Strengthening Institutions for Peace and Development (SIPED) II Project
1. System Strengthening Component
Strengthening Institutions for Peace and Development (SIPED) II Project is a five -year USAID funded project in selected regions of Ethiopia. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Federal and Pastoralist Development (now Ministry of Peace) of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the United States Agency for International Development Mission to Ethiopia and the Pact, Inc. Office in Ethiopia on September 2,2015. Under this MoU, Pact directly implements at federal level while activities at the agreed regions are facilitated by Peace and Development Center (PDC). The project has two components- Component 1 and Component 2. Component 1 is system strengthening support to enhance the conflict prevention, early warning and response, management and resolution capacities, tools and practices of the Ministry and the Peace Architecture (PA). Component 2 is the Natural Resource Management (NRM) governance.
PDC implements Component 1 in 12 woredas selected from 5 regional states namely Afar, Gambella, Oromia, Somali and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNPR). The target woredas are: Mile, Amibara and Gewane from Afar; Yeki woreda from SNNPR; Mengishi & Godere woredas from Gambella; Liben, Meiso Oromia and Gursum Oromia woredas from Oromia region; and Gursum Somali, Dekasuftu and Meiso Somali woredas from Somali regional state. As institutional owner of the project, the Ministry of Federal and Pastoralist Development Affairs (MoFPDA), in consultation with the target regions, selected the target woredas for project intervention. PDC therefore works in partnership with Pact, MoFPDA and the aforementioned regions. Under SIPED II project, PDC has been implementing the following major project sub – components.
Updating and Contextualizing Conflict Prevention and Resolution Manual
Training Manual Development
MoFPDA had Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) resource pack, which was operational over 6 years, required updating and contextualizing. The revised Conflict Prevention & Resolution generic manual consists of four modules- Culture of Peace, Conflict Early Warning and Early Response, Conflict Management, and Sustainable Peace, Development and Good Governance all of which are translated into four major languages. Accordingly, the four modules were translated into Afan Oromo, Tigrigna, Afarigna and Somaligna. In other regions, Amharic language is used for training. PDC has been involved and contributed significantly in the development of the manual by assigning its staff.
Woreda Cascading Trainings
Before the manual was put in place for use, a feedback workshop was organized to further refine it. Trainees of Trainers (ToT) on the four modules were organized in three rounds for MoFPDA, regional experts and PDC peace project officers. The ToT trainees are currently conducting trainings in their respective woredas.
Target participants of woreda cascading training include practitioners representing from woreda Administrations, Administration and Security office, Women and Children Affairs, Youth and Sport Affairs Office, Justice Office, Youth Association, Women Associations and Justice Office. The cascading training involves 30 participants in each woreda. So far 9 out of 12 (75%) woredas received the training in which 270 trainees participated. Cognizant of the role of women in peace building, attention was paid for them to get adequate chance in the trainings.
Proposing System Upgrade to national Conflict Early Warning & Early Response (CEWER)
The objective of the system upgrade is to enable effective and efficient planning, implementation and management of linked conflict early warning and early response processes that:
• Use appropriate modern technologies
• Build on the current Ethiopian CEWER system and regional planning
• Maintain and integrate best practice and address gaps
• Build in supervision, accountability and quality control mechanisms to ensure technical soundness and “Do NO Harm” principle
A bench marking study tour, which comprises a team from MoFPDA, Pact and PDC was sent to Uganda and Kenya. The purpose of the visits was to gather information from representative CEWER actors at each level who are involved with early warning data collection, transmission and analysis as well as planning, coordinating, implementing and monitoring of early response. PDC was represented in both study trips and the system design work.
Conflict Early Warning and Early Response Guideline Development
To implement the state-of the-art CEWER of the ministry’s new design, a draft guideline has been prepared to implement the proposed system design. PDC has actively engaged in the development of the guideline. The proposal development for system design is now under piloting phase. To that end, conflict prone woredas in Oromia, SNNPR and Gambella regional states were selected for piloting the new system.
