No Women, No Peace: Gender Equality, Conflict and Peace in Myanmar

Myanmar Policy Briefing

There has long been a need for a deeper understanding of the intersections of gender, ethnicity and other identities in peace-building and democratisation. Progress on the rights of women and the participation by women’s organisations in conflict resolution and national reform are vital if sustainable peace and democracy are to be built within the country.

The article can be read and downloaded on Transnational Institute (TNI) online.

The Transnational Institute (TNI) is an international research and advocacy institute committed to building a just, democratic and sustainable planet. Please read here more about their visions and values.

Power in India: radical pathways

India has strongly entrenched power hierarchies that have historical roots but have also been exacerbated by inequalities and injustices that have deepened with economic globalisation. However grassroots political movements are emerging in India that could signal a gradual shift to direct or radical democracy, coupled with making representative democracy more accountable and ecologically sustainable.

The article can be read and downloaded on Transnational Institute (TNI) online.

The Transnational Institute (TNI) is an international research and advocacy institute committed to building a just, democratic and sustainable planet. Please read here more about their visions and values.

Freedom technologists and the future of global justice

In the wake of early 2010s upheavals such as the Arab Spring, Spain’s indignados, or the global Occupy movement, many commentators were quick to either invoke the presumed tech-savvy of ‘digital natives’ or the purported ‘cyber-utopianism’ of net freedom advocates who supported the protests. But what role have internet freedom activists – or ‘freedom technologists’ – played in ongoing struggles for progressive political change around the world and how can the pursuit of liberty be combined with the struggle for social justice?

To read or download the article, please visit the Transnational Institute (TNI) online.

The Transnational Institute (TNI) is an international research and advocacy institute committed to building a just, democratic and sustainable planet. Please read here more about their visions and values.

The global post-democratic order

In the era of globalisation, the steady removal of decision-making from democratic chambers by EU elites is serving as a blueprint for post-democratic governance around the world. Progressives must be ambitious and start putting forward ideas for a democratic world government as a viable alternative.

To read or download the article, please visit the Transnational Institute (TNI) online.

The Transnational Institute (TNI) is an international research and advocacy institute committed to building a just, democratic and sustainable planet. Please read here more about their visions and values.

1st India-Sweden exchange seminar took place in Mumbai with Laureate Medha Patkar

The first module of the PhD course, “Critical Urban Theory: Citizenship, Marginalities, Livelihood Struggles and Innovations in Practice” took place in Mumbai, India from 4 to 8 of January.

The joint Phd Course is organized by Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) in collaboration with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and its Centre for Livelihoods and Social Innovation (CLSI).

A more detailed report on the first part of this seminar can be found
in the section Campus-News of RLC Mumbai.

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1st seminar on ‘Critical Urban Theory in Practice’ took place in Mumbai

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The first module of the PhD course, “Critical Urban Theory: Citizenship, Marginalities, Livelihood Struggles and Innovations in Practice” took place in Mumbai, India from 4 to 8 of January.
Report by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS

The joint Phd Course is organized by Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) in collaboration with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and its Centre for Livelihoods and Social Innovation (CLSI).

During the first module of the course, TISS (CLSI) hosted around 15 students from India and Sweden together with LUCSUS faculty. Over a week of lectures and heated seminar discussions, students discussed how critical urban theory on issues surrounding redevelopment of slums can potentially contribute to bringing housing and other urban spaces under democratic control.

The public lecture by Medha Patkar, the Right Livelihood Laurate. Photo by Prof. Eric Clark, LUCSUS
The public lecture by Medha Patkar, the Right Livelihood Laurate. Photo by Prof. Eric Clark,  LUCSUS

As a part of the course, the Right Livelihood Laureate, Medha Patkar held a public lecture in TISS. Participants listened to her inspiring and powerful voice and her extensive experience of mobilizing community and slum dwellers to access to shelter and basic services. Known as an influential icon for the struggles in India and beyond, Medha Patkar talked about various social and political actions led by her to oppose to slum rehabilitation projects that are poorly communicated to the residents of affected areas, and thus, have been instruments for evicting people with no alternative houses or right to land.

Organized by TISS modular course students and faculty and inspired by Medha Patkar’s public lecture, the participants visited her grass-roots initiatives and slum improvement projects in Mumbai, over a day of fieldtrip to East Vikhroli.

Informed by the course materials and insights gained from the field visit, the participants explored and discussed driving forces behind displacement as well as activities that can support the community struggle against constant fear of eviction and homelessness. This was performed during last day of the course and in the format of student group presentations.
The course was rounded off with the LUCSUS faculty’s panel discussion wherein teachers presented some of their ongoing research, and together with PhD and Master’s students, they discussed objectives and rationale of grass-root initiatives and social movements.

Collective photo on last day of the course. LUCSUS and TISS faculty together with some of students. Photo by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS
Collective photo on last day of the course. LUCSUS and TISS faculty together with some of students. Photo by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS

The second module of the course will be held in Lund, Sweden from 4 to 8 of April, 2016.

