingly likely to verify its validity before passing it on or taking any action. The number of survey respondents who would look into the accuracy of information the were not convinced was true has risen from from 50.6% to 57.4%. Previously, information tended to be taken at face value, and some people would take drastic action upon hearing threatening rumours.

Summary of the Sentinel Project's work shared with residents of the Kipao village.
Summary of the Sentinel Project’s work shared with residents of the Kipao village.

Government officials also see the importance of Una Hakika as they are now able to synchronize efforts with the system, thus ensuring that they do not waste time or resources reacting to false information. Another advantage of the Una Hakika model is that residents who fear being interrogated by police can report to the Una Hakika team, which will then turn it over to the authorities. This increased level of trust has resulted in some instances when the Una Hakika team received information about serious incidents (including massacres) even before the police did.

Trust is difficult to build, but this process has been a major factor in the success of Una Hakika’s community engagement. At the beginning of the project the community was wary of their aim, which is understandable due to the violence they had experienced. In order to gain trust the Una Hakika staff had to rely on existing trusted networks such as the local administration, religious leaders, and community elders.

Community engagement goes hand-in-hand with trust. While Una Hakika uses technology to fight misinformation, the human element cannot be ignored. The cultures of the Tana Delta value face-to-face meetings, and the priority given to conduct such meetings has played an integral role in Una Hakika’s success. However, this is not easy since one must ensure impartiality and inclusivity when dealing with an ethnically diverse community such as those in the Tana Delta.

Despite many challenges, the Una Hakika project has made a substantial contribution to the peacebuilding process in the Tana Delta through the development, testing, and refinement of tools and techniques for countering misinformation that has the potential to lead to violence. The Una Hakika model also demonstrates great potential for being applied in other regions of Kenya, as well as other violence-prone areas around the world.

Further Reading:

The Sentinel Project: Kenya Project 

Una Haikia Rumor reporting site