International Day of Peace: the role of local-level peacebuilding to sustain peace in South Sudan

 

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Women representatives of United Church Women’s Association in Maar celebrate the success of their peacebuilding and agricultural training projects in 2017. Photo Credit:Tom Price/Tearfund

 

On International Day of Peace, Sini Maria Heikkila (Tearfund’s Humanitarian Policy Officer) discusses the role of local-level peacebuilding for delivering sustained peace in South Sudan.  

On Wednesday 12th September, parties to the conflict in South Sudan signed a peace agreement in Addis Ababa. The agreement provides a new opportunity to end an armed conflict which has devastated the lives of millions since its eruption in December 2013.

In addition to the implementation of the high-level peace agreement, grassroot peacebuilding remains critical; it can create political and social space within communities which helps to create fertile ground for lasting peace. Despite this, support for grassroots peacebuilding is often lacking and much of the funding allocated to support local level peacebuilding initiatives tends to be short-term.

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Supporting local aid workers this World Humanitarian Day

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A local humanitarian aid worker from the Anglican Diocese of Matana, a Tearfund local partner, records information about the villagers’ health and nutritional status as part of a food security and nutrition project in Songa, Burundi in February 2018

 

Asha Kurien, Tearfund’s Humanitarian Policy Officer, shares why supporting local humanitarian workers is key this World Humanitarian Day.

This Sunday – 19 August – we remember the lives and contribution of individuals who risk their lives to provide humanitarian aid. World Humanitarian Day was established by the UN after the attack on their headquarters on 19 August 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq. 22 humanitarian aid workers died that day.

And sadly, year after year, attacks on aid workers and civilians in humanitarian contexts have continued to escalate. In 2017, at least 313 aid workers were victims of violent acts. Of these, 154 worked for local or national organisations. Tearfund is committed to enabling a more locally led humanitarian response worldwide and is a signatory to the Charter for Change. The Charter for Change is a series of eight commitments to enable local humanitarian actors to play an increased and more prominent role in humanitarian response. To date, 34 International NGOs have signed up to and over 200 local and national organisations have endorsed these commitments, seeking to improve the capacity of local humanitarian workers to operate safely and securely in their contexts. [Read more…]

Churches push for peace in war-torn South Sudan

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Bishop Arkangelo from the Africa Inland Church speaks on the role of the church in peace building in South Sudan

 

This week the warring parties in South Sudan, together with international community and civil society organisations, will gather at the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) in Addis Ababa to find ways to bring peace and cease hostilities in South Sudan. Ahead of this gathering, Tearfund East Africa Humanitarian Policy Officer, Sini Maria Heikkila, discusses the role of the church in bringing peace.

Conflict has devastated the lives of millions in the world’s newest state since December 2013. More than four million people have been forced to flee their homes. The brunt of the conflict is born by women and children and UNICEF has estimated that 86% of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are women and children. 

The third meeting of the HLRF in May – the regional peace process led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development – provides a unique opportunity to achieve an inclusive and lasting peace agreement. In the middle of the conflict, the churches have a key role to play in waging peace and bringing communities together. For instance, Tearfund’s experience shows that generally all churches come together in an ecumenical spirit to promote peace and to work both for development of livelihoods and for spiritual growth. Thus, ensuring that the voice of church is heard in any peace negotiations, including HLRF, remains of utmost importance. [Read more…]