The Support for Effective Cooperation and Coordination of Cross-border Initiatives in Southwest Ethiopia-Northwest Kenya, Marsabit-Borana & Dawa, and Kenya-Somalia-Ethiopia (SECCCI) is intended to address the drivers of conflict and instability, irregular migration and displacement in the cross-border areas of the Horn of Africa through improved cross-border coordination and cooperation.
The specific objectives of the project are:
- To strengthen regional policy frameworks, structures and protocols for cross-border cooperation between national and local Governments, the private sector, civil society and international technical and financial partners in development;
- Capacities of communities, local governments and civil society to fully engage in processes for development planning and results are built;
- To ensure effective cooperation and coordination, monitoring and evaluation of cross-border initiatives including involvement of relevant national and regional actors in these processes.
The programme is being implemented in the following cross-border areas: (1) Southwest Ethiopia and Northwest Kenya, covering South Omo Zone in Ethiopia, and parts of Turkana and Marsabit Counties in Kenya (Cluster I); (2) Marsabit County, Kenya and Borana and Dawa Zones, in Ethiopia (Cluster II); (3) The Kenya-Somalia-Ethiopia border, covering Mandera County in Kenya, Gedo Region in Somalia, and Dolow ado and Dolo bay woredas in the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia (Cluster III) and (4) Western Ethiopia and East Sudan, covering Benishangul Zone in Ethiopia and the Blue Nile State in Sudan (Cluster IV).
Cross-border work has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As governments scrambled to reduce the spread of the disease, most countries in the IGAD region imposed some form of restriction on movement, particularly of people, as well as goods across borders.
In this first online discussion, we discuss the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the delivery of our project objectives.
- What are your experiences in delivering services and implementing programmes in cross-border areas during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How do you think COVID-19 will affect the delivery of your projects?
- What measures have you put in place to mitigate and respond to these challenges? How can other stakeholders support?
The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Gezahegn Aboset the IGAD SECCCI Project Coordinator. It will close on 21 July 2020.
To contribute to the discussion, please log in your names, organization and email address in the comment section below.Your contribution will go into a moderation queue. This is necessary not to vet what you say, but to ensure that we weed out inappropriate and malicious content.
• Question: What are your experiences in delivering services and implementing programmes in cross-border areas during the COVID-19 pandemic?
– Cross border movement of people and goods has been affected due to local and cross border travel restrictions in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.This has had the effect of slowed down implementation of cross border activities or the need to change how they are implemented with more shift towards remote digital means.
– Some activities requiring meetings, use of education facilities, etc are more affected than others such as water points construction, CFW, etc.
• Question: How do you think COVID-19 will affect the delivery of your projects?
– Slowed down implementation. – Some activities rescheduled or canceled during covid-19 times
– High costs of some of the activities e.g. flights if activities must be implemented with requirement to travel with special flights arrangements.
– High levels of uncertainity since no one has sufficient data on covid -19. Need for flexible review of plans and may lead to increased requests for no cost extensions and contingency funds due to unexpected realities.
– Some changes in the workplan and the resource allocation to include activities in response to COVID 19 crisis (radio programming, provision of PPE, provision of water sanitation facilities, etc)
• Question: What measures have you put in place to mitigate and respond to these challenges? How can other stakeholders support?
– Requested for an extension
– New funding mobilization to respond to Covid-19
– Prioritized activities that can be done with covid-19 restrictions
– Fewer people in BDS trainings
– More use of digital means e.g for meetings and online training for scholarship students
– New approaches – CFW arranged to ensure social distancing. Bottle of water carried to work sites for hand washing . Hand washing facilities established in BDCs
– New Covid 19 response activities- radio awareness/sensitization, IEC materials distribution, Hand washing facilities support, etc
– Regular documentation of LL, adaptations, and internal iterative discussion on how to adapt the programme in face of the changing context
Coordination and pooling of resources to respond to Covid 19 among partners is needed for effectiveness. Also sharing of plans to see how each partner can complement the activities of other partners.
What you have said is correct as you know the C-19 is now expanding its scope and the number of new cases increasing from time to time, however, how to protect the cross border community from this pandemic because of various reasons,
1) level of understanding the alarming situation in the cross border areas due to C-19
2) The socio-economic and security situation in the borderlands
3) the level of infrastructure development ( Hospitals, clinics, road network, availability of water and schools) to protect the community from the pandemic.