2. People -to -People (P2P) in Gambella Regional State-Itang Special Woreda Component
The P2P is a pilot project funded by USAID from the Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation (CMM) in Washington to support local level peace building efforts in Gambella Regional State over a two-year period through SIPED II Component 1. Under this project, trauma informed recovery and resiliency activities is implemented for the first time in the country. The project operates in Itang Special woreda, one of the 12 woredas in the region affected by cycles of conflict mainly over competition for political power and resource competition. Thus, the project was designed to achieve specific objectives to bring together conflicting groups to interact in a safe place. While Pact plays support at the federal level, PDC supports the Peace Architecture (PA) at the regional state level to address local level peace building efforts to mitigate tensions and conflicts between communities.
The objectives of the P2P funded activities are to:
Contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for a peaceful coexistence of communities in Itang woredas through participatory peacebuilding approaches and interventions.
Maximize positive impacts of these efforts on tensions in other areas of Gambella Regional State
Major Activities of P2P Project
Pending consultations with relevant government representatives in Gambella, MoFPDA, PACT and PDC, the major P2P activities include strengthening and supporting the Peace Architecture to:
Identify priority conflict system (s) to be the focus of program activities through consultation with relevant stakeholders at the federal and regional state levels.
Conduct conflict assessment of the local conflict system(s) (nature/intensity, stakeholders, drivers, levels and nature of trauma etc.).
Develop and finalize the program intervention strategy through a series of stakeholder and community discussions and validation meetings.
Enhance early warning and response system
Conduct capacity building activities focused on enhancing conflict management skills of the Peace Architecture (government officials, elders, religious, and community leaders, and peace committee members, women, youth including people with disability
Support revitalization and/or formation of kebele level peace committees
Support intra-community discussions to facilitate readiness to engage in inter-community dialogues.
Develop and implement appropriate trauma healing strategies and tools.
Support inter-community dialogues to agree strategies to restore normal inter-communal relations.
Support and facilitate agreed peace building activities that may include:
Joint efforts to address and manage drivers of conflict, possibly with small scale peace dividends.
Peace celebrations to include jointly planned and managed concerts, theater, sports event
Develop and implement a complete Monitoring and Evaluation Plan.
The above project objectives will contribute to the following outcomes, which include:
• A stronger more effective Peace Architecture.
• Improved inter-community relations characterized by increased trust, confidence and harmony.
The project was formally launched in Gambella where the top management of the Government of Gambella, MoFPDA, Pact and PDC attended. During the launching workshop, Itang Special Woreda was selected as a project site by Gambella Peoples’ Regional State and MoFPDA. The rationale for its selction was primarily due to its recurrent nature of conflict with spillover effect to other communities living in Gambella.
Trauma Informed Recovery and Resilience(TIRR) Training for leaders at Gambella Regional State
Leadership training on “Trauma Informed Recovery and Resilience” was organized to different top government officials from May 4-8, 2017 in Grand Hotel at Gambella town. The objective of the training, was to create awareness on the impact of trauma to peoples and create and hold space for trainees to speak about trauma experienced by a variety of people and groups, and share practical skills dealing with stress and trauma. The training brought together higher officials from pertinent regional government sectors and Itang Special woreda, MoFPDA, Pact and PDC. Twenty-two participants attended in this training. The training facilitators were three women- two from Kenya and one from Ethiopia.
Training participants with the trainers
Emphasis was given on the importance, relevance, and applicability of the training in Gambella context and the need to fully attend the training.
Following an opening remark by Mr. Okugn Okello, regional bureau Head for Administration and Security, Mrs. Halima and Mrs. Teckla, trainers briefly introduced how training on trauma informed resilience and recovery came into being in Kenya and Somalia and how it came to Ethiopia through Pact.
Right after the opening remarks, the trainees were engaged in pair work to set out their expectations from the training and name the term ‘TRAUMA” in their native language so as internalize the concept. Next, each pair presented their expectations and the equivalent term for “TRAUMA” in Amharic, Nuer, Anywaa, and Majang languages and this helped trainees internalize the concept.
The training also addressed what trauma is about, how one be trauma informed in his/her interventions, dialogue as an interactive tool to address trauma, the difference between dialogue and debate, and types of trauma and their nature. To help trainees internalize the issues, different examples were given from Kenya and Somalia experience. For each type of trauma, trainees were asked to bring cases from their own context. In order to make each issue closest to the trainees, translations of key issues were made and practical examples were given by Tigist-an Ethiopian co-facilitator who is a counselor.
