From Diffa to Paris: A young teacher’s rise to global activist

On a hot, dry Thursday morning a young teacher and Master’s student, Abdoul Karim Amadou Maman, walked out of his house in Niamey, Niger and made his way to a training for young leaders. Walking into the session, he had no idea his life was about to change forever.

Our Country Our Home: How a Burundian Priest is Advocating for Peace

As a Pentecostal priest in Burundi, Sebastien believed that his job was to guide the spiritual life of the community, without meddling with politics. When turmoil swept the country after the 2015 elections, he faced a heart-wrenching dilemma. His choice wound up saving a life—and forever changing his own.

Conflict Scan – Engaging Youth and Community Leaders to Prevent Mass Atrocities in CAR – December 2016

The project “Engaging Youth and Community Leaders to Prevent Mass Atrocities in Central African Republic” is operating in a context where conflicts are fueled by ethno-religious divisions, materializing in clashes between the pro-Muslim Ex-Seleka and the pro-Christians Anti-Balaka. SFCG, with funding from the bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO), is implementing a 12-month program to prevent high-risk atrocities between Muslims and Christians in PK5 (a neighborhood at high-risk for violence in the capital) and its surrounding areas. In this framework, SFCG carries out bi-annual conflict scans using a qualitative approach with surveys and focus groups. The scans identify important developments in the conflict that may impact the project implementation.

97% of those interviewed said violence had decreased in the two months preceding the survey. Participants explained that this does not mean that there is no violence and that the conflict is over; however, 40% of respondents report not knowing about existing conflict in their communities. This study shows that the major conflicts affecting CAR are fluid, and the population has a tendency to minimize or to not distinguish between them. The concept of “inter-community conflict” is highly represented during discussions, but the division lines identified are most often religious (Christians/Muslims – 29%) and/or related to economic and power inequality (28%). Despite the focus on religious and economic divisions, participants rank political conflicts (51%) as the most high-risk for the future, and the tensions linked to land issues have also been highlighted as factors that could potentially escalate the situation toward violent conflict.

Nimule Conflict and Leadership Mapping Report – Together We Can: Supporting Local Peace Efforts in Nimule – November 2016

“Together We Can Supporting Local Peace Efforts in Nimule” was implemented by Search for Common Ground (SFCG) in South Sudan with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This 6-month project was an extension of a pilot project implemented in Magwi county in 2015 which aimed to to promote peaceful coexistence between divided communities of the Acholi, and Ma’di. As part of the extension, the project focused on strengthening its peace building activities in Magwi, and Pageri administrative areas; consolidating results achieved in the first phase. The second phase of the project included Nimule as an additional project site. As part of this project, SFCG conducted qualitative conflict and leadership mapping research in Nimule to identify the key stakeholders, leadership structures, and the social environment of the communities. This research aimed to identify the conflict drivers, unifiers, and existing opportunities for non-violent modes of conflict resolution among the returnees, host community, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and the general population in Nimule. Key conflicts identified were those related to land, animal and wildlife management, and natural resources, among others. Cultural festivals, financial institutions and religious gatherings were among the unifiers identified during the research. Media mapping revealed diverse media channels with some communities struggling with access due to language barriers (especially the Dinka). The mapping revealed strong working relationships between most of the government departments, but not all (for example, between the Chiefs and police).

Our 2017 Board of Directors

We are pleased to announce the 2017 members of our Board of Directors.

Final evaluation – Dec 2015 – From Knowledge to Action: Supporting Women as Credible Leaders in Ivorian Reconciliation

As part of the national reconciliation process in Cote d’Ivoire, SFCG conducted the project “From Knowledge to Action: Supporting Women as Credible Leaders in Ivorian Reconciliation” in 2013-2015, funded by the US State Department. The overall goal was to strengthen women’s participation in the reconciliation process and to guide them to be peace and conflict prevention actors at the community level. The project was conducted in partnership with 14 women’s associations from 7 localities of Cote d’Ivoire.

An external evaluation was carried out and it found the project effective including key findings such as increased involvement of women leaders and associations in local decision-making process. Women leaders’ voices were found to more often be taken into account by local authorities and the project significantly contributed to enhance the image of women leaders in the decision-making process within their communities. However, the evaluation also confirmed that project has sustainability issues in the medium/ long term due to e.g. absence of formal frameworks for cooperation and consultation between women’s groups and local authorities as well as financial vulnerability of women’s associations. Further, though 100% of women´s associations increased their level of formalization and functioning, 90% of the members interviewed stated that they were in need of additional training on similar topics.

“Positive Leadership Need of the Hour”

This article originally appeared in the print edition of The Himalayan Times on 12/16/2015. KATHMANDU: “Lincoln has said democracy is for the people, by the people and of the people whereas in Nepal our democracy is far the people, buy the people and off the people. Because of […]