Selam Terefe

Our alumni Selam Terefe and Birikit Terefe have been selected to be part of the East African Acumen Fellows. Through ACUMEN they will participate in fighting poverty and changing lives across East Africa through unique initiatives that range from providing much-needed ambulance services to helping make hygienic sanitation more accessible and affordable to empowering young women to start viable agro-enterprises.


Thursday 12 February 2015

Panel Discussions: Peace Talks 12: Kenya: Water, power, people and peace

Water is critical for peace. It sustains communities and their livelihoods. Its scarcity can lead to tensions and even violence. In countries such as Kenya, competition over water and land has fuelled conflict, exacerbated by poverty, ethnic grievances, poor governance and climate change.

Everybody has the right to water. But as demand grows and supply decreases, how do we manage water in a fair, sustainable and peaceful way? In this Peace Talks, a panel of experts discuss these issues and identify possible ways forward.

The discussion was held as part of our 'Peace blooms' photo exhibition and pop-up flower shop at Hoxton Gallery (10-15 February 2015), and the launch of Peace Audit: Kenya. Join the conversation by following @intalert and using #PeaceBlooms.


  1. Sir Edward Clay, former British High Commissioner in Kenya
  2. Moses Onyango, Lecturer at US International University in Nairobi; Fellow at the African Leadership Centre
  3. Dan Smith, Secretary General, International Alert
  4. Martin Plaut (Chair), Journalist specialising in Africa; Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Followed by drinks and food provided by Masterchef's Emily Amuke.

President Goodluck Jonathan (2011). Photo: Annaliese McDonough (creative commons)

By Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood

Re-published from

11th February 2015

“Elections belong to people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters” – Abraham Lincoln

When elections loom we often make the mistake of believing that voting for a different party or a new president will bring about real change. Soon we realise that those voted in are just a continuation of the old system, but with a different face, or the reappearance of a system that has long ceased to be relevant. This is the choice between change – real change – and just an alternative government.

The Nigerian elections, originally scheduled for Saturday but recently postponed by six weeks due to security concerns, raise this issue. Do the Nigerian people want change, or just an alternative government?

By Semiha Abdulmelik

Re-published from Strife

29th January 2015

‘Meaningful participation in African conflict-resolution processes is not an important aspect of China’s current Africa relations. China is becoming increasingly important in the landscape of African politics, including in conflict-affected theatres, but is not as significant an actor as external perceptions contend. Nor has the Chinese government shown any particular inclination for more active engagement beyond spheres such as Sudan where the need is more compelling’’.[1]

Dan Large (SOAS), 2008, in China’s role in the mediation and resolution of conflict in Africa.

These words, written just seven years ago, now seem out of date. We are now witnessing what might be described as a significant if incremental evolution in China’s involvement in Africa’s peace and security. It is more structured, purposeful, and beyond countries of immediate interest, if still exploratory.

China’s peace and security engagement on the continent has predominantly been characterised as driven by economic interests in countries in which it has significant investments. This is the narrative most commonly seen in the Western media and academia: strict adherence to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of countries and comprising of bi-lateral military cooperation and arms trade. How this has evolved will be the focus of this piece.

By Desmond Davies

Re-published from The Ghana News Agency

Sunday 25th January 2015

Johannesburg, Jan. 25, GNA – Three African experts have been appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to a seven-member panel charged with reviewing the world body’s peacebuilding architecture in the face of major challenges.

Dr ‘Funmi Olonisakin from Nigeria, Edith Grace Ssempala from Uganda and Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah from Mauritania are on the panel, which was recommended by the presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council in December.

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