4) I think the development partners and international organisations should give due attention to the livelihood of the cross border communities unless the consequence will be high and more than what is expected.
It needs collaboration and coordination in every C-19 related intervention.
COVID-19 has shown the unique complexity of borderlands and of cross-border dynamics, which are affected by local, regional and international challenges.
It has shown how important cross-border cooperation is in terms of aligning measures across the borders, and how crucial it is to make sure that local governments are connected to the central administrations, and between them at local level.
Important logistics challenges have also emerged, as well as the need to address the impact of the pandemic in the short and long term.
The digital divide that affects border areas has also become apparent, and represents one of the important areas of engagement.
Despite all of the challenges, it is important that actors identify measures to be able to maintain a presence in the intervention areas, and to operate within the limitations and restrictions.
It is also fundamental to make sure that proper information is shared, and that myths and rumors are promptly dismantled and blocked.
Coronavirus/covid-19 pandemic has negatively affected both the way of life and services delivery in the region. In the cross-border areas, it has specifically added itself to the already fragile situation in the cross-border ASALS areas that uniquely transverse Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, which are the SECCCI project areas, where insecurity and remoteness of the areas used to be the only major challenges facing implementation of projects.
Strict measures taken to contain the pandemic such movement restrictions, banning of gatherings to social and physical distancing, enforced by the three governments, have made it difficult for the numerous project activities to be undertaken. Most of the SECCCI activities being implemented by IGAD and other partners require meetings, be it community dialogues, awareness creation of capacity development workshops and coordination or cluster technical meetings. Although a number of project activities have been successfully organized virtually or remotely, the fact remains that physical meetings and presence in the field are key elements in every project implementation.
Given that mobility is key to the cross-border pastoral and agro-pastoral communities, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic presents enormous livelihood and security challenges. . The border closers between Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya restricting inter- and intra- -countries and cross-border movements (both humans and goods) is negatively impacting on the cross-border economies. Continuing COVID-19 pandemic is adversely impacting on the overall local cross-border communities livelihood.
you are absolutely correct by saying ”Continuing COVID-19 pandemic is adversely impacting on the overall local cross-border communities livelihood.”
So what do you think as an immediate and sustainable way forward to overcome the challenge and problem?
HOW HAS COVID-19 PANDEMIC AFFECTED THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PROJECT ACTIVITIES IN THE IGAD CROSS-BORDER CLUSTERS?
The implementation of Project activities in the IGD Cross- Border Clusters in my view, has been affected in several ways.
Q1. What are your experiences in delivery services and implementing Programmes in Cross -Border area during the COVID -19 epidemic?
> Services delivery and implementation of thr\e Programme activities were affected in many ways, for example in the following areas:
. Transport operations have been badly affected, thus affecting staff movements to attend to Programme activities
. CUrfews imposed by some Countries affected Programme activities in the Field and also affected the Consultation processes with Government Officials in their Offices
. Closure of national boundaries caused food shortages in some border areas
. With some drivers carrying essential goods being infected by the Virus caused delays in the service delivery and even affected Programme activities by causing slow movement of vehicles
. Closing of borders affected the Coordination of the Cross- Border Activities since Programme Staff could not cross with ease at the border in addition to the limited time available due to imposition of Curfew in some States
. Adherence to the Ministry of Guidelines in some Countries made work in these Cross-border Clusters areas rather difficult because, instructions were given not to have Meetings, work from home, and with these instructions you cannot have an effective Coordination of Stakeholder Meetings as planned
. Lockdowns imposed by some countries, effectively locked in some Staff in their home Capitals thus making their Field operations unattainable
. Closure of International Airports by the Member States made Air travel impossible, hence Staff were locked up in their home countries and therefore no effective Coordination cross- border Project activities could be made in such situations
Q2. How do you think COVID-19 will affect the delivery of your Project?
> There has been an interruption of activities of the Project
> Project Deadline Project activities will be impossible to meet
> Slow expenditure o Project Finances due to fewer activities
> Project Implementation Plan has to be reviewed to allow time lost due to Curfwes, lockdowns, less working hours
> Internet Connections very poor or not there in some homes and hence Staff productivity affected
> Project Cross-Border Meetings affected hence coordination of the Project
Q 3.What measures have you put in place to mitigate and respond to these challenges? How can other Stakeholders support?
