Peace Ambassadors Forum

The UNDP-IOM Joint Conflict Reduction Programme, funded by the EU, aims to develop the capacities of government institutions and communities to resolve conflicts at the local level, and to strengthen community resilience to foster social cohesion, peace, and pluralism in the Sudanese regions bordering South Sudan. As part of these efforts, JCRP has been working with Peace Ambassadors in Blue Nile State, West and South Kordofan States, and Abyei Area since 2011.

Peace Ambassadors are committed individuals working with the State peacebuilding mechanisms in carrying out important peacebuilding activities at the community level, such as supporting peace processes and mediating between conflicting parties. JCRP focuses on strengthening the technical capacities of the Peace Ambassadors, e.g. by providing training on natural resource management, conflict analysis and  peaceful co-existence.

JCRP is also supporting networks among the Peace Ambassadors in and across States to share experiences and learn from each other.

On March 2015, JCRP invited all 82 Peace Ambassadors to Khartoum to  provide them with an opportunity to meet  their colleagues from other localities and States and  to exchange ideas on peace building initiatives.

During the three-day event, the Peace Ambassadors actively discussed their experiences and debated the roles and qualities of a good Peace Ambassador. 

Stimulated by various  inputs from five IGNITE speakers, who presented their experiences of working for VetCare, Siama Center, Turning Tables, NafeerSudapedia, the Peace Ambassadors discussed challenges and ways forward to promote peace in their communities.

Inspired by international guest speakers from ELVA and Sisi ni Amani, participants debated how innovative methodologies for peace building could be applied in Sudan. Discussions focused on the use of mobile technology to spread peace messages, potential of using SMS-based information-sharing systems in conflict-affected areas, and the use of foresighting for dialogue and peace building.

The Forum ended with the launch of the , the Sudan Community Peacebuilding Fund, a joint initiative between JCRP and the Peace Research Institute of the University of Khartoum. This fund will financially and technically support the implementation of innovative peacebuilding projects by the Peace Ambassadors.

The ideas developed by the Peace Ambassadors embrace the inclusion of learning modules on peace and peaceful co-existence into the curricula of the primary schools in Lagawa and Elsalalam (West Kordofan), the organization of an intra-tribal dialogue within the Misseriya tribe in Diffra (Abyei Area) and the organisation of cultural events to strengthen social linkages and re-establish traditional conflict resolution mechanisms in Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

The project ideas will be evaluated and chosen in April and the  implementation will commence in June.

During the forum, JCRP also presented its concept of an Online Gamified Dialogue Platform, which will be launched in the coming months. This gamified platform will provide a forum for all Peace Ambassadors to exchange ideas and to learn from each other and other peacebuilding stakeholders.

All participants found the forum to be an extremely enjoyable and productive experience. While the overall Forum was lauded as an important opportunity to network and share ideas and plans, the social gatherings around the Forum were appreciated as more informal spaces to exchange experiences.

Moreover, the Forum presented a  unique opportunity for the JCRP team and partners to meet the Peace Ambassadors in person and get a better understanding of their work, the challenges they face and how to identify opportunities to better support them. All participants expressed their wish for a next gathering, which JCRP is planning to conduct during the second half of the year. In the meantime JCRP will explore ideas on how to better link the Peace Ambassadors with other peacebuilding stakeholders and initiatives in the States, such as local peace committees and state-level government institutions. 

Thus, peace by peace, the peacebuilding infrastructure in Sudan is growing! If you want to learn more and follow the work of the Peace Ambassadors, join the Facebook group.