Derange is a junction point for nomadic pastoralists from different ethnic groups in Blue Nile state, who migrate through the landscape on a seasonal basis. During rainy season, large number of cattle come to the area for grazing. Additionally, the area hosts different agriculture schemes owned by individuals, big companies as well as small farmers. As a result, the area becomes narrow for the huge number of cattle moving around, causing farm destruction and thus leading to conflict between farmers and pastoralists. Derange is also characterized by carom mining which is dominated by a few cooperative committees. When individual youth or woman come to practice artisan mining, they face objections from members of the cooperative committees, leading to disputes and conflicts. All these potential tension points are simmering underneath Derange’s stabilization fabric. These tension points can easily escalate without the fair and just role of the peacebuilding committee in conflict resolution.
Jabir recounts an example. “One of the biggest disputes that occurred was between a farmer and a pastoralist. During dry season, the nomads had taken their cattle south. When they came back, the farmers from our village expanded their farms blocking the passages that the nomads traversed. That can sometimes lead cows to eat the crops and damage the farms. When this happened, the farmer was the one to complain to the peace committee. His complaint was immediately addressed. We invited him and the pastoralist to come before the committee and explain his side of the problem. We formed a team to investigate the area where the cows damaged the farm and we found out that these areas were the routes that the nomads had been using for many years. It was our first time to resolve the dispute in favor of the nomads, unlike earlier instances. This shows that this peace committee in Derange is delivering fair and balanced justice in the area. We later asked the farmers not to block the roads and to create routes around their farms so that cattle can reach water points. These actions, which we took last year, led to a better season this year with fewer clashes as nomads were able to move their cattle to water points without crossing any farms. We marked passages with stones and the whole area is much organized now.”
Stressing the role of women in building peace, Jabir proudly says “Having women in this committee is very essential as women usually did not have a voice here. We are the first village to have such kind of trainings in our region. These trainings have enlightened us on the important roles that women can play. Because of this realization, our peacebuilding committee has earned a good reputation, to the point where neighboring villages come to us for assistance regarding their disputes.”
Voicing his gratitude, Jabir says “Thanks to the capacity building, guidance and workshops provided by C2SP, we feel more united with our brothers from the nomadic tribes than we felt before. Now they are also part of the committee and there is a lot we can do together.”
C2SP has been working on building security and stabilization of vulnerable population in the Two Areas since 2015. C2SP has been generously funded by Japan, Sweden, Italy, the UK, and Spain.
* Disclaimer: The names and boundaries shown and the designations used on the maps do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.