Thinking and working politically in Somalia: a case study on the Somalia Stability Fund

Research reports and studies
May 2018
Ugandan soldiers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) man the frontline near Mogadishu, 2012 © AMISOM

The Somalia Stability Fund (SSF) is a multi-donor instrument that aims to strengthen local governance and mitigate conflict in Somalia. Initiated in September 2012, SSF has been designed and led by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), with participation from Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, and the European Union. Phase one (SSF I) ran from 2012 to 2016; the second phase (SSF II) will run from November 2016 to March 2020.   

This report looks at three success cases:

  1. The Fund’s support to the formation of three nascent federal states;
  2. Infrastructure investment projects in Balanbale and Abudwak; and
  3. The reconciliation process between Galmadug State and Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a.

This is followed by a discussion of two challenging investment projects:

  1. The Hirshabelle State Formation process; and
  2. The construction of the Baraawe airstrip.

This report also details some of the ways in which the Fund’s systems and processes are not being used to support thinking and working politically. For example, the programme’s monitoring, evaluation and learning tools have not always been used in ways that capture the value of the less formal political analysis, negotiation and networking that is critical to the Fund’s work. And whilst SSF has impressive analytical capability and a deep contextual understanding of political dynamics on the ground, there are challenges with verifying data and information when working in fragile and conflict-affected states. These challenges are not unique to SSF, and point to some wider issues that may require attention from researchers and practitioners if the thinking and working politically agenda is to make a real contribution to improving aid delivery in fragile states.