> Revise the Project Work plan and seek concurrence
> Revise the Project Activities
> Convene online meetings involving all stakeholders
The Covid19 Pandemic has negatively affected Governments and Institutions across the world including Communities targeted by Development Interventions.
By design, SECCCI (in a traditional way) was to interact with communities of beneficiaries at different levels through face to face meetings and workshops aimed at presenting an opportunity for stakeholder to present their views/suggestions as part of project implementation. However, the onset of the Covid 19 situation presented a challenge of project partners not being able to meet physically for discussions on the project hence presenting a new way of doing things.
For instance, most of the project discussions had to shift to online interactions; a new way of conducting business in the development sector. The challenge however is that borderlands in the Horn of Africa (SECCCI Project areas) just like in most parts of the continent remain very remote with a myriad of challenges when it comes to modern communication expectations. To this extent project implementation is heavily affected by key stakeholder not being able to communicate more efficiently and influence decisions.
Operationally, the steps pursued by Project Partner Institutions to protect staff from the pandemic through exercising “duty of care” saw the speed of delivering operational requests drop tremendously hence affecting the project negatively. The absence of key technical staff from the office even though at times available online introduced a “new normal” that most people are not familiar with hence affecting delivery at the personal level. This coupled with limited movement and travel restrictions owing to the state-imposed curfew has had a psychosocial effect on field based project staff that can only be fully described by the field personnel involved.
To this stent therefore, it will be an uphill task for the project to meet its intended deliverables/Targets no matter how fast the project team tries to accustom to these challenges.
Needless to say, there is need for stakeholders/partners to sustain information sharing so as to maintain the ongoing situational learning process on how projects could possibly respond to the pandemic.
In the immediate environment, i.e the work station/office, a lot has been done to provide sanitizers, and information on Covid19. A lot more however needs to be done to take the message home to households that are grappling with access to food, clean water, education and sanitation facilities. This in essence means that while most people are concerned about sanitary measures, there are those that have backtracked in their quest towards resilience due to the prevailing Pandemic situation. A response measure towards ensuring relief and recovery for such exposed borderlands communities should be explored by all project partners. However, the remaining project timeframe leaves doubt as to whether this is ever going to be achieved.
we are in agreement that the C-19 pandemic has negatively affected Governments and Institutions across the world including Communities targeted by Development Interventions. The pandemic deeply affects the livelihood of the pastoral and agro-pastoral community in the cross border area so quick measure harmonised and holistic approach from all development partners will be crucial unless the upcoming situation/impact of the disease as it was mentioned by various researchers will be unpredictable or severe.
I hope with the remaining project timeframe we have to make our effort to achieve what we have planned.
Dissemination of Proper information is one of the most fundamental tools in the process of awareness creation of community because once the communities are miss informed at the very beginning it will difficult to convince them with the proper information.
As you have seen and hear from what is going in the world is that with an extended time of existence of the disease within the community the reluctance of the community to take considerable protection measure will become less and not as it was at the beginning so it needs,
1) Follow up and monitoring on the WHO procedures of protection (Physical dispensing, hand washing and wearing masks)
2) Continuous support and provision of the personal protective equipment’s will be paramount important.
3) Conducting continuous awareness creation forum through extensive FM broadcast with their local language to make the community understand the depth of the impact of the pandemic that can be supported by the present data analysis in the cross border areas.
COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected cross-border initiatives in the HoA. The closure of boarders restricted mobility of organizations which used to cross borders to implement/coordinate activities. In addition, COVID-19 pandemic posed restriction to gathering, which is an enormous challenge in promoting cross-border cooperation, as holding a meeting and conducting a training are common approaches to promote cross-border cooperation (such as to provide training to local government officials and CSOs as well as to spread information about cross-border MoUs).
On the other hand, it is also worth to mention that we should leverage the potential opportunities of COVID-19 in terms of cross-border cooperation. For example, the current situation is also an opportunity to strengthen health vulnerable system in the borderlands, which can last after the end of the pandemic. Similarly, a wide range of supports necessary for local governments in borderland to grapple with the pandemic might last in the post COVID-19 setting.
In sum, while the current pandemic of COVID-19 has been posing an enormous challenge in borderlands, we should also have a perspective to see it as an opportunity to strengthen a range of basic systems in borderlands which lasts beyond the pandemic.