During reflection sessions, most of the trainees stated that the issues, examples, and practical cases presented during the first day of the training helped them understand trauma in a better way than before. On the second day of the training, training participants were engaged in analyzing post traumatic disorders, negative impacts of stress and trauma, survival responses to trauma, triggers of trauma, coping strategies, and mind-body-spirit connection to overcome trauma. For each issue, practical examples were given and real cases were sought from the participants. In order to help the participants better understanding and internalize the issues, they were engaged in group works and each group presented its work to the plenary.
On the third day of the training, trainees dealt with emotional thermometer as a tool to monitor and control one’s emotion, security and types of security, justice and types of justice, relationships, and victim-aggressor cycle of trauma. For each case, trainees cited real examples from their community and showed how these types of problems affect the social and psychological wellbeing of their society. On this day, officials from USAID – Mr. Brian Gilchrest, former Conflict Prevention Advisor and Mrs. Zema Semunigus, the then Head of USAID in Ethiopia visited the training participants and the participants also made brief reflection on how the support is important and relevant to the problems at the grassroots level. In addition to the contents presented by the trainers, trainees also presented cases from their context. Participants narrated their own stories in connection to victims and aggressor cycle which in turn inspired the participants and increased their level of participation. Each issue of the training was exemplified by cases from clinical experiences from Ethiopia. Like the previous days, the third day was also completed by inner circle reflection where both the trainees and the trainers share their learning experiences from the day.
The fourth day of the training was concerned with issues such as new down of forgiveness, brain as a processor of information, and resilience. The trainers engaged participants in different group and pair works so as to help them internalize the issues. For each issue, the trainers used stories and practical exercises. Participants were asked to map their own storylines in pair and describe each to other participants. Narration of participants’ storyline was followed by Joseph’s story and reflection on the purpose of the story and the characters in the story. Trainees were also asked to relate the story to the purpose of the training and their life.
On the fifth day of the training, trainees dealt with post-traumatic growth and healing and transformative process. The issues were concretized through stories and folktales and brought to real life situation through trainees’ own stories. After thorough discussion, trainees were asked to assess the relevance of the entire issues dealt with during the past four days to their life and similar problems in their context. Besides, participants were also asked to see how trauma informed framework can be applied in their work place and how it benefits their communities. Next, trainees were asked to evaluate the five-day training in general and the method, facilitation skills of the trainers, and the tools of the training in particular. In addition to their written evaluation, the trainees were asked to orally express their thought about the training and the trainers. As is was stated by the trainees during the evening and morning inner circle reflection, the training:
• Was totally different from the types of training they took so far. It was unique in its tools and approaches used and the approaches used by the trainers;
• Helped them revisit their past experiences;
• Showed them how trauma affects the victims’ social and psychological wellbeing;
• The posters used throughout the training helped them visualize the issues in general and recall their own trauma history in particular;
• Empowered them to manage trauma related issues both at their work place and in their life;
• Brought different trauma experiences from Kenya and Somalia which are similar to the cases at Gambella regional Sate;
• Was participatory and engaged them physically, mentally, and emotionally;
• Opened a lot of possibilities to deal with trauma; and
• Created them a good opportunity to learn from one another by sharing their deep-seated problems.
In general, the training was successfully conducted the way it was planned. The trainees were from top governmental offices that deal with so many urgent cases; however, the level of participation and their commitment to fully attend the training was more than the expected. The trainees were awarded certificates.
Conflict Assessment in Itang Special Woreda
One of the major accomplishments was a conflict context assessment conducted at Itang special woreda, Gambella Peoples’ National Regional State The assessment aimed at full-fledged understanding of historical origin, causes, features and effects of the conflict in the society. To this effect, the assessment aimed at exploring and analyzing data on the different aspects of the conflict. Accordingly, the objectives of the assessment include soliciting opinions and extracting data, among others, on a number of issues. These include nature and history, political and socio-economic and cultural dimensions of the conflict. In the same way, factors that caused community grievances and actors that involved themselves at different levels were to be explored and identified.
