Peacebuilding and Livelihoods in Somalia

On April 24th, the CVE Working Group met with Zaina Kisongoa, Somalia Country Director of the American Friends Service Committee, in a roundtable discussion with Peace Direct, Mercy Corps and Search for Common Ground for an exploration of new dynamics in Somalia and the links between peacebuilding and livelihoods.

Zaina runs AFSC’s largest youth program, integrating peacebuilding, conflict resolution and leadership skills into vocational training in six regions of the unstable and war-torn country. She believes economic development is an essential aspect of peacebuilding programming. She spoke about their Youth Ambassadors program, which encourages youth to spread messages of peace.

Challenges to increasing peace and livelihoods in Somalia include poverty, a general lack of hope from years of conflict, and religious illiteracy. Group members agreed on the importance of youth believing they have the power to change their own lives in order to resist radicalization. The group will continue to think about ways to align their advocacy to promote peaceful policies in Somalia.

Meetings like this are one way the CVE Working Group meets its goals of building a large, diverse coalition and creating advocacy strategies. If you would like more information about AfP’s CVE Working Group, or other AfP Affinity Groups, contact Liz Hume, Senior Director for Programs & Strategies, at