Badya Center: A Model of Successful Civil Society's Peacebuilding Interventions

By: Aisha Braima

KHARTOUM (SUDANOW)—The issues of peaceful coexistence, social peace and resolution of conflicts have posed a formidable challenge to stability and sustainable development in South and West Kordofan which experienced seven years of stability that followed a peace agreement between the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed in Switzerland in 2002, preceding the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
This period of stability did not last long as the war erupted once again and, as a result of this war and the accompanying inter-tribal conflicts which impaired the social fabric, the civil society organizations discerned the risky situation and began probing opportunities of finding a positive intervention for checking the degeneration.
The civil society organization “Badya Center” played a major role of leading the civilians into taking initiatives for tackling the failure which followed the success.
The Director of Programmes and Training of Badya, Mohamed al-Amin Ahmed, spoke in an interview to SUDANOW about the Center and its activities:

Objectives:
Badya Center is a non-profit voluntary organization established in 2000 and operates in Kordofan region in west Sudan, has a liaison office at Khartoum, and is engaged in issues of peace and conflict resolution through a variety of approaches, including training courses, reconciliation conferences, radio programmes, interactive theatre and communal dialogues.
“The Center wishes the peaceful efforts it pursues would lead to sustainable stability and peace in the region,” Ahmed said.

Partners:
The Center seeks to accomplish its mission through extensive partnerships in the Sudan with Kadogly and Al-Foulah radio stations, the Peaceful Reconciliation Mechanism and the ministries of Health and Humanitarian Affairs and at the international level, it has partnerships with Search for Common Ground organization which operates in more than 40 countries, UNDP and UNICEF.

Kadogli Radio premises
Kadogli Radio premises


Methods of Intervention:
The methods of training and intervention include basic workshops in the various aspects relevant to management of conflicts and establishment of the peaceful coexistence for communication of knowledge and conduct to the targeted persons to help them assume their role. The methods also include the interactive theatre which has achieved a remarkable success in conveying the message of peace through three theatrical troupes formed and trained by the Center. Moreover, there are jointly radio programmes with the local radio stations, including “A Voice Calling” programme in West Kordofan, “The March” and “Let the Youths Talk” programmes. The methods also include joint activities with the reconciliation mechanism in South Kordofan and with the universities of Dilling and al-Salam (Peace), in addition to a partnership at the technical cooperation level in a number of projects. Furthermore, direct services, such as drilling of water wells, maintenance of hospitals and police centers are provided in addition to assistance of the community in the water management.
“We do not forsake the trainees or the targeted people after the workshop but, instead, we have plans and programmes through which the instructors contribute to peace-building in the region and present the Center with a number of initiatives. The Center has a specific training course on how to handle and resolve conflicts, build peace and transfer the conflict from risk to peace in addition to finding common denominators between the parties to the conflict and bridging the gap between them, employing the relationship between the Center and the local people” Ahmed said.
He said this method proved viable and was highly welcomed by the native administration, the youths, the main government institutions and the University of al-Salam (Peace). They recommended it as a model for training on how to deal with conflicts in the region, Ahmed added.
“During the process of selecting the trainees, we take care that they are representing all components of the community and we make sure that the government institutions, native administration and local committees are represented during the selection process in addition to taking part in our activities and programmes,” Ahmed said.
However, he said they emphasize on women for their basic contribution to peace and also on the youths because they are “a driving force.”
Farming in South Kordofan
Farming in South Kordofan


Success stories:
Highlighting the most remarkable feats of the Center, Ahmed said: “In the past period, we have prepared a document for coexistence between the Messairia and Dinka Malwal tribes and have convened an important reconciliation conference for the western nomadic route extending from Mairam to Aweil. This area now enjoys peace and coexistence.”
He added that the Center has conducted a number of interventions by narrowing gaps between conflicting parties for reaching peace. “The Center played a major role in addressing the conflicts between Al-Ziyood and Awlad Umran (Messairia tribe’s clans) in West Kordofan and supported a successful initiative of mediation between the Ajayrah and Falaytah tribes. The latest and still being carried out is a project in Kailuk region between the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programme,” Badya official said.
“There are numerous stories of success including the amazing stability which has occurred in Abu Jazoak and Al-Sinoot region with the help of radio programmes. And in response to the latest radio programme, the inhabitants of Arak region formed a committee for management of the water resources. We can say that we have scored a remarkable success in establishing communication with the communities and in persuading the people to come to our offices in great numbers,” said Badya official.
To sum up, the accomplishments to which Badya and other partners have contributed include consciousness of the importance of peace and tolerance, said Badyah official. He cited a general tendency for peaceful resolution of conflicts on the part of the native administration which, according to Ahmed, exerts a tremendous role in this regard, and equally on the part of the youths and women.

Traditional wreslting in South Kordofan
Traditional wreslting in South Kordofan

“The government authorities began to interact in a positive way with the peace tendencies and to appreciate the nature of conflicts in the region and began to intervene in accordance with the general tendency for peace. We believe that the existing conflict can be resolved through well-planned interventions, considering the existence of a good chance of transforming the people of West Kordofan from the war conditions to status of reconciliation and peace,” said Badyah official.

Challenges:
One of the most formidable challenges facing the Center is posed by the conflicts and their recurrence, something which hinders the progress and development in the states, said Ahmed. Another challenge is placed by the vastness of Kordofan states, a matter which, according to the official, impedes the process of contacting the people for delivering the message of peace and forgiveness and the means of bringing about a positive change of the community through an objective communal dialogue.
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MAS/ AS

Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...

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