Sudan’s 21-year civil war left two million people dead and split the country in two. Weapons are everywhere in the countryside and inter-communal battles occur with frightening regularity.
Simple disputes over water rights, farmland or cattle theft can leave scores dead and breed local hostilities with wider implications.
To stop such grassroots conflicts in often remote locations, we have been supporting a rapid response operation by the Collaborative for Peace in Sudan (CfPS). It rests on a network of village Peace Committees operating across South and West Kordofan that can mobilise entire communities to watch for trouble and defuse it. Committees are elected villagers, bringing together tribal elders, community leaders, women and young people.
In 2014, with funds from the UK’s Department for International Development, Peace Direct supported CfPS to provide assistance to Peace Committees that intervened in 14 local conflicts affecting 9,700 people. 11 of the 14 conflicts involved killings, while eight expanded to embroil other communities. In half of these interventions, the Peace Committees felt that the conflicts had been resolved as a result of their intervention, and in the other half they felt it had been partially resolved.