US to support peace initiatives in the Horn of Africa By WALTER MENYA in Nairobi | Thursday, October 7  2010 at  11:06

Igad's Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim 

The US Government has pledged support for regional conflict prevention and response activities among pastoral communities in the Horn of Africa.

Through its economic and humanitarian assistance agency, USAid, the US plans to support the peace efforts through regional Igad's Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN).

USAid East Africa's Regional Director Larry Meserve, and Iigad Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim, Thursday signed an agreement in which the American Government committed to continue supporting conflict prevention and response activities aimed at assisting the region’s states to tackle the scourge.

Through this agreement, USAid will provide $1 million to CEWARN through Igad for a one year period, ending September 30, 2011, to help avert and secure peace in the region with emphasis on the Somali Cluster.

Field monitors

According to Mr Meserve: "Conflict often arises due to a lack of or breakdown in communication. USAid and CEWARN are working together on the implementation of the

Information Communications Technology for Peace (ICT4Peace) activity to ensure information flows to and from conflict prone areas.”

Communications equipment provided under ICT4Peace is used to report incidences of conflict, enabling local peace committees to prevent pending conflicts in the region.

CEWARN's aims to empower stakeholders to prevent violent conflicts, especially in three areas: the Somali Cluster bordering Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, the Karamoja Cluster bordering areas of Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda and the Dikihil Cluster between Djibouti and Ethiopia.

CEWARN works with a network of field monitors, country coordinators, national research institutes, civil society organisations and Conflict Early Warning and Response Units to receive and share information about potentially violent conflicts in the Igad region; and to analyse information and suggest options for early response.