PEACE AND COMMUNITY RESILIENCE

OPRD in Partnership with UNDP is implementing the Peace and community resilience in Kapoeta.

The violent conflicts within greater Kapoeta region are quite complex and occur at different levels: intra-ethnic, inter-ethnic or cross-border and mainly manifest in the form of cattle raids, road banditry, village and property looting, and the killing of people.

Current events in the Greater Kapoeta and other parts of the country have the potential of escalating into mass atrocities in South Sudan. And at the same time, the local community leaders have little, or in most cases, lack the knowledge and skills to steer successful peace and reconciliation efforts. The main issue, therefore, is how to address the threats of violence in order to avoid the further deterioration of democratic governance, which would have further impact on the future social, economic and political well-being of the affected communities.

The arduous post revenge skirmishes have impacted negatively in the four counties. Reports indicate that 250,000 people have been displaced from their settlements and over 60 have lost their lives in the last three months. Anger and fear is high. Primarily, the clashes have stifled human resource development as education system upon which development trends depend was nearly brought to halt following torching of schools and displacement of teaching personnel, the fear of people moving freely in seeking government, health services have been stopped as was witnessed a vehicle was ambushed and occupants and the vehicle torched beyond recognition.

OPRD is implementing the project to Support communities towards the strengthening of peace, reconciliation, and social cohesion for communities in Kapoeta South, Kapoeta East, Kapoeta North, Budi and Lapa/Lafon within eastern Equatoria state.  The project is focusing on ythe following key components:

 Main activities achieved so far, include:

Slot 1. To address negative community practices and strengthen social cohesion

  1. Advocate for development of state-specific policy on cattle migration
  2. Initiatives to reduce cattle raiding related violence
  3. Initiatives to reduce child abduction and action against child marriage (Kapoeta South, Kapoeta East, Kapoeta North, and Lapa/Lafon)

Slot2. To facilitate trauma healing and reconciliation

  1. Public awareness and sensitization on the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTHR) in the revitalized agreement
  2. In collaboration with UNDP, establish 10 psychosocial support groups and support community trauma healing and reconciliation.

The afore mentioned activities per slot has been achieved in the past period and most of which are still running, other planes according to the project are meant to kick start as planned and the objectives achieved.

Lessons

Community grass root consultation meetings give communities moral to discuss conflict issues freely.

Through the consultative meetings, communities were able to share and embrace the lessons of the existing peace among other communities and envied the same applies to them and surrounding communities for instance where the two communities of Kapoeta North (Toposa) and those of Budi (Buya) had met and temporarily agreed to co-exist in sharing existing resources such as grass and water in hard situations of dry season.

Challenges experienced

Rain and flooding affected accessibility especially Kapoeta North and East which led to delay in executing the work plan.

Price Inflations affected the logistical process as prices of commodities went high affecting the initial budget line. Bad roads.

Insecurity for instance ambush and direct targeting of non-locals due to continued rivalry between the two communities of Didinga and Toposa. This is being experienced along Kapoeta-Budi road which has constrained on planned activities in the County.

Alarming issues for immediate support.

There are a lot of violence in Eastern Equatoria state of which are not captured in the media, banditry, kidnapping, homes being torched and communities’ attacks. Are very serious and devastating, OPRD have gathered enough ground information and reached out to stakeholders and have come up with a proposed project on the same for immediate implementation.

Of late 13th /11/2020, a group of banditry attacked village of buya and fled with a number of livestock. The retaliation left three dead.  The previous week a pickup ferrying support materials in Kapoeta east for construction was attacked, the occupants and the vehicle torched beyond recognition. A fortnight ago the Eastern Equatoria governor’s driver was shot by unknown gunmen. The return of Returnees and IDP trying to resettled has brought tension and pressure on the available resources too. Hence need for immediate action to avert any possible escalation of war.

The GBV is at its peak and we therefore desire to have our women and girls protected from such including rapes.

These are boiling issues which seem to look like a timed bomb whose time of explosion will be deadly. OPRD is out to help these communities to resilience but it’s a process that requires funding and support that will last for 3-4 years. Wherefore call upon all well-wishers to step up for South Sudan

OPRD is seeking donors who may fund GBV, peace, reconciliation and recovery that will see these communities harmonised and live peacefully. Any support will go a long way to generations and uphold peace.

For any enquiries on the budget allocation and focus, contact us.

There is no way to peace, Peace is the way.”

-Mahatma Gandhi-