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June 18, 2023 (NAIROBI, Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Mediation Support Unit (MSU) concluded a three-day workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, on the 18 of June, 2023: The workshop brought together women, men, youth, and students who are refugees and IDPs in some of the horn of Africa (HOA) region to share their lived experiences on conflict resolution, specifically on mediation and dialogues as vital means in resolving disputes among themselves and within their various communities. The objective of the workshop was to equip refugees and IDPs with skills and knowledge transfer in order to work as mediators in their own rights across the region.

The refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) bear the brunt of civil wars and other disasters that forcefully displaced them from their original homes and Countries of origin. Additionally, they face enormous challenges in their new resettlements from the host communities and also suffer the continuous divide along ethnic lines within these IDPs and Refugee camps and as such, strengthening their capacities in mediation and dialogue is of great importance.

The three days of convening provided them with a space to individually and collectively reflect on their experiences with conflict and intervention at different levels; this drew forth some practical examples from the participants in regard to their relationships among themselves and with the host communities and the intervention made by the community leaders, host governments and the UN agencies. The platform also provided them with an opportunity to discuss and analyze in their various groups, mediation, dialogue, and negations and to suggest possible ways of improving it in order for their engagement to be more meaningful and impactful. Furthermore, the participants were introduced to the concept of United nation security council resolution 1325(Women, Pace and Security) and United nation security council resolution 2250(Youth Peace and Security), the international legal instruments that stressed the inclusion and participation of women and youth in all matters related to peace and security .1325 speaks on the role of women in the prevention of conflict and their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and as such, the refugees and IDPs women are actors and stakeholders in the peace processes.

The participants, both IPDs and Refugees, recommend IGAD(MSU) and its partners maintain their efforts in uniting diverse communities from different refugee camps because the existence of divisions within various countries is seen as a failure. The proposed solution is to bring people together, fostering forgiveness, understanding, and unity so that they can carry the message of unity back to their respective countries; in addition, establishing forums like these can effectively reduce hate speech among the participants. Similarly, they suggested the importance of consistency in implementing not only training workshops but also other aspects of society. Further, they emphasized the need for inclusivity, ensuring that individuals with disabilities, women, and youth take part in such initiatives. By considering all aspects of life, the participant stressed the importance of creating a comprehensive and equitable approach to societal development and empowerment. The participant added that whatever has been learned in the workshop should

become policies to be reflected in a national constitution so that it becomes tangible. Lastly, the participants expressed appreciation for the positive outcomes of the session, particularly highlighting the importance of dialogue in conflict resolution. They further mentioned that, as a result of the workshop, individuals would be better equipped to handle conflicts in the future, knowing what steps to take. Furthermore, the participant commended the workshop for being conducted with passion and meeting their expectations in terms of delivery and effectiveness.

Dr. Garang in his closing remarks, emphasized the importance of continuing the learning cycle through experiential sharing as the most effective means of information dissemination and learning. He expressed his gratitude to all participants for actively participating in the workshop and utilizing their own knowledge to contribute to information sharing. He acknowledged that the team had embraced the principles of dialogue and mediation for peacebuilding.

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).

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