Deris Wanaag: The Kenya-Somalia-Ethiopia Borderlands Project

Deris Wanaag is a cross-border project seeking to enhance peace and stability, and strengthen social and economic dynamics, in the border areas between Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.


RUSI Nairobi leads the research and analysis component of the UK Conflict, Stability and Security Fund’s (CSSF) three-year project implemented in the borderlands of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. Deris Wanaag innovatively integrates preventing / countering violent extremism, development, and peacebuilding approaches, to tackle cross-border instability.

The implementing consortium is led by Adam Smith International (ASI).



Deris Wanaag, meaning ‘good neighbourliness’ in Somali,, is a cross-border project seeking to enhance peace and stability, and strengthen social and economic dynamics, in the border areas between Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

The project acknowledges that enhancing peace and stability, and improving social and economic conditions, can only be achieved through increasing collaboration between the three countries, respective local administrations, and between the communities located across the borders.

The project focuses on strengthening the effectiveness of national responses to insecurity along the border, supporting local conflict resolution and management structures, and building individual and community resilience to the influence of violent extremist actors. Recognising the transnational nature of insecurity, the project will support ongoing coordination mechanisms between Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, situating itself within regional developments and their impact at local level.

Gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) is integrated across all project engagement, tailored to accommodate the imbalance of GESI considerations in the border areas, as well as through deliberate interventions founded in an understanding of which individuals and groups are more vulnerable and disproportionately impacted by conflict.


The project is funded by the UK’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

  • Research Lead: Christopher Hockey (Research Fellow)
  • Field Research Manager: Timothy Kimaiyo
  • Project Context Analyst: Dennis Okemwa
  • Somalia Analyst: ongoing recruitment
  • Ethiopia Analyst: ongoing recruitment

Aims and objectives

One of the project’s three objectives is to improve our understanding of how conflict and violent actor dynamics and structures across the borderlands can inform effective policy and programming. To deliver on this objective, RUSI leads on producing regular context analysis, discrete studies, policy briefs and holding learning events to inform government policy and to shape the geographic and thematic prioritisation of project interventions.

>Deris Wanaag builds on RUSI’s extensive work to establish what works and what does not in reducing the threat presented by violent extremist actors. Recognising the limitations of narrow-focused P/CVE projects, RUSI encourages an approach that addresses both those most at risk and wider structural grievances. Previous research suggests the need to better integrate government, civil society and community-led responses. RUSI provides the evidence necessary to ensure that interventions are appropriate and have the best chance of leading to meaningful impact. Where this evidence does not yet exist, new research will be conducted to provide guidance for the wider project and its stakeholders.

Based on the research findings and learning from interventions taken by the project and national authorities, the project aims to influence policy and action and engage with stakeholders, sharing findings as widely a possible.

In prioritising local understandings of the problem, the team aims to encourage innovation, and give grater consideration to conflict sensitivity, ethics, transparency and sustainability.

Project outputs

While a proportion of the research and analysis for this project will be privately shared, we also plan to make the following publicly available.

  • Monthly Borderland Spotlight (context analysis reports)
  • Regularly updated political economy and conflict analysis
  • Policy briefs
  • Research papers

The project’s research agenda is discussed on a quarterly basis with the donors. Currently ongoing research is looking at the intersection of masculinities, gender-based violence and extremism; as well as the relationships between border migration, climate change and conflict.

Latest publications

View all publications