In rural societies, particularly amongst pastoralist groups in Sudan, women and youths are traditionally excluded from formal decision-making forums. This often leads to them being prevented from contributing to community solutions, and in the context of conflict this can worsen the situation.
Through extensive community consultations, and from our experience of running conflict prevent programmes in Kordofan in Sudan, SOS Sahel understands that women and youths have a strong influence in conflict situations: they can escalate tensions or help to resolve them. Since traditional conflict resolution mechanisms are restricted to male elders, we have begun working with young men from pastoral communities to help involve them in peace building. We are also training unemployed youths from farming communities in the construction of sand dams and plan to extend this to include disaffected ex-combatants from pastoralist groups.
- Establishing youth committees in pastoralist dry season camps (masayf) in South Kordofan; engaging young men in development planning within their communities’ own decision-making processes.
- Training youth committees in organisational management, conflict mediation techniques and methods to ensure good representation.
- Facilitating exchange visits for young men and women from pastoralist and farming groups in South Kordofan to the (relatively stable) town of El Obeid in North Kordofan to learn how local associations there are helping to build stronger communities.
- Assisting women and youth committees in becoming formally registered in Muglad and Abyei Locality in South Kordofan.
- Facilitating an international exchange visit to Northern Kenya for women and youths to meet with Kenyan NGOs and community organisations and specifically learn from their use and management of water at community level in dryland areas.
- Training eight apprentices from Damba village in Kadugli, South Kordofan, in the construction of sand dams. Such vocational skills are key in offering youths an alternative livelihood to guns or violence.
Mohammed Elobeid, the head of the Youth Committee at Abu Safifa camp near Kadugli, told us recently how his group has put into practice their mediation training by helping the Native Administration (traditional leaders) to resolve local conflicts and avoid recourse to the use of guns or to formal courts of arbitration.
- Women & Youth Committees of South Kordofan
- Centre for Peace Studies at Dilling University, South Kordofan