The regions East Africa and Horn of Africa are home to complex conflicts. The political crisis in Kenya after the December 2007 election revealed entrenched political and social problems in a country often described as an island of stability.
In Kenya, ethnopolitical polarization is deep-rooted in large areas of civil society.
In Southern and Central Somalia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector are increasingly offering services that no other institution in the war-plagued nation is able to offer. Individual groups contribute to a civilian political discourse, but they are always in danger of being crushed by violent parties. In Somaliland, civil society groups are relatively well established. They have taken over educational functions and also lobby state institutions.
In Ethiopia, in the past few years tensions have increased between a «strong» state and a civil society that is cautiously beginning to emancipate itself. The legal leeway for NGOs is limited, particularly in areas relevant to democracy.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, the Foundation has been active in the Horn of Africa. Since 2001, we are represented by a regional office in Nairobi. The office supports partner organizations in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan.
In 2006, the Ethiopian country office was opened in Addis Ababa. Nairobi is the ideal location for networking civil society organizations in the Horn of Africa region. Numerous stakeholder groups and institutions from crisis-ridden areas (among others Somalia and Sudan) are present in the Kenyan capital. Through our Ethiopian office, the Foundation is better able to observe the work of the African Union and make contacts.
Heinrich Böll Foundation
Regional Office East and Horn of Africa
P.O. Box 10799 – 00100 GPO