Furthermore, part of the objectives of the work included identification and consensus building regarding the possible interventions by federal and regional government institutions, civil society stakeholders including the P2P community level peace building programs.
Scope of the Study
The scope of the assessment covers different issues and thematic areas which are directly or indirectly related to the conflict at Itang Special Woreda of Gambella National Regional State. These include, among others, the context covering its historical, political, economic, social and cultural dimensions. Moreover, the context of the conflict has been addressed in a way that encompasses its local, regional and federal level interrelations. In addition, the constitutional and policy frameworks of the governance structure have been assessed with the intention to examine its viability and limits for the purpose of preventing conflicts within the woreda in particular and the Regional State in general. The scope of the study also covers the different dimensions of the recurrent conflict situations in the woreda. Thus, dynamics, trends, issues, causes, effects, actors and stakeholders of the conflict have been addressed with a view to drawing fairly comprehensive conclusions and forwarding implementable recommendations towards preventing recurrence of similar conflicts in the woreda.
In general, the thematic focus of the study was limited to interacting factors that directly or indirectly contribute to intercommunity conflicts at Itang special woreda. The study was also contextually limited to purposely selected Itang special woreda only. Due to resource constraint, the conflict dynamics and trends in other part of the regional state was not addressed in this particular study.
Rational for the Study
The field work for the study was conducted from July 13- August 09, 2017 both at regional and federal levels. The activity brought together expert and practitioners from different walks of life such as professional consultant, program advisor, Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting & Learning (MERL) officer and project officer. In addition, experts from MoFPDA, Gambella region Administration and Security Bureau, Itang woreda and administration and security experts were constituted in the research team. The field work was started first from Itang woreda and then to Gambella regional state and finally at federal level. During the study, an attempt was made to involve different parties from top government officials up to community representatives at the grassroots level. To this effect, the study involved top government officials at federal and regional levels, local administrators, elders, community representatives, youth and women representatives, peace committee members, and elders. SEPID II project officer and PDC’s MERL officer also participated in the study.
Conflict occurs due to several causes and in quiet different contexts. As a rule, interventions towards preventing or resolving any conflict necessarily requires adequate comprehension of its causes, nature and consequences. The conflict at Itang special woreda of Gambella has its own unique features and patterns. It seems obvious that such conflict needs to be scientifically assessed, with adequate focus on its different dimensions, and with a view to comprehending its nature and the possible routes to be followed in addressing its root causes.
This study was initiated with the intention to conduct independent assessment of the conflict by experts’ possessing the relevant professional skills and knowledge and generate reliable pre-intervention information to the program. An assessment process conducted by independent professionals usually provides dependable insights towards exploring the best possible forms of interventions for building sustainable peace. The report, which is discussed below, provides data obtained through widely applicable scientific methods and procedures and analyzed with comprehensive coverage of the different dimensions of the conflict at Itang Special woreda of Gambella regional state.
Joint Feedback Meeting
Led by MoFPDA former State Minister Mulugeta Wuletaw, the study team members, representatives from MoFPDA, PACT and PDC discussed on the findings of the conflict assessment report on 21 November 2017 at the Ministry’s meeting room. The main objective of the assessment was to identify the conflict context systems prior to the implementation of the CMM project. The lead Consultant, Dr. Mohammed Habib from Addis Ababa University, gave presentation. Accordingly, some corrections and comments were forwarded by participants. The State Minister felt that a feedback from the Ministry delayed because of unforeseen circumstances and schedule overlaps. Mr. Mulugeta thanked the study team for addressing the major issues as per the Terms of Reference (ToR) and the participants for their invaluable inputs. Finally, the document was refined and submitted for decision makers at MoFPDA and regional government.
Joint Planning Workshop
A joint planning meeting was organized in Gambella Town to discuss on the findings and recommendations of conflict assessment conducted in Itang Specia woredas, and prepare work plan that will put the recommendations into implementation.
A total of 23 people (20 men and 3 women) attended in the meeting. Pertinent institutions from Gambella regional state and Itang Special Woreda, Peace and Development Center (PDC), Pact as well as representatives of elders participated in the day- long planning workshop.
