International Day of Peace 2022

Eight organisations in Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan share what International Day of Peace means to them and how they're celebrating this year.

Somali Women Studies Center (SWSC), Mogadishu and Kismayo, Somalia

SWSC builds women's leadership and advocacy skills to push for gender justice in post-conflict Somalia. They strengthen women's agency and leadership to achieve their potential, and promote women's participation in formal decision-making processes. This International Day of Peace they are holding an event to bring their community together to reflect on the importance of peace and emphasise that building peace is everybody's responsibility.

“We Somalis are people affected by prolonged conflict: we really understand the effects and the consequences of violence and so we really understand the importance of peace. Our peace is very fragile and it is everybody's responsibility to solidify it and address the root causes of violence. Somali women are critical peacebuilders in our country who need to be recognised, valued and supported. When our nation broke down and our society disintegrated, it was women who held our fragile society together, building the foundations of peace and rebuilding relationships, trust and unity. They are the ones who build peace every hour and every minute of every day. Women are the pillars of peace. 

Peace is very important to me because I was affected by the protracted violence that destroyed Somalia in the early 1990s. I lost a lot. To me, peace means living closer to loved ones, gathering with them on special festivities such as observing Ramadan or Eid. Peace to me means completing your education, growing up with your friends, neighbors and peers. Peace to me means not experiencing forced displacement, losing connections and ties with loved ones. Peace means not being afraid of anyone or any group. Not losing one's dignity, voice and agency. Peace is when you are able to go out your house to do errands without fear of violence and attacks. To me peace is when I see children playing football in the streets. Peace to me is when women are able to put henna on their hair and hands. Peace to me is when everyone is able to live a fulfilling life.” Shukria Dini, Executive Director of SWSC.

Visit their website. Find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Root of Generations (ROG), Central Equatoria and Eastern Equatoria States, Budi, Kapoeta South and Kapoeta Counties, South Sudan

Ooh peace, white and bright… 
Smiling women, heavily loaded with firewood... 
Sweaty, legs gripping the soil… 
A cry of babies in the smoky houses… 
Children playing in the backyard… 
Men grazing the cattle in a far bush, returning with a piece of a wild fruit… 
Let’s go to the farm, let’s go and fetch firewood, let’s go in the field to gather the plants… 

ROG seeks to create an environment where women and children, men and youth feel positive about the future. They do this through health, peacebuilding, livelihood and water, sanitation and hygiene programmes that ensure households and communities are in a state of spiritual growth and stability.

“We believe that self-reflection for both households and leaders can help bring peace. Our self-reflection initiative, which involves family workshops, women’s peace networks, friendship sessions and inter- and intra-community peacebