Collaborative for Peace, Sudan

Preventing violence at a local level

Project overview

Sudan’s 21-year civil war left two million people dead and split the country in two. The war ended in 2005 but peace remains fragile, especially after the South became independent in July 2011.

Weapons are everywhere in the countryside and tribal battles occur with frightening regularity. For example, early in 2010 a simple dispute over water erupted into all-out warfare and left 23 young men dead. As political tensions fire up new disputes, the threat of a return to war cannot be ignored.

The Collaborative for Peace has works to help tribes and communities move away from violence. They work right at the heart of local communities with tribal elders, community leaders, women and young people, to find ways to respond to conflict without violence.

The Collaborative was set up in 2006, to support the Sudanese peace process. They have established four peace committees to mediate before violence erupts whilst building relationships with large international oil companies and the government. In December 2010 the Collaborative was asked by the government to be the voice of civil society in negotiations to improve transparency with oil companies. Their influence and their impact is increasing. The Collaborative is on their way to becoming a significant force in defending the fragile peace Sudan is struggling to build.

Making an impact

The Collaborative have set up peace committees at the local level. These are made up of elected representatives of the surrounding communities. Their doors are open to everyone, regardless of political or tribal affiliation, and they work with communities to mediate in disputes and stop them from erupting into large-scale violence. They deal with long term disputes as well as rapid response cases.

The disputes they deal with are life threatening, last year a young man came to them as his tribe had bought 40 weapons, ready to go to war with a neighbouring tribe. The committee successfully found a peaceful resolution, just one of the 35 conflicts they resolved last year.

We had forgotten what our children’s smiles looked like, but you have given them their smiles back – thank you. - Mariam, local woman, Sudan

In April 2010 the peace committee intervened in a five-year-long conflict that had overshadowed nine communities – 5,000 people. Fierce fighting between armed tribes meant simple acts like farming land or fetching water became near impossible under the constant threat of attack, doctors could not reach the area and medicine could not get in. But ever since the Collaborative managed to negotiate a reconciliation, people can fetch water in safety and farm without fear of the next attack. People have begun to trade, doctors and teachers are returning to the area. The intervention cost just £2,000 – about 40p for each of the 5,000 people in the communities.Read more here

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