Ato Beyene Feseha, Director of Conflict Management and Sustainable Solution, MoFPDA, made an introductory speech. He reiterated that conflict is an impediment to the development process and hence needs to be addressed. The result of the proposed interventions does not only benefit Itang special woreda, but also serve as a model to plan other conflict prone woredas.
The planning meeting was opened with the official opening remark of Ato Okugn Okello, Head of Admin and Security Burau of Gambella Regional State. He extended his gratitude to MoFPDA, Pact and PDC for organizing the planning workshop. He mentioned that Itang Special Woreda is one of the conflict- prone woredas in Gambella Regional State. In a bid to address the conflict in the special woreda, analysis was conducted by Addis Ababa University in collaboration with Pact and PDC. The analysis came out with details of the existing situation and recommendations as a way forward.
Key Findings of the assessment were presented by Ato Nigusie Angessa from PDC and study team member of the assessment. The major findings include that:
• The conflict in Itang special woreda is decades long and has a continuity nature. This being the case, it has become part of the socio-economic history and day-to-day social phenomenon of the community.
• Change in demographic pattern changed the pattern of conflict at Itang special woreda.
• Revenge killing is becoming a culture.
• Conflict in Itang special woreda has been noted to be recurring and cyclical.
– Lack of proper resource management skill in a conflict prone woreda context
– Misconception among the youth that it is possible to obtain what they need in a violent way.
• Inter-ethnic conflict has caused damage to the social, cultural, political, and economic and institutional settings. It resulted to the “we and they” attitude.
• Prevalence of fear and social insecurity resulting to demographic threat as well as stiff competition over resources, which is dangerous. This has resulted to decline of institutions including customary ones, which in turn adversely affected social harmony and the local capacities for peace.
• The recurrent inter-ethnic conflict at Itang Special Woreda has adversely affected the life and livelihood of the community.
– Loss of life, large scale displacement, trauma, disruption of social services and economic activities, destruction of social and cultural institutions that used to ensure peace and harmony at the grassroots.
The following key recommendations were also highlighted during the joint workshop.
• Capacity building
– The planning workshop is expected to identify which institutions need the capacity development interventions.
• Formation/revitalization of peace structures
– The planning workshop is expected to identify which peace structures need to be strengthened and which areas need formation of peace structures.
• Intra and inter community dialogues
– Creating a community that practice dialogue for sustainable solutions. To this end, the community should first discuss within themselves on the contemporary issues that cause conflict. Then this will be scaled up to encompasses inter community dialogues
• Trauma Informed Recovery and Resiliency (TIRR) pilot program in selected kebeles.
– Trauma is common in Itang Special woredas.
After a thorough discussion, agreement was reached for the selction of 4 kebeles for TIRR and 8 kebeles for Community Dialogues/ Discussions interventions for P2P project were selected.
A. Community Dialogues/ Discussions: B. Trauma Informed Recovery and Resiliency (TIRR
1. Puldeng (Nuer) 1. Pulkoat (Nuer)
2. Pulkod (Nuer) 2. Adima (Anywaa)
3. Lare (Nuer) 3. Behane Selam (Anywaa)
4. Berhan Selam (Anywaa) 4. Alah (Anywaa)
5. Adema (Anywaa)
6. Aju (Anywaa)
7. Achua (Anywaa)
8. Akura (Anywaa)
Project Launching Workshop in Itang Special Woreda
The launching workshop was organized on May 2, 2018 at Itang Town. The objective of organizing the launching workshop was to familiarize the project to concerned bodies of the woreda so that they will contribute their share towards achieving the goals and objectives of the CMM-P2P project.
The workshop was officially addressed by the Bureau Head of Gambella Region Admin & Security, Ato Okugn Okello who was invited by Ato Owar Ochan, the Chief Administrator of Itang Special Woreda (SW). Ato Ayten Anemaw, the Executive Director of Peace and Development Center (PDC) introduced the project objectives and goals including the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders involved in the project. In his message, Ato Ayten underlined that the Administration & Security Bureau is the owner of the project and Itang SW has been selected as pilot project site by Gambella Regional State and MoFPDA. Ato Ayten also expressed that PDC opened its office in Itang Town and hired peace project officers who are Anywaa and Nuer native speakers. He added that the aim of assigning the officers from the two ethnic groups is to facilitate the project at grassroot levels so that communities will not face communication barriers.
