South Kordofan: Towards new prospects of peace and development
South Kordofan State is at a crossroads in several senses, one of the best ways to ensure it takes the path of peace, development, and prosperity is to work with its population as the true drivers for the needed change in the state.
The state was hardly hit by the 21-year conflict which terribly affected its intricate social fabric and demolished its infrastructure. Despite continued conflict, UNDP and partners have been steadily helping communities in South Kordofan since 2006 to consolidate peace, build existing capacities and help rebuild rule of law institutions.
One of the key development interventions in the state is supporting grassroots Justice and Confidence Centres (JCC) that inform the population of their rights, and offer free legal aid and mediation services to those in need.
Most beneficiaries are women and children, with the majority of cases involving civil, criminal, family and land-related issues.
Currently, there is one JCC in the capital Kadugli and two others in Dilling and Lagawa. The centres are staffed by more than 80 paralegals from the community who have received training in human rights, legal aid issues and conflict resolution through UNDP.
The community-based organization of paralegals is made up of respected members of society including teachers, community and youth leaders, emirs and omdas. In the last few years the paralegals have successfully concluded more than 150 court cases and an equal number of out-of-court mediation cases.
The centres have also carried out awareness-raising activities in 40 villages to inform communities of their legal rights and assistance.
Equally, UNDP is involved in rebuilding the institutional and human resources capacity in South Korodfan.. One key contribution to this effort is the recent inauguration of the Kadugli Civil Service Development Centre; which by 2016, is expected to provide training to 20,000 civil servants from South Kordofan and states of the region. The center is expected to provide thematic, targeted trainings, institutional and management advisory support and research services. Though its key clients will be civil service institutions and local Government, civil society organizations, the private sector and individuals will also be able to use the training facilities.
Other development efforts in the state include the Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration (DDR) Programme which is a joint effort between UNDP and the Government of Sudan targeting ex-combatants to support reconciliation by providing training in food processing, tailoring, carpentry and auto-maintenance for 110 community members.
Another important element to the work which UNDP’s is doing in South Kordofan is the work carried out by the Joint Conflict programme (JCRP) which has started back in 2009. JRCP works at the prevention and resolution of local conflicts in the state , in partnership with the Reconciliation and Peaceful Coexistence Mechanism (RPCM), a state-level conflict management body.
JCRP is particularly involved in strengthening peace building capacities within the communities through establishment and support of Peace Ambassadors Network. In addition, JCRP works with women leaders and opinion makers such as teachers, Hakamas to promote peace culture through their circle of influence.