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All Publications by Author

 

Confronting the Unthinkable: Suicide Bombers in Northern Nigeria

Published February 29, 2016 | By Patricia Taft and Kendall Lawrence*

In the early morning hours of February 9, 2016, in a sprawling camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s Borno State, three young girls thought to be looking for shelter, were welcomed inside. What the guards who admitted them didn’t know, however, was that each was wearing an improvised explosive device strapped to her body. Minutes later, two of those girls were dead and, with them, an estimated 58 other victims, including many families seeking shelter from a raging insurgency that had driven them from their homes. An additional 80 people were badly wounded. Attacks like this have come to characterize the insurgency that has raged in northern Nigeria since 2009. Recently, however, data and research by The Fund for Peace (FFP), a Washington, D.C.-based NGO, indicates that Boko Haram has fundamentally shifted its tactics and its targets.

Confronting the Unthinkable: Suicide Bombers in Northern Nigeria (Full Report)

Published February 29, 2016 | By Patricia Taft and Kendall Lawrence*

The use of women and children as weapons of war in northern Nigeria and in neighboring countries is undoubtedly horrific, there is often the tendency to paint the phenomenon with a broad brush that identifies the bombers as victims without agency, or the right of choice, in their fate. To the extent that this assumption has implications for response, it should be acknowledged that the question of agency is inevitably much more complex and uncomfortable. Certainly, no ten-year-old child can be said to be of a mental and emotional maturity to make such a fatal choice. However, the assumption that the women and children who have carried out these attacks are all abductees is false.

Fragile States Index 2015: The Book

Published June 17, 2015 | By J.J. Messner, Nate Haken, et al.

The Fragile States Index, produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure. By highlighting pertinent issues in weak and failing states, The Fragile States Index—and the social science framework and software application upon which it is built—makes political risk assessment and early warning of conflict accessible to policy-makers and the public at large.

A Tough Neighborhood: Kenya Weathers Regional Instability

Published June 17, 2015 | By Patricia Taft and Kendall Lawrence

Long considered an anchor of relative stability in East Africa, Kenya is considered to be one of the strongest emerging markets in Africa. Despite significant pressures, their economy continues impressive growth, with the World Bank projecting continued gains over the next few years. Kenya has also made significant gains in the technology sector, leading the region – and in some cases, the continent – in the development and deployment of mobile banking and telecommunications platforms.

A Reform Agenda: Cuba Comes in from the Cold

Published June 17, 2015 | By Patricia Taft and Kendall Lawrence

At the end of 2014, Cuba suddenly became news again when U.S. President Obama announced a plan to normalize relations with the country after nearly fifty years of political and economic isolation. But even before the announcement, Cuba was already on track to be one of the most improved countries in the 2014 Fragile States Index. In areas like the provision of Public Services, Cuba’s score has worsened slightly over ten years although all other indicators have improved. In the areas of Human Rights and State Legitimacy, there was a worsening over the past year as reports alleged extrajudicial abuse by public security forces and the continued repression of political opposition. Despite these negative marks, the trend over the past decade continues to be positive.

Violence Affecting Women & Girls Monthly Memo: January 2015

Published March 1, 2015 | By Patricia Taft*

In January, the Nigeria Stabilization and Reconciliation Program (NSRP) Sources filter continued to generate more reports about Violence Affecting Women and Girls (VAWG) than any other source integrated onto the platform. As we begin the first quarter of 2015, there are 50 self-identified Agents of Peace focusing on issues of gender in the NSRP states. As the project has grown, more organizations have stepped forward to be identified through the Observatory. Rivers continues to have the most Agents of Peace, with 17 organizations currently listed.

Violence Affecting Women & Girls: Quarterly Report for Q1 2015

Published February 1, 2015 | By Patricia Taft*

The number of overall incidents and fatalities reported in 2014 across the eight target states shows the highest levels of violence since 2009. While types of violence vary across states and time periods, the North East remains the most violent region, led by Borno State. VAWG has followed this national trend, with the overall situation deteriorating during 2014 and into January 2015. With steadily increasing VAWG incident reports year on year, reported incidents rose by over 30% in 2014 from 2013 based on Nigeria Watch data.

Violence Affecting Women & Girls Monthly Memo: December 2014

Published February 1, 2015 | By Patricia Taft*

In January, the Nigeria Stabilization and Reconciliation Program (NSRP) Sources filter continued to generate more reports about Violence Affecting Women and Girls (VAWG) than any other source integrated onto the platform. As we begin the first quarter of 2015, there are 50 self-identified Agents of Peace focusing on issues of gender in the NSRP states. As the project has grown, more organizations have stepped forward to be identified through the Observatory. Rivers continues to have the most Agents of Peace, with 17 organizations currently listed.

Violence Affecting Women & Girls: Quarterly Report for Q4 2014

Published November 1, 2014 | By Patricia Taft*

In terms of overall violence, if current trends continue, 2014 is on track to be the worst year since 2009, as measured by both the number of incidents and fatalities. Already it is by far the worst as measured by the number of fatalities. Findings tend to vary, however, by state and by time period, with the Northeast still the most violent region, led by Borno State. With regards to VAWG, the same deterioration can be seen on an annualized basis, with Delta state having the most incidents reported overall and Yobe, the least.

Fragile States Index 2014: The Book

Published June 24, 2014 | By J.J. Messner, Nate Haken, et al.

The Fragile States Index, produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure. By highlighting pertinent issues in weak and failing states, The Fragile States Index—and the social science framework and software application upon which it is built—makes political risk assessment and early warning of conflict accessible to policy-makers and the public at large.

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