International Consultant for Research on Stabilization Efforts and Access to Justice in Somalia

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    4 years ago
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The Expanding Access to Justice Program (EAJ) is a five-year associate award (2018–2023), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) via the Freedom House-led Human Rights Support Mechanism (HRSM) and implemented in partnership between Pact and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI), that aims to improve access to justice and mechanisms to address grievances in Somalia. The Program has a strong focus on research activities and knowledge creation to ensure that program activities and objectives are embedded in rigorous contextual understanding.

The concept of ‘stabilization’ in fragile states and post-war countries originates in international interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000s. The key idea was to combine state building, humanitarian action and development in order to help achieve stable environments in countries emerging from violent conflict. However, different countries have developed different doctrines to underpin their stabilization interventions.

In Somalia “stabilization” has become an oft-repeated term, but given its history in Somalia it is not really underpinned by any distinct concept or commonly agreed definition. Stabilization serves as an umbrella for a range of activities. This is equally true in connection to the question of where ‘justice’ sits in the stabilization scenario. Across varied literature on Somalia using the term ‘stabilization’, ‘justice’ has been thrown into the mix in a very uncoordinated way.

For example, while the mandate of UNSOM is a ‘stabilization’ effort, it includes support to the establishment of a functioning justice system, based on a Rule of Law – next to humanitarian and development interventions. There is the underpinning idea that a justice system needs to be established as part of a functioning governance apparatus and in addition to humanitarian aid and other development interventions. In the meantime, there has been a call for ‘justice’ to allow for stabilization and especially to counter violent extremism. What has not happened is the disentanglement of the objectives of peace, stability and individual-rights based justice, and to sequence how they can be achieved. Careful strategies need to be developed on how to foster more inclusive peacebuilding, while aiming for the introduction and fostering of rights-based justice.

Purpose and Tasks

In order to place access to justice efforts in the current Somali ‘stabilization’ environment, current ‘stabilization’ initiatives need to be reviewed to understand their key objectives, where they come from and what they are based on – all given the terminological uncertainty. It further needs to be identified how ‘justice’ is embedded in those varying initiatives, ideologically, doctrinally, but also in a programmatic manner. That should lead to the identification of granular definitions of where, when and how ‘justice’ interventions are meaningful and which objectives they could possibly serve. This will help define concrete approaches to justice interventions, based on identification of what type of justice is required, whom it should serve and what kind of tools and approaches will cater for that.

Key Research Questions

  • What are the different stabilization ideologies and doctrines being used in Somalia (UK, US, EU etc…)? What is meant by stabilization and what are the different development theories?
  • How is ‘justice’ embedded in those approaches?
  • What have been the different ‘justice’ strategies in stabilization efforts in Somalia?
  • What are the implications of EAJ ‘s work in stabilization on its principles and approaches– e.g. “do no harm,”?
  • What are granular approaches to access to justice in Somalia’s stabilization efforts?
    • What justice forms and actors are involved?
    • How are justice services embedded in the stabilization operation, government and the community (or previously under AS)?
    • What are the evolving justice demands of communities?
    • Do stabilization imperatives and priorities intentionally or unintentionally suppress justice demands – and if so how?
    • Is the stabilization operation cognizant of this risk of suppression and, if so, how is it dealt with?
    • What key access to justice issues confront communities and justice actors?
    • How are justice actors coping?
    • What factors have contributed to progress, setback, and failures in stabilization-related justice work?
    • What expectations relating to coordination, operational command and control, reporting, and authorization of actions, would the stabilization operation, government and local powerholders have of the EAJ? What level of autonomy could EAJ expect to have over its work in a stabilization theatre?
  • What are lessons from justice interventions experiences as they relate to stabilization in Somalia?
  • To what extent is the development of a justice sector part of basic stabilization efforts? Or, to what extent is basic stabilization a prerequisite for justice sector development?

Key Deliverables and Timelines

This study will be undertaken in two distinct phases. Phase one will consist of a thorough desk review of stabilization efforts in Somalia, as well it will be based on phone interviews with key individual respondents that have been involved in stabilization and justice efforts (UN, SSF, TIS +, USAID, EU etc…). This will allow for a thorough understanding of past and current ideologies and strategies and programming as it relates to stabilization and justice. The findings will be captured in a research report, including recommendations for the EAJ.

The research will be conducted by an expert consultant, under the guidance of the EAJ Research Team Lead. It is anticipate that the work will require 35 working days and be conducted between 1 February and 31 March 2020.

Experience of International Consultant

  • Masters Degree in Social Science, Political Science or related field
  • In-depth knowledge about Somalia’s socio-political landscape
  • At least 2 years experience in working with international organizations in Somalia
  • Experience in research
  • Excellent English writing skills
  • Track record of high quality publications

Period of Consultancy

35 working days between 1 February and 31 March 2020.


The consultant will report to the EAJ Research Team Leader.


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