Conflict prevention and peacebuilding in Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo: Learning from the Humanitarian-Peacebuilding-Development Nexus

Violent conflicts have created a weak protective environment for communities in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The IRC, in partnership with the Benadir Regional Administration in Mogadishu, Somalia and the Commission Diocésaine pour la Justice et la Paix in Tanganyika Province, DRC, is seeking to implement a comprehensive program aimed at preventing violent conflict and supporting peace and state building processes and human security.

The program is designed to promote communities’ ability to participate in group dialogue as part of a process that provides them with increased access to services, while also enhancing the local government’s ability to engage with communities and support their needs, including response capacities to effectively mitigate and manage conflicts. In Somalia, the program focuses on access to, and capacities of, justice systems in Benadir Region (Mogadishu). In the DRC, the program focuses on conflict-affected Bantu and Twa communities by supporting increased access to equitable healthcare services in Tanganyika Province.This project aims to determine whether the program’s theory of change holds, through which mechanisms, and under which conditions.

The baseline theory-based evaluation made these cross-cutting recommendations:

  • It is important to clarify key concepts, since they tell us what success looks like.
  • Theories of change should be specific to the context and entry points, and be clear about how we think change happens. The Outcomes and Evidence Framework is useful as a starting point for conceptualizing outcome pathways, but the pathways require contextualizing. The assumptions in the global pathways do hold true and remain relevant in the contextualized theories of change we have developed for each project.
  • The IRC should continue to assess opportunities to work with both formal and informal mechanisms; existing and new structures; and other programs.
  • We need to understand better intergroup power dynamics to develop effective people-to-people peacebuilding approaches and initiatives to build social cohesion. Relatedly, peacebuilding approaches designed to increase the participation of marginalized groups, especially women, need to be adequately resourced to be able to incentivize and offset opportunity costs to participation, as well as to provide tangible resources participants can mobilize.


The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.