The launching workshop was attended by 57 people. Officials from Regional Admin & Security Bureau, representative from the regional president office, woreda council’s speaker, woreda administration and security officials, administration and security heads of nine selected kebeles, elders, religious leaders from target kebeles, representatives from mass-based associations, officials from relevant offices (police and militia offices, Health Office and Women & Children Affairs Office) attended the launching workshop.
After the opening remarks and introduction of project activities, adequate time was given for plenary discussion. During the discussion, Achua Kebele chairman said, “peace is very important and everyone should stand for it and work together to bring about sustainable peace”. He underlined his concern from his past experience that sustainability of the project is of paramount importance and should not stop once it becomes operational. Another participant from Pulkot kebele expressed his happiness about the importance of P2P project ideas but also questioned why the absence of peace always prevail and the government fails to ensure peace.
An elder from Pulkot also said that he is also happy about the new project. He blamed government representatives in-charge of maintaining peace and stability but not carrying out their tasks properly despite elders’ advice and recommendations. He further reiterated that he used to move anywhere to browse his cattle before 20 years. He said, “Nowadays, I cannot do that because the Murle and other clans from South Sudan cross the border and attack us. We need protection from our government. This will be materialized if we work hard for peace. We are always in a state of confusion why we lack peace in our place. We need genuine collaboration and coordination in order to ensure peace and stability in our region”.
An Orthodox Church representative from Itang Town stated that he has been participating in many peace meetings before but he felt this project unique in its approach and contents. His comments included that Itang is endowed with rich resources where older people can even work and lead their lives let alone young people. He noted that parents should teach their children about the values of peace and love, and religious leaders should meet frequently and preach about peace. In his closing statement, he wished peace for Itang, Gambella and Ethiopia. Ato Mohammed representing Islamic religion and Pastor Keadow from Protestant religion gave similar comments.
A participant from Adema Kebele appreciated the project objectives and the way neighboring kebeles work together under the close supervision of federal and regional governments. Moreover, he emphasized that he was very glad to hear a phrase that the project owners are the communities. He believes that the Anywaa-Nuer conflict is instigated by few individuals from both ethnic groups as a result of which communities living in Itang suffer from a cycle of violence. The consequences of violent conflicts hamper education and agricultural activities to a great extent.
Other participants representing the selected kebeles, forwarded similar opinions and unanimously agreed about the importance of the new project hoping that it will impact their lives positively.
In their concluding remarks Ato Okugn Okello, Regional Admin & Security Bureau, Ato Owar Ochan, Itang SW Chief administrator and Ato Ayten Anemaw, PDC Executive manager jointly reminded participants that the project can be successful if all actors closely work together to bring about sustainable peace in Gambella in general and Itang in particular. In a closing remark, the Head of Admin and Security Bureau underlined about time in that the project should move forward as quickly as possible and keep the promises given during the launching workshop organized in Gambella Town in February, 2018. Ato John Yien, the Deputy Head of regional Admin and Security Bureau accentuated that all stakeholders should work closely within their scope of mandates with full responsibility and commitment in order to meet the goals and objectives of the project.
Dialogue and Mediation Training for Community Facilitators
To implement the P2P project, 32 community facilitators for Community Dialogue and Trauma Informed Recovery and Resiliency (TIRR) were selected from Anywaa and Nuer communities. Besides, PDC opened an office in Itang town to coordinate and facilitate the P2P activities. Consequently, two Peace Project Officers, two Assistant Peace Project Officers and one Finance Officer were employed. Save the finance officer, recruitment of peace officers was made from both communities.
After the selection, a training on Dialogue and Mediation was organized from August 13th -15th, 2018 in Gambella town. The main objective of the training was to train 36 Community Facilitators drawn from 9 target kebeles and identify 16 Community Facilitators who will facilitate Community Discussions and TIRR in their respective kebeles. This was followed by group formation for TIRR and Community Dialogues, each having 16 facilitators.