LUCUS invites all the eligible PhD candidates to register for the second module by 15 February. More information about the course content can be found here:

http://lucid.lu.se.webbhotell.ldc.lu.se/index.php/invitationtothephdcoursecriticalurbantheoryinpractice/

List of organizers and teachers:

Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS, Course coordinator/Lecturer

Dr. Banerjee Swati, TISS, Co-organizer/Lecturer

Dr. Santha Sunil, TISS, Co-organizer/Lecturer

Prof. Eric Clark, LUCSUS/Human Geography, Lecturer

Dr. Mine Islar, LUCSUS, Lecturer

Dr. Turaj Faran, LUCSUS, Lecturer

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New blog-article: Cattle Raids in Northern Kenya

by Willis Okumu

Cattle Raids and Victimhood at the Household Level: Experiences of Pastoralists Women in Northern Kenya

The culture of cattle raiding is a shared practice across the Karamoja Cluster. Pastoralists within this geographical area not only share territory but also use cattle for various significant life events such as for paying bride wealth, trade, making sacrifices, as a source of wealth and a daily means of survival. Cattle raiding was therefore an institutionalised means through which communities interacted and acquired livestock to alleviate survival crises occasioned by drought. Cattle raiding also enabled community warriors to prove their mettle by raids aimed at acquiring cattle for the payment of bride wealth. During such raids, cherished values such as braveness and reliable leadership were sought and exhibited as key to warriorhood. In the early 1970s a remarkable change in the culture of raiding started taking root. Raids became more frequent, more violent and groups of warriors acquired automatic weapons that made the organizing of raids no longer a community sanctioned affair but an event independent from the sanctioning powers of communal elders.

Automatic weapons used in cattle raids initially arrived in Samburu district through the fatal raids of Turkana Ngoroko who traversed Samburuland and made incursions among the Samburu people. The Samburu at that time defended their livestock and territory using traditional weaponry of spears, bows and arrows. Given the marginilisation of the whole of pastoralists inhabited Northern Kenya in terms of accessibility infrastructure and limited presence of state security. Local politicians from the late 1970s appealed to the then President Moi to issue government arms and ammunition to local volunteer police who were christened ‘Kenya Police Reservists’. The initial batch of reservists were recruited towards the end of 1970. They were trained by local police on shooting ranges such as Mt. Nyiro and deployed in their respective villages and grazing lands as protection against Ngoroko raiders. The unintended effect of arming locals is that it brought a new feel of power among the reservists. The power of carrying a loaded rifle and its impact on traditionally armed herders changed the nature of raids. Armed reservists increasingly used their government issued guns to support warriors from their ethnic groups during fatal raids between the Samburu and Turkana. With continued raids, victims and sense of victimhood solidified between these groups thus fueling a strong sense of revenge raids which further led to more deaths and displacement of raid victims from their homes.

Arming of police reservists by the state not only helped to solidify ethnic identities. Guns issued to reservists were seen as belonging to specific communities. Hence a communal tool for defence and aggression in raids. The use of guns in raids brought a new sense of efficiency during raids thus further propelling the demand for more guns. On the other hand the use of guns broke the institutional structure of traditional raiding which prohibited violence on children, women and the aged. Raiding using guns thus opened Turkana and Samburu households to indiscriminate gun fire during cattle raids. This further fuelled the need to acquire more weapons at the household level.

Genesis of Conflict and Solidification of Victimhood

Solidification of sense of victimhood among pastoralists’ households can be argued to have taken root since 1996. In 1996, there was a massive raid of Samburu and Rendille herders by Turkana raiders at Soito Kokoyo dam near Marti town in Samburu North sub County. The sense of victimhood by those sides can be argued to be key to never ending cycle ov violence as violence narratives are passed on from generation to generation thus burdening warrior groups with the expectation not only to to conduct raids for their contemporary purposes but also to revenge on behalf of their elder generation for past aggressions. According to Rose Learamo, a 62 year old Samburu woman from Bendera village; “Armed raiding started in the 1970s when Turkana raiders killed chief Lekuye and the Samburu reacted by fighting back. The raids have affected my household and my daily life. I lost a daughter who was killed by Turkana raiders before she got married. My brother who was a moran was also killed when they went to raid the Turkana in Natiti. Because of this conflict I have had to move all the time. In the 1970s I was living in Ldonyo Mara but I had to move to Baragoi town and later I settled here in Bendera due to insecurity”.

On the Turkana side, Adung Julia, a 72 years old woman from Nalingangor village traces the Turkana-Samburu conflict to 1996. According to her; “the conflict started when an airplane was shot down at Nachola area while carrying out a security operation to recover stolen cattle by the Turkana from the Samburu and Rendille herders. After the Turkana raiders shot down the plane, a massive security operation was carried out by paramilitary police. Security officers took away three Turkana men: Lochikiria, Aukot and Epokor. The whereabouts of these three men is unknown to date. This particular episode was the beginning of massive raids and highway attacks between the Samburu and Turkana”.

