The work of the Collaborative for Peace in Sudan (CfPS) involves local groups working for peace across the country, our local correspondent for Sudan, shares stories of their success.
Sheikh Hummaidah lives in La-yoonah village, some 3 kilometres from Geissan in Blue Nile State. His son was killed in a conflict( 2 herders courel over animal) between the tribe of Arab herders he belonged and the Ingasana - a Blue Nile tribe of non-Arab origin. Considering it an insult to their dignity, his tribe rejected an offer of diyyah (blood money) from the Ingasana and insisted on taking revenge.
But Sheikh Hummaidah is a member of the peace committee, elected following a peace building seminar organised by CfPS, and despite the loss of his son, rejected the attitude of his tribe. Instead he chose to move away so that his tribe would be unable to use his tragedy as an excuse to attack other tribes. The Sheikh moved to a village far away, set up his tents and found work in Damazin, capital of Blue Nile State. He bought a plot of land and started farming, beginning a new home for his family to live in peace. The Sheikh’s family now even includes an orphaned boy from the Ingasana, whom they have adopted.
The week before CfPS organised a peacebuilding seminar in Damazin, two of the people invited to participate, Daniel and Abdul Hakam, began a conflict over a religious issues. Both defended their views very strongly, as militant Muslims and Christians do; and they started to fight. On day two of the seminar, participants were randomly divided into groups, with Daniel and Abdul Hakam finding themselves separated. Daniel insisted on joining Abdul Hakam, telling the group that ‘because we had a conflict, I want everyone to know that we can work together in peace in one group and that our different religious beliefs will not be a cause for difference and conflict. Everyone can keep their beliefs but agree on the fact that peace is in the interest of all’.
In Dalanj, a group of women came together to found a charitable society, funded through a system they call ‘sillu guinea’ (literally, ‘cough up one pound’). Each member pays a small sum of money each week into a collective fund which is used to promote peace and reconciliation in the region. For example, they provided food for a delegation sent to resolve a conflict between the Ghulfan and Sibairah, and they have shared in payment of diyyah to victims families.
These women were invited to a seminar CfPS held in Dalanj. After the seminar, they expressed their desire to have their society become a member of CfPS and requested CfPS help them meet with ‘their sisters’ from the south, east and west of Sudan; to share experiences and views of peacebuilding in Sudan.
These women have jobs and are married with children. Most are unbelievably poor. But they believe that even the small contributions they can make, achieves real change. They have never received funding from anyone other than their members, and they have no desire to apply for funds that the larger NGOs compete for, instead they dream of someone to match the few pounds they contribute out of their own pockets, to change their tens into hundreds.
CfPS sees the potential of helping women who can use just a few pounds to do something amazing. CfPS is supporting these women of Dalanj to fund small income generating projects in members homes, securing a steady stream of income for themselves and their organisation, expanding the benefit for their small community.