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South Sudan: Women-Led Peace and Prosperity Promotion in and out of PoC in Malakal (W4Ps)

Support enabling processes and initiatives among different communities for peaceful co-existence by empowering women as change agents

Photo of Biruktawit
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Due to the protracted conflict in South Sudan and in Malakal, the lives and livelihoods of communities have been severely disrupted, communities are divided along ethnic lines, social fabric has disintegrated, capacity of local authorities is at its lowest, and this is compounded by high rates of crime and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). This has resulted in a humanitarian and protection crisis (OCHA, 2018). The proposal aims to address the critical constraints of coexistence and provide alternative livelihood options to communities affected by the crisis. This will be achieved by supporting women led processes and initiatives within the different communities to promote peaceful co-existence by empowering women as change agents and influencing relevant stakeholders. Specifically, the project builds on existing community/cultural practices such as ’traditional coffee ceremonies’ and uses this as an opportunity for inter/intra community conversation and interface dialogue. These practices will be a means to boost confidence and trust amongst individuals and communities of different backgrounds and serve as an ice breaker for social reconciliation, cohesion and revitalize the social fabric. Key strategies include: economic and social empowerment of women; building on existing gendered-sensitive cultural practices; embed gender and conflict sensitive programming and integrating with existing Oxfam projects to maximize impact. In addition, the project will adopt sports as a specific tool to engage young girls and boys and promote peace with the aim of achieving social cohesion.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

2500 women, girls and boys will benefit directly and 16,000 men, women, girls and boys (52% female and 48% male) will indirectly benefit from the project intervention (50% living in the Protection of Civilians Camp (POC) and 50% living in Malakal town). Direct beneficiaries will benefit from skills training, IGA programs, be participants/ members of any local institution or group reached through a project activity. Indirect beneficiaries will benefit from relative peace (if achieved), and the subsequent benefits from project activities such as markets revitalization, further livelihood activities and movement of people, goods and services which will reinvigorate the local economy and business.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

For the first time, particularly after the conflict of 2013, we want to give women a central role in peace building, conflict mitigation and grassroot reconciliation initiatives to challenge the status quo. Working with communities in the PoC and town, Oxfam will use conflict sensitivity as an approach to inform programming; recognizing diversity Oxfam will facilitate dialogue between the different ethnic communities. The unique advantages of this project intervention is tapping into traditional practices such as Coffee ceremonies and local games such as “Boruboru and Akuedit/Adiir” (local games for girls and boys) as a means to engage women, and girls in peace dialogues.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

The project implementation and management will be led by the program manager based in the field supported by the technical experts in governance and peace building, gender, protection and EFSL. The senior EFVL technical leads will support field team for designing suitable IGA activities. Two full time project officers will be recruited to ensure effective implementation of the activities.

Expertise in sector

  • 5-7 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Changing the crisis into opportunity by empowering women to build bridges among and between different ethnic groups, enhancing the skill and livelihood opportunities for women and men, and enabling co-existence.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Malakal, Upper Nile, South Sudan has been particularly affected by political unrest, a divide among the elites, intra/inter-tribal conflicts, proliferation of smalls arms and light weapons, weak government, and absence of alternatives to violence, access and control of resources. Peace can be influenced by building bridges between the communities in the PoC and those in Malakal town. Prosperity can be regained by creating or reviving the markets, freedom of movement, investments and infrastructure development, and political unrest. The fighting in South Sudan has led to an acute ethnic division among Shiluk, Dinka and Nuer in Malakal. Due to fear of persecution, the Shiluk and Nuer are confided in the PoC. The PoC is designated area within UN Mission Bases in South Sudan meant to host civilians who fled from their homes.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

The project idea came from Oxfam South Sudan staff in Malakal through community consultations where the underlying challenge on community cohesiveness and trust was highlighted. In addition, the process of engagement will empower women and strengthen community mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution. This project will build and compliment from the learnings of the existing project in the area. One of the key learnings is that achieving resilience outcomes requires multi-sectoral intervention. The contribution will extend to filling the gaps and complimenting the current programme in Malakal. This will help the programme achieve the value for money and maximize impacts.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

There are existing community structures with which the project can work with. Women are perceived less of a threat and have relatively better mobility in the area and are well placed to lead and engage in building bridges among/between ethnic groups- men in the PoC are restricted in movement. There are social and cultural factors that the project will use as a connecting factor to different ethnic group such as games, celebrations, including sharing of resources such as water and pasture.

Geographic Focus

The project will be implemented in Malakal (in the PoC and Town), Upper Nile State, South Sudan.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The project will be implemented for 30 months. In the early months, the project will focus on preliminary works such as an inception workshop, community mobilizations, conduct studies/assessments, mapping community structures and allies, capacity building. Next, the focus will be on rolling out project interventions like coffee ceremonies, dialogues, piloting small business start-up kits, organizing sport/game events, monitoring, mid-term reviews and laying exit strategy.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Melinda Kramer

Thank you for sharing this idea! This is such important work. I'm curious about who will be leading the inception workshops, community mobilizations, studies/assessments, mapping community mapping, and capacity building, as well as whether there will be guidance/facilitation given to the participants who engage in the dialogues once they are developed? Are there women from the community who will be identified as leaders to carry out the program? What has been the community response to this idea thus far, particularly from men? Again, thank you for sharing and for the work you do! Looking forward to learning more!

Photo of Biruktawit

Hello Melinda. Thanks for your enquiry. The inception will be done by Oxfam. The community mobilisations, studies, community mapping, and capacity building will be done with the women groups, leaders and women community structures. Dialogues is happening anyway. But the women needs to included more. They need to be involved more and better than before. Not just as participants but more as leaders too. Oxfam is going to carry out the programme in supporting the women to be active agents of peace through these coffee ceremonies, community dialogues among others. Generally, despite low levels of literacy, the women are already actively accessing and engaging other community members. Guidance and support will be provided to the women to engage in dialogues especially one on mitigating the risks associated with the dialogues or second negative practices that may be associated with the 'coffee celebrations' or dialogues. The women leaders will gain facilitation when needed during the project.