Cattle Raids at the Household Level

While raiding is indeed a male dominated affair, the impact of raids on pastoralists households are more far reaching and devastating. In Samburu North, intense raids have contributed directly to loss of lives during raids. While most raids initially take place far away from settlement areas, revenge attacks that ensue thereafter are often more organised and contribute to indiscriminate shootings in settled areas. Ekiru Lochuch a 76 years old Turkana woman recalls a Samburu raid in Naikit Amejen. During that raid her daughter Lokoro Lochuch, her son in law Loriu Lopeyok and two of their children were killed and their 300 cows and 10 camels taken by the Samburu raiders. This raid left her with no clear means of survival as she resorted to come and settle in Baragoi town where she started brewing alcohol to support her younger children. Similarly, Julieta Lekaere, a 58 years old Samburu woman from Bendera village attributed her constant migration from place to place over the last two decades to insecurity occasioned by raids between the Samburu and Turkana. On a more personal level, she lost her brother who was shot dead during a raid at Mt. Daniel near Baragoi High School. During that raid, the Lekaere family also lost their homestead which was turned into a battle field between Samburu and Turkana warriors. But more significantly the raid at Mt. Daniel led to loss of grazing areas by the family thus further endangering the survival of their family livestock.

Pastoralists’ women in Samburu North can be argued to be the main victims of cattle raids at the household level. When raids occur, women lose their sons and husbands. This is because warriors armed with modern automatic rifles increasingly organise raids away from the institutional guidance of the elders as was done four decades ago. Once warriors come back home after successful raids, revenge raids are expected from the raided community and preparations are collectively made with retired morans to defend territory and livestock. Revenge raids that take place within settled areas tend to be very indiscriminate as warriors rely on the surprise element. They lay ambush in the thickets or in the dark and launch ferocious attacks aimed at catching their victims flat footed. During these raids, children, women and the elderly are killed. Killings occasioned by indiscriminate shootings during revenge raids fuels revenge and sense of victimhood. Women happen to suffer more as they are left with the burden of raising households such violent raids which robs pastoralists of able-bodied men and livestock that they should survive on.

Women collecting water for household use as men water their animals in Charda, a Turkana village in Samburu North sub-County

 

turkana morans guarding donkeys at a waterpoint in Charda village

 

Kawap Primary School, vandalized and abandoned due to raids between the Turkana and Samburu warriors
Kawap Primary School, vandalized and abandoned due to raids between the Turkana and Samburu warriors

 

 

 

The Effect of Industrial Cluster Policy on Firm Performance in Ethiopia: Evidence from the Leather Footware Clust

by Tigabu Degu Getahun

This paper empirically analyzes the productivity, profitability,  innovation and network effects of a public policy promoting micro and small scale industrial clusters in Ethiopia. To this end,
firm-level survey data was collected from randomly selected clustered leather shoe manufacturers that have directly benefited from the policy and those that do not, both before and after the cluster policy intervention. The results from econometric an
alysis suggests that the industrial cluster policy adversely impacts the productivity, profitability, growth, and innovation performance of the small and micro leather shoe manufacturing enterprises that moved to the government created clusters . The analysis of the transmission mechanism further reveals that the relocated cluster policy hampers the treated firms’ collaborative business and knowledge network and aggravates their growth impediments
which includes lack of trust, high customer and suppliersearch and reach cost, lack of market information, imperfect contract enforcement, delays in the supply of raw materials and the lack of skilled labor. The time lag between policy implementation and its impacts may conceal the long-term impact of the cluster policy. The overwhelming majority of the representatives of treatment group firms also continue to believe that their buisness performance will improve over time as a result of their participation in the MSE cluster development program. This study is a pioneer to quantitatively evaluate the productivity, profitability, innovation and network effect of industrial cluster policy in Ethiopia.
The paper can be read or downloaded here.

Marginality as a Root Cause of Poverty: Identifying Marginality Hotspots in Ethiopia

by Christine Husmann

Marginality refers to a position at the margins of social, political, economic, ecological, and biophysical systems. The paper applies this concept to the case of Ethiopia. Marginality hotspots are mapped by overlaying seven different indicators using Geographic Information System software. Results show that people in the South-West and in the North are most marginalized. Overlaying marginality hotspots with a map of agro-ecological belts shows that a large share of marginality hotspots is located in areas with low agricultural potential. Marginality is not bound to specific ethnic groups but ethnic fractionalization is significantly lower in marginality hotspots than in other areas.

The article can be read and downloaded here.

Comparing the global and merged with the local and separate: On a downside to the integration of regions and nations

by Oded Stark
This paper looks at the integration of regions and nations through the prism of the merger of populations (societies). The paper employs a particular index of social stress. Stylized examples of the merging of two populations suggest that with integration, the social
stressindex will increase. The examples form the basis for the development of new formulas for calculating the social stress of an
integrated population as a function of the levels of social stress of the constituent populations when apart.The formulas reveal that
the social stress of an integrated population is higher than the sum of the levels of social stress of the constituent populations when apart. This raises the distinct possibility that the merging of  populations may be a social liability: integration may fail to give the
populace a sense of improved wellbeing.
The paper can be read and downloaded here.