“In Somali culture, if somebody is killed, the killer should come and talk to me, help me bury the dead and compensate me.” –Mohammed*, 32 year old Somali man to CIVIC

Somalis want what everyone wants — to live without fear. Recent gains by African Union forces (AMISOM) in Mogadishu mean some Somalis can return home, but most continue to live with serious risks to life, limb, and livelihood.

Our work in Somalia is focused on helping AMISOM reduce and respond to civilian harm caused by its operations against the extremist group al-Shabaab. By invitation, our team went to Mogadishu to advise on a civilian protection policy, which was approved by the African Union. With the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, we examined how Somalis traditionally compensate for injury and harm. That rich cultural history is important to inform how AMISOM could properly respond to civilian harm it causes.

Now, we’re supporting African Forces in building a tool within military headquarters which will help its leadership understand and improve the impact of combat operations on the civilian population. Called a “Civilian Casualty Tracking, Analysis, and Response Cell,” this tool is the first of its kind for an African military and only the third in the world.

*name changed