A total of 36 participant’s attended the training. The training was organized for 9 pilot kebeles representatives selected for Community Dialogue and TIRR. The training was organized for three days. There was no drop out during the training. Men, women and youth from both sexes were represented during selection process and training period. Hence, among 36 participants, 18 (50%) were women and girls. The role of PDC peace project officers and community coordinators were instrumental from selection process to organizing the training apart from their crucial roles in translation of local languages throughout the training dates. Most of trainees needed translations in Anywaa and Nuer languages. At the end of the training, training participants were divided into two- Intra & Inter Community Dialogue Facilitators and TIRR community Facilitators.
Intra – Community Dialogues
Based on the recommendations during regional and woredas level joint workshops, the intra dialogues had been carried out in 8 kebeles. The objective of the dialogues is to resolve a cycle of conflicts between the Anywaa and Nuer ethnic tribes in order to prevail a culture of peace, peaceful co-existence and harmonious relationships not only between the above groups but also other communities living in Itang Special Woreda in particular.
Intra community dialogues (partial view)
In the dialogues, 480 community representatives and 16 Community Facilitators (CFs) participated in the community discussions (in two rounds and in groups of 30 people). Participants were drawn from community leaders, pastors, priests, women group and youth group including business men. Women were well represented in all dialogue sessions conducted in 8 kebeles. The dialogues were perceived by most participants as very important and timely. From the dialogue participants 286 (59.6 %) and 194 (40.4%) are male and female partcipants. Interms of age, adult and youth participants constitute 305 (72.6) and 115 (27.4 %) repectively.
During the intra community dialogues conducted, most of the participant underlined that:
– massive conception of alcohol and khat,
– frequent involvement in grave criminal acts such as killing and revenge killings,
– lack of proper management of the resources
– claims and counter claims over resources,
– misinterpretation and misuse of the political representation,
– prevailing sense of fear and social insecurity resulting from demographic threat and use the conflict for political consumption have, among others, the major factors which lead to conflicts in Gambella in general and Itang SW in particular. Because of these, the conflicts brought about “We” and “Them” social division and this highly destroyed social cohesion between Anywaa and Nuer in the woreda.
A story by a dialogue participant from Nuer community said,
“… The Anywaa are our brothers and sisters and we all live together peacefully in harmonious relationship for decades. Today, things are becoming destructive because we stop to know and recall the good relations between Anywaa and Nuer. At one time, when there was conflict between Anywaa and Nuer from Ler kebele, other members of Nuer from Pulkoat kebele members took side along with Ler Kebele and told us to fight against the Anywaa community in Okura kebele.
But we refuse to go and fight with Anywaa because they are our blood relatives. …The relationship between us as Ciengrieng in Pulkoat kebele and Anywaa in Okura and Adima kebels started during the time of my late father, Koang Diew. My father told me that this people (Anywaa) are your blood relative and they are the ones who allow me to stay in this land and give me the land at Baro River bank for cultivation. If you make them suffer, one day you will be in a problem; and if you make them happy, you will get the true joy in your life. My father said, “Don’t get any involvement in case if you, Nuer of Pulkoat, have a conflict with Okura kebele. Rather help each other and make peace with them”. I’m still remembering the words of my late father that he told me and that is why I told my community that I will never go and fight with Okura kebele because they are those who welcome my late father with good hospitality and relationship. My relative said, “if we can’t be in peace with Anywaa, they can’t allow us to farm at the bank of Baro River and all of us will be in a problem. My people and our Anywaa brothers can’t stay away from us. We want them to come back home and share respect so as to live in peace and harmony as usual”.
I do remember that during the time of conflict between Thiang tribe and Ciengrieng tribe in Pulkoat Kebele, the Anywaa saved many lives of our people who could have been killed by Thiang Nuer tribe and saved their lives on that difficult time. The same should be true for us to do the same thing for Anywaa as well.
In the discussions, participants raised the following problems which include but not limited to the following that need to be addressed.
o Weak institutions
o Failure to report perpetrators/criminals to justice by Anywaa and Nuer
o Conflicts used as means of instrument to gain political interest
o Failure to collaborate with the police to apprehend individuals involved in the killing of innocent individuals
o Reluctance to report criminals to police because of ethnic biases.
o Cultivating Anywaa land without permission (e.g in Alha, Adima and Birane Selam kebeles by Ler kebele)
o Cattle raiding, etc.