Thanks for the question. The issue of the Food Shortages at the Cross-Borde areas, for example between Kenya and Tanzania border areas the two Governments had to get involved to ease transportation of foodstuff fro Tanzania into Kenya
Similarly, between the border between Kenya and Ethiopia at Sololo border area, a lot foodstuff comes from Ethiopia and maybe at the Moyale border post a lot of crross-border activities the two Governments should get involved in all meetings to ensure decisions made are implemented by the two Governments to assist communities living in the border areas.
With the Novel Corona virus pandemic, the development context for the region is fundamentally challenged in many ways. Everyone is vulnerable to the pandemic, communities in the region are however, even more at risk. Due to their locations, communities in the border area seem often neglected and therefore left behind due to lack of access to information and weak health and livelihood systems.
This pandemic being both health and social and economic crisis, tackling COVID-19 is also a humanitarian and development crisis asserting that the region would be in continued conflict, instability and poverty.
Institutions, both formal and informal, strengthened for the prevention of conflict and peace-building might slide back. Gains made so far in community mobilization for coordinated efforts to contribute to the region’s stability may lose grips. Our approach, hence, should be framed around helping local governments and communities to prepare for and protect people from the pandemic and its impact. Plan for recovering from the economic and social impacts should be part and parcel of our interventions. Some key priorities in this line that could be supported by SECCCI would be:
• Strengthen local health system by providing urgently needed health supplies, rehabilitation of health infrastructure, managing health waste, etc.
• Develop a Crisis Management and Response Plan through which inclusive and integrated crisis management system can be promoted and jointly applied, monitored and reviewed ensuring rights-based approaches
• Strengthen local institutions to uphold rule of law and human rights, address exacerbated gender inequalities, mitigate risks of all sorts, and build resilience
• Conduct local Social and Economic Impact Assessment to design social protection systems, response to gender-based violence, women’s and youth’s economic empowerment.
• Support local authorities to face the consequences of COVID-19 outbreak by sharing guidance/ good practices from past disease outbreaks and assist them to set up emergency management systems
• Strengthen social cohesion and peaceful coexistence through clear communication on COVID 19 and what the government is doing to alleviate any perception of inequality
• Design COVID-19 communication strategies in different local languages to reach communities in collaboration with local governments and other agencies.
Nowadays most of the countries are allowing the International flight and made Air travel possible even within the country and opening of borders to somehow become more flexible and restriction of movement and gathering of the large crowd (meetings, and religious holidays) are not as strict as at the beginning of the pandemic. some of the countries are reversing their decision and no uniform understanding of pre and post hazards of the disease situation.
My question is the new case for the C-19 is increasing and also the number of death so in such situation what kind of additional measures should have to be made by the Government, local authorities, local communities and development partners and what kind of commitment that we have to put in place? because the line of new cases is not descending but ascending.
COVID-19 Impacts on Pastoral and agro-pastoral Livelihoods in CB areas (Ethiopia, Kenya,and Somalia)
In terms of impacts of COVID-19 within the HoA region, the livestock sub-sector appear to be more severe in the arid and semi-arid areas (ASALs), where the local communities largely depend on livestock and livestock products to meet subsistence and livelihoods needs. The measures rolled out to reduce its spread are weighing heavily on the livestock sector, especially restrictions in mobility of both humans and livestock thereby affecting forage accessibility, availability, quantity, and quality. This is in view of the known opportunistic strategy of forage and forage resource exploitation, while at the same time avoiding resource based conflicts and escaping other local diseases.
For example, the restrictions of movements have meant that in some areas the transhumant and nomadic pastoralists have over stayed in certain locations, leading to overgrazing and conflict over water and grazing with local semi-sedentary agro-pastoralists as well as other pastoral nomads.
COVID-19 pandemic has further disrupted input supply chains and service provision affecting accessibility and affordability of industrially produced livestock feed and forage seeds employed for supplemental feeding, reseeding or rehabilitation measures in strategic areas of the Rangelands (eg; riparian zones) . Furthermore, livestock markets’ closure has severely affected local demand for livestock products which has caused a slump in livestock sales and declining intake and offtake thereby extremely slowing down livestock sector economies. If trade and associated movement restrictions, marketing and slaughter infrastructure and operational slow downs continue for a longer period, the impact would be far-reaching to these already exposed and vulnerable livelihoods, and more specifically to the livestock sector within impoverished CB areas. Finaally, it must be understood that positive feedbacks of COVID19 containment measures negatively manifest at sub-national, regional, and global levels further isolating CB economies.