Agents of Peace: Hakamat Women in North Darfur Promote Peaceful Coexistence in the State

Oct 18, 2017

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On 18 October 2017, 40 Hakamats and 10 key influential community leaders and representatives from the Native Administrators in North Darfur participated in a two-day community outreach peace forum organized by UNDP in collaboration with UNAMID Civil Affairs Section and the Al Tawaf Al Raheel Nomadic Organization.

The forum aimed at strengthening the role of “Hakamats” in peaceful coexistence and social cohesion in North Darfur by promoting the culture of peace, enhancing the mediation of intercommunal disputes, intensifying communal dialogue through the active engagement of women in general and Hakamats in particular.

The Hakamats, women who traditionally chant songs instigating and inciting tribal war leaders to fight in the frontlines were trained, through this forum, ways to propagate peace messages by composing and singing peace songs whilst engaging and promoting other peace building initiatives in their communities instead of singing war songs.

The community outreach forum also aimed at enhancing and promoting gender mainstreaming in peace building initiatives and conflict resolution through involving Hakamat in mediation and peace talks.

Addressing the opening session, the Director Genera for the Ministry of Social Affairs commended the role of the Hakamats in achieving peace through songs of peace and raising awareness of the importance of peaceful co-existence among their communities as well as discarding the spirit of hatred and the call for war.

One of the Hakamats, Bakhita Musa, remarked at the closing of the workshop, “This workshop really provided me with so many useful insights especially on the role of women in peace building and how violence against women must end. We the Hakamats call for all these virtues in our songs.” Bakhita then sang a new song composed especially for the day for the audience where in an expressive voice chanting entitled “Peace Breeze is coming, put the gun down”.

At the end of the workshop the Hakamats and the traditional leadership agreed on a 10 point recommendation to prevent and resolve inter-communal conflicts and to address the roots causes of conflicts in North Darfur. In addition, a strategy for promoting peaceful coexistence and conflict prevention through traditional conflict resolution mechanisms was established with the aim of encouraging women-led initiatives in North Darfur.

Hakamat Singing 3Hakamats sings for peace and social cohesion, North Darfur - Sudan by UNDP

The Government of North Darfur State, represented by the Minister of Information and Culture applauded the initiative and assured of the commitment of Government in supporting the implementation of the recommendations by creating an enabling environment, reducing violence through disarmament, strengthening the rule of law and justice institutions, enforcing narcotic control and supporting women to play a leading role in local peace initiatives.

The forum was organized under the Promotion of Sustainable Return and Reintegration of IDPS and Refugees in Darfur Project (PSRRP); which is one of the 12 Foundational and Short Term (FaST) activities, funded by the Qatar Fund for Development (QFD) through the United Nations Darfur Fund (UNDF) under the Darfur Development Strategy (DDS). 

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