The Challenge within the Challenged Conflict Settings

01 Dec 2013

imageAgainst all odds- working in a challenged environment despite tough security conditions and harsh climate, Valentina still enjoys her work in the DCSPSF intervened communities- Photograph by Valentina Di Girolamo © INTERSOS

The daily security advisories, sounds of radio checks, news of aid workers or peace keepers under attack is something you hear quiet often in the conflict ridden Darfur. The life inside for an aid worker itself is a challenge in the conflict which is intensive care towards peace and stability. The years 2012-13 proved to be toughest in the quest to bring peace. Though the security measures and protocols still falls in the category, in which aid workers can perform their duties and programmatic interventions can take place. Under these circumstances, extreme care at every step and corner is needed on travel routes. Carjacking for 4x4 vehicles, kidnapping of the aid workers, armed conflicts resulting in injuries and even death are evident on the security threats radar.  There are no two opinions about DCPSF interventions and the success achieved so far. Despite of tough security situation and access, DCPSF managed to achieve 14 out of 17 milestones defined for 2012 and went significantly beyond 6 of the defined milestones. The project is heading towards end of 2013 and the success rate is even greater than the preceding year.

More than two dozen I/NGO are working in the region and they all are tied to a common thread of results versus challenges in their everyday life. Even the procedures and programmatic interventions pass through series of process that delays or create time gaps in the projected way forward.

Valentina an international project specialist for INTERSOS NGO is one of the harbingers of change in the peace building initiatives of DCPSF. At a very young age, the determined aid worker is serving in the hard climate which can reach to 52C in summers. Due to power cuts and electricity shortage, the challenge of generator produced electricity is costly and staffs like her prioritize its usage for programmatic usage and voluntarily sacrifice their own personal comfort by avoiding usage of electricity. “Every day there are different logistic challenges to be faced in the field bases. Cars get damaged for the poor condition of the roads; during the rainy season access to some areas is severely limited; weak network connections make communication harder and slower; generators and computers break down because of the hot temperatures, dust and dirt” said Valentina. “Every inconvenience turns a very simple activity in a hard operation itself requiring the maximum effort of coordination and problem solving. Luckily enough all these common challenges also result in an even stronger team throughout all the areas where our staff is deployed. There the motivation to make a change can reach the most remote rural area where people actually face what are the real challenges.” She further added.

In 2012, nighty eight (98) income-generation activities were supported by DCPSF that included different groups, such as women, youth and various tribes.  A sampled 92 percent of community members responded that trust and confidence was restored in the communities where the DCPSF projects were operating.  Despite of the increasing overall intensity of conflicts and security incidents in 2012, sample survey and reports from 21 ongoing projects, 2012 indicates that the communities with the DCPSF strengthened their resilience to conflicts and enjoyed peace and stability where activities promoting early recovery could take place.

More than 146,500 people have used the community-based conflict resolution mechanisms benefited directly and some 2,425,620 people benefitted indirectly in which the efforts spread to some 160 communities in 2012. Over 80 percent of sampled Darfuris responded that they are satisfied with reconciliation mechanisms, experiencing increased levels of peace and stability. DCPSF has supported 61 educational and 7 health initiatives. Forty-five (45) civil society organizations (CSOs) improved planning, conflict sensitivity and peace building activities. Through DCPSF, 25,302 children were newly enrolled in schools in Darfur and 109 water sources including boreholes, hand pumps, wells, and hafirs through consultative processes.

In spite of the challenged zone threats and risk, aid workers (whether national or international) seem in great Spirit and the effects of DCPSF are trickling down in the communities and making roots in the masses. At this delicate stage, resource mobilization and continuation of funds is significant.  Despite of momentous amount of achievements, success requires a continuation of resources for certain period of time so that the communities can be brought back to pre-conflict situation.

Representing World Relief (INGO) Mr. Stevenson stated “In the past, we were proving services to the conflict effected in such a vast and diverse land with complex emergency situation, but this is the first time that we are providing a peace message through DCPSF multidimensional intervention in livelihood, health, income generation etc. through peace building, conflict resolution as a core and embedded initiative.” said Stevenson representing World Relief (INGO).