EWER Trimester Report 4 (Feb-May 2011)

October 6, 2010

EWER Trimester Report 4 (Feb-May 2011)

Executive Summary

This report represents the first collection of data since monitoring under the EWER system expanded from its initial sample of 13 sub-districts to a more comprehensive survey of 39 sub-districts: 3 in each district, each served by two resident monitors. Monitors were carefully recruited and trained in early 2010, and now provide (under the guidance of other, more senior monitors) regular data both on incidents of violence, and on a range of social, political, economic and external factors linked to levels of community conflict. BELUN, and its partners through Columbia Universityai??i??s Center for International Conflict Resolution, collate these reports using a customized database and analyze trends at both the sub-district and national levels in producing this series of reports.

Whilst previous reports have shown evidence of distinct groups within society whose effects on community conflict have been felt across the country, there is no such pattern that emerges from present data. Martial arts groups continue to feature in some outbreaks of violence, but their influence is not so great as previously. Farmers and neighbors have feuded over access to resources, land ownership and property boundaries, though much of this can be put down to the additional pressures of unseasonably late rains. The initiators of many conflicts were community members with no familial relationship or evident group identity. Rather than responding to major social changes, monitoring data instead indicates violence used in response to everyday tensions and resentments.

Reporting from 39 sub-districts between February 2010 and May 2010 resulted in 267 reports of violence: an average of 7 incidents per sub-district. In keeping with previously established trends, current data reflects a continued trend toward rapid escalation of conflict. Whilst threats and intimidation were formerly the most commonly reported incidents, these were reported as occurring in only 47% of cases between February 2010 and May 2010. Physical assaults have, conversely, become more common. Over this trimester, 201 reported incidents of violence comprised fighting between individuals. Group conflict fortunately remains a relatively infrequent occurrence, with 32 such reports over the monitoring period, or just 12% of the total.

Results indicate a modest improvement in monitor reports of food security, with marketplace commerce stable over the period. Economic activity has not benefited all, however, judging from continuing reports of extensive job-seeking migration and a visible presence of unemployed youth across monitor locations. Development inputs as a whole were fewer over the reporting period. Unfortunately, the addition of further data sources over this trimester has reinforced previous observations of sexual assault and violence against children.

With so many incidents in this trimesterai??i??s reports occurring between community members with no clear relationship or established rationale for conflict, efforts to promote community solidarity, and to give voice to even low-level frustrations and concerns must be afforded importance. Local discussion forums and the use of mediation may be used to positive effect.