June 15, 2023 (RAJAF, South Sudan): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Mediation Support Unit (MSU) concluded a three-day workshop in Rajaf, South Sudan. The workshop engaged vibrant Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to speak and engage women and youth in conflict resolution and negotiations. The CSOs were drawn from Faith-based Organizations, Women’s Political Coalition, youth Political Forums, and Arts and Policy Makers.
The main objective of this workshop was to provide a platform for constructive dialogue on the role of the varying mechanisms in peace promotion and peacebuilding processes and discuss the need for creating a forum for CSOs in mediation & peacebuilding.
Gender inequality has been stifled by tenure insecurity for women, youth, pastoralists, and other vulnerable groups. There are pervasive gender inequalities in the region when it comes to access to education, information, employment, credit, land, policy inputs, and decision-making power. The economic, social, and political status of women is relatively lower than that of their male counterparts.
As a result, CSOs came up with recommendations to ensure a safe civic and democratic space for society, enabling a legal environment in terms of safeguarding the civic democratic spare for the society, Creating an alternative leadership space for the community to get involved, CSOs act as a third eye and give their recommendations to the relevant stakeholders; CSOs has the ability to reach all the grass root communities compared to government counterpart. CSOs play a vital role in being election observers almost in all African countries.
As a way forward, Initiatives to promote the sustainable use and control of natural resources to prevent conflict over resources, such as cooperation on the common use of scarce water resources or on land distribution and usage, need to be realized; Promotion of gender equality, where women’s and men’s roles as victims, perpetrators or actors for peace are highlighted. For instance, strengthening women’s participation in peace processes and their involvement in politics, changing societal norms on gender-specific use of violence, and promoting alternative standards.
IGAD should create a way a data for all the CSOs and provide them with space to carry out meaningful participation in the African region; Form the first civil society regional platform, but in the event that IGAD already has a forum, they should advise how we can join those fora.
This workshop was organized by Mediation Support Unit (MSU) with financial support from European Union through the IPPSHAR program under the Austrian Development Agency(ADA).