“I am from South Kordofan”: Peace Ambassadors Spread the Message
Khartoum - The Sudan DDR Commission (SDDRC) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme has implemented a large-scale peace building project in both Khartoum and five localities in South Kordofan State, which aimed to provide a broad radio sensitization and outreach campaign to a populace which very much needs to hear it.
The initiative was implemented through UNDP’s Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programme in conjunction with the Joint IOM/UNDP Conflict Reduction Programme (JCRP). Through the national NGO SUDIA Sudanese Development Initiative, ten “Peace Ambassadors” from South Kordofan were pre-selected from a previous JCRP project to help disseminate messages of reconciliation and the repudiation of violence and the dangers of small arms and light weapons (SALW).
On August 28th 2012, Sudia organized a cultural event at Ahfad University in Khartoum. Under the slogan “Mobilize Efforts for Peace”, artists, writers, activists and community member came together to share musical and theatrical performances and poetry, to call for peace and development.
Yahaya Fadallah, a poet and writer stated before reciting his work before the rapt audience, “I am happy today, in this event I can see and can hear people support the peace for South Kordofan communities. Actually maybe some people do not know exactly what is happening on the ground, but who saw and witnessed the suffering and horrors of war every single minute is dreaming of peace. I am saying this because I have seen all that and I am from South Kordofan”.
In South Kordofan, outreach activities included theatre, community radio, and focus group discussions designed for more community engagement to drum up support for peace among local people in state. Sifat Abdallah, one of the peace ambassadors remarked, “Despite the difficulties of the situations we might face, I would like to show my commitment to work with communities to translate learnt skills into efforts for peace message dissemination and enhancing the concept of a peace culture.”
For Reem Al-Douri, Sudia’s project manager, this project is about encouraging hope: “The project has conducted activities in five communities [in South Kordofan] and disseminated peace messages and made good interactions with the communities there, as they are encouraging hope and peace to happen.”
She added, “Radio materials are now prepared in very close consultation with peace ambassadors and community members and the DDR Commission from the state, as this local culture and folklore of the communities which will be even more important as tools for peace message dissemination”.
The project is made possible through the generous support of the Government of Norway, the Government of Japan and the European Union.