The recommendations suggested by the dialogue participants are summarised below.
• Every family should teach his /her family members to support any type of conflict along ethnic lines (between Anywaa and Nuer)
• More Awareness raising required on Culture of Peace and respect for all Itang residents
• More involvement and collaboration with churches and their institutions are needed to promote peace and love.
• Collaborate with law enforcing bodies tin reporting perpetrators irrespective of ethnic background
• Avoid unlawful land cultivation
• Law enforcement bodies should be strengthened in order to carry out their task properly
• Prevent and report illicit trafficking of arms and illegal appropriation of arms by individuals to concerned institutions and or local administrations.
• Return internally displaced due to viiolence to their original place
• Youth should talk about peace, brotherhood, harmony, unity and not tribalism
• Stop cattle rustling
• Stop cattle rustling or cattle raid
• Return displacement people to their original place
• Resource sharing
Currently, intra dialogue sessions completed. The primary objective of intra dialogue sessions was to deepen understanding of issues that divide societies especially between the Nuer and Anywaa ethnic tribes. The inter-community dilaogues sessions, which will start soon will bring together the two ethnic groups who have participated in intra dialogue sessions in a safe place to ensure social cohesion, peaceful-coexistence and harmonious relationships between both groups.
Trauma Informed Recovery and Resiliency (TIRR)
After in-depth discussions with stakeholders. the TIRR activity is named Yegarachin, an Ethiopian name which means “OURS”. As mentioned above, the pilot kebeles for TIRR activities are: Alah, Adima, Pulkoat and Birhane Selam. TIRR are implemented in collaboration with Green String Network (GSN), a Consulting Firm for training and material development, and Pact Ethiopia. In this regard, the following activities have been accomplished.
• Anywaa and Nuer translators translated Yegarachin selected materials into local languages.
• Printing of Yegarachin and TIR materials (English and Amharic version) finalized. Green String Network (the consulting Firm for training and material development)
• Translation of English M&E materials (Yegarachin Interviewer manual, Yegarachin Baseline and Monitoring tools are translated
• Training of Community Facilitators conducted
• Cascading work on TIRR finalized.
Promising Practices for SIPED II project
Why the recent conflict in Gambella did not spread out to Gambella?
In the past, Itang has been the epicenter of various conflict. In the past, conflicts created in Itang used to quickly break out in the rest of the region. But violent conflict which broke out in Gambella Town in September did not spill to Itang Woreda. Since dialogue sessions have started, target communities started understanding that conflicts can be resolved peacefully through dialogue. Itang Special woreda is home to Nuer, Anywaa and Opo indigenous groups. Significant number of highlanders ‘highlanders’ also live in the woredas. Thus, awareness raising on the Culture of Peace built trust between them which in turn have prevented the spread of destructive conflict that engulfed Gambella Town in September, 2018.
The P2P project intervention approach has been appreciated by all segments of societies in target kebeles. Community Facilitators (CFs) are selected from their respective communities. Although coordinated and facilitated by PDC Peace Project Officers, the CFs lead the process. Uunlike in the past, communities are empowered to freely discuss their own concerns, frustrations, hopes and opportunities in a safe space. That is, communities feel secured and empowered in the dialogue processes. It was observed that the intra community dialogues are impacting the communities positively while creating a peaceful environment for inter-community dialogues.
Challenges and Problems: SIPED II Activities
Political Instability: The political turmoil and violence in the country have prevented Somali and Oromia target woredas from conducting the cascading trainings as scheduled as SIPED II operational woredas too were affected by political instability. Concerned bodies were tied up with urgent task of managing political crises and violent conflicts in their respective regions which required rigorous involvement of Admin & Security Officials and experts. As a result, the two regional Admin & Security Bureaus have postponed the trainings more than two times. In particular, the change of leadership in Somali Administration & Security Bureau created institutional gaps. Due to riots and violence in the country in general and SIPED II project areas in particular, some activities were accomplished after repeated postponement.
Language Barrier: Community dialogue, cascading trainings and TIRR trainings were assisted by translators into local languages. Sometimes translators do not interpreter properly. Secondly, translations are time taking which affects the time management set for training sessions. The time spent for translation could have been used for more practical exercises.