East Africa: Building peace
Civil society is crucial to the peaceful development of East Africa, however often it lacks the vital skills and resources to respond to complex and challenging issues. In May, we welcomed 16 individuals from East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Region to Nairobi, Kenya, to participate in a ‘Training for Trainers’ delivered in partnership with Coalition for Peace in Africa (COPA). The training aimed to strengthen the capacity of local individuals and organisations working to transform conflict and build a network committed to building peace and developing the next generation of peace makers.
Violent conflict is prevalent across the areas of East Africa, the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa. In 2012 the region experienced armed violence in Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Somalia. Violent conflict affects all aspects of society, and the propensity of the region to armed violence has resulted in some of the world’s lowest development indicators being found in East Africa.
Civil society has a crucial role to play in building sustainable peace and stability in the region, with the potential to address underlying causes and bring about positive change to transform conflict. However, the process is challenging, requiring in-depth analysis to understand the diverse factors and relationships contributing to conflict and requiring tailor-made strategies to address the identified issues.
In May, 16 peacebuilders from countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya participated in a five day ‘training for trainers’ programme developed to strengthen their capacity to transform conflict and build peace. Participants represented a diverse range of both local and national organisations, as well as government agencies and multilateral institutions such as United Nations Mission Staff.
The training programme provided a space for participants to exchange experiences, knowledge and lessons learnt, creating a platform for dialogue to disseminate learning and identify best practises for addressing local issues. The wide range of participants who attended the workshop allowed a network of committed peace builders to be formed, which will continue to support each other to address conflict in the future. This group will in turn train and develop the next generation of civil society organisations and individuals in East Africa to equip them to build peace.
“The course was significant because it blended theories and experience which to me is key to learning. The course training methodology was unique because it was participatory - whereby the trainers believed in the trainee’s capacity to enrich the learning process.” Course participant
“I can say for sure, adults can learn. At least these adults left when they had learnt something; and committed to change." Course participant
We are confident that this enthusiastic and dedicated group have the skills needed to generate lasting positive change and transform situations of conflict. We will continue to support participants as they put their learning from this training into practice to impact their communities and contribute towards more peaceful societies.