Search for Common Ground Nepal, as part of the Singha Durbar Project released six different Issue Papers based on the policy driven initiatives in the country. Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya and Purusottam Nepal, Secretary and Joint Secretary of Secretary of Ministry of Federal Affair and Local Development (MoFALD) along with Sumitra Manandhar, Democracy and Governance Specialist of USAID, jointly showcased the six Issue Papers and released it formally.
Releasing the Issue Papers, Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, Secretary of Ministry of Federal Affair and Local Development (MoFALD), said, “These Policy driven Issue Papers are very helpful in the new federal structure,” adding, “These papers can support in the local development of the Provinces as they can formulate laws and policies on their own.”
Between May 2016 and September 2017, Search for Common Ground (Search), in partnership with Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) implemented a regional project targeting small cross-border traders operating on the Goma/Gisenyi and Bukavu/Rusizi borders. The overall aim of this project was to support peace through economic development and improved citizen-government relations in the area of cross-border trade (CBT), contributing to enhanced confidence in traded goods and services between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Relations between petty-traders and border officials dramatically improved in Rwanda, and improved to a lesser extent in the DRC. 74% of the surveyed petty traders reported a straightforward improvement in their relations with the Rwandan border officials and a greater ease to cross the border with their goods on the Rwandan side; on the Congolese side only 43% of respondents claimed that the situation improved, while 44% said that there was no change. For both sides the project has resulted in a behavioral change at the border points, where customs officers and border officials are treating petty traders with more respect and are more willing to respond to their questions regarding taxes and regulations. The awareness-raising component of the project obtained very positive results. The local radios reported having reached the project target audience (petty traders, border officials…) and reported knowledge on CBT has improved among that group. The microcredit program set up by Search in collaboration with three local civil society partners has been particularly successful in Bukavu, where the beneficiaries were not only able to pay back their loans before the required deadline, but were also able to generate revenue from it. To maintain the positive effects of this project, one of the main recommendations is to encourage and support the establishment of traders associations and cooperatives with few barriers to entry.
This Guide is intended to improve the practice of inter-religious action for peace, by encouraging the regular application of monitoring and evaluation tools. We assume that when practitioners of inter-religious peacebuilding use monitoring and evaluation processes for learning, improvements in effectiveness will follow. There is a large and expanding body of guidance for monitoring and evaluation in many realms. However, there has not been a guide specifically oriented to the needs of those engaging religious actors. This Guide seeks to fill that gap.
The project “Engaging Youth and Community Leaders to Prevent Mass Atrocities in the Central African Republic” is operating in a context where conflicts are fueled by political manipulation along ethno-religious lines. Search, with funding from the bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO), has therefore proposed a 12-month program to prevent high-risk atrocities between Muslims and Christians in the PK5 and its surrounding areas in Bangui.
The objective of this conflict scan is to ensure the project’s conflict sensitivity and the respect of the Do No Harm principle through an updated comprehension of the main conflicts dynamics in the project’s implementation areas in Bangui (Fatime, Miskine, Yakité, and PK5). The report shows the absence – in the respondents’ answers – of the Séléka and Anti Balaka as principal actors of conflicts. Participants are now mentioning the local level conflicts more than the crisis of 2013. Indeed, the analysis revealed that the main issues leading to conflicts within the population are related to access to services (including electricity, water and waste management issues), domestic conflicts, power dynamics, political conflicts (with an ethnic component), and to some extent to religious discrimination. Simultaneously, there is another type of land conflict increasing within the Muslim community between the current inhabitants of PK5 and the displaced people coming back after the crisis. The conflicts related to access to services, power dynamics and domestic issues have the highest risk and degree of violence, but conflicts related to land disputes, religious discrimination, and politics are volatile conflicts that stir up tension and could cause national and regional explosions of violence. Among other recommendations, the report highly advises to coordinate with community leaders, local authorities, and other NGOs intervening in the sector of social cohesion to organize “Town hall meetings” in order to find inclusive solutions to local problems.