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Independent Peacebuilding Organizations Launch an Advocacy Centre for IGAD countries

People sitting around tables at a meeting
Photo: Carl Roose / AFSC

Addis-Ababa 22 November 2022 – In a colorful and well-attended event, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), in partnership with other organizations, launched on 22 November 2022, the Salama Hub, an Africa-led independent peacebuilding research and advocacy center focusing on the Horn of Africa region. 

The event also offered a platform to present some of the work that the center is already conducting. A policy brief on the extent and impact of hate speech in the Horn of Africa developed based on a case study survey conducted in Kenya, South Sudan and Sudan was presented. The survey was an attempt to answer policy questions related to hate speech and was conducted with the support from multilateral institutions, academia, faith-based organizations, women and youth-led civil society actors, members of parliament, and AACC member churches mainly from the Horn of Africa region.  Key recommendations from a study, “The Horn of Africa: How Civil Society Can Help Build a More Stable, Peaceful Future” were also shared with participants. 

Kennedy Akolo, AFSC Regional Director for Africa while briefing participants on the study, emphasized “the need for Africa-led solutions to African problems”. He narrated that “The research provided some insights into how African civil society organizations, policymakers, and others can improve conditions and support peace in the region”.   

The Salama Hub is an initial three-year project, Transforming Lives in the East and Horn of Africa Region through Evidence-based Advocacy and Campaigning for Peaceful Change, in partnership with Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World), being implemented in all the IGAD member states in the Horn of Africa.  It provides a platform for African civil societies to interact efficiently with institutional stakeholders in Africa, Europe, and America in protection of human right, peace and stability in the Horn of Africa region.   

In her speech, the AFSC General Secretary, Joyce Ajlouny, stated that “the launch of the Salama Hub could not have come at a better time. The recently signed peace deal between the Ethiopian Government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front is a testament to what Ethiopia and its people can achieve with sheer conviction that peace is possible.”  “I am also aware,” she added, “that peace deals are fragile and can break down if not built on strong foundations. We believe that the Salama Hub will help strengthen civil society resiliency and insist on building an unwavering bedrock for peace that lasts.”    

Kerri Kennedy, Associate Secretary General, for International Programs at AFSC, addressed the gathering and said “through the Hub, AFSC and our partners will encourage, and support research conducted by African scholars to amplify their voice and counter a history of colonization in academia that marginalizes the voices of non-Western researchers. The idea is based on the Ubuntu concept of shared peace. We can only have enduring peace in the Horn of Africa if we come together to nurture solutions.”   

On behalf of the All-Africa Conference of Churches, consortium partner of the Salama Hub, Rev. Dr Fidon Mwombeki, General Secretary, AACC, explained that “I want to express our gratitude to be able to launch the Salama Hub. It is a great venture to which both AACC and AFSC are fully committed to ensure its success. We seek to create a space, that will connect peace advocates and peacebuilding organizations in various forms, in order to influence decision-making bodies, institutions, and individuals based in Addis Ababa and in the whole Horn of Africa.”   

Speaking as a representative of the African Union, Ernest Nya Dolo, the Regional Desk Officer for the Horn of Africa, expanded on the various types of support provided by the organization to civil society entities on conflict prevention, resolution, peacebuilding data collection, and analysis tools.    

The launch event brought together prominent guests from Bread for the World, Mount Kenya University, Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and African Union representatives, faith-based organizations and civil society organizations’ leaders from the Horn of Africa.  

The Salama Hub is a consortium between the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC). The hub was established in 2021 and aims to ensure that African civil societies interact efficiently with institutional stakeholders in Africa, Europe, and the United States for peace and stability in the Horn of Africa region. The hub intends to make a significant contribution by equipping civil society organizations and faith-based organizations in the Horn of Africa region with evidence-based research and skills to positively influence conflict situations.  

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About AFSC  

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) promotes a world free of violence, inequality, and oppression.  Guided by the Quaker belief in the divine light within each person, AFSC nurtures the seeds of change and the respect for human life to fundamentally transform our societies and institutions. The organization works with people and partners worldwide, of all faiths and backgrounds, to meet urgent community needs, challenge injustice, and build peace. 

 About AACC  

The AACC is a continental ecumenical body that accounts for over 200 million Christians across the continent. AACC is the largest association of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox and Indigenous churches in Africa and is a member of the worldwide ecumenical network. AACC is a fellowship of 204 members comprising of Churches, National Councils of Churches (NCCs), theological and lay training institutions and other Christian organizations in 43 African countries. The AACC through its AU Liaison Office, follows the ambition of its strategic plan 2019-2023 for a strong political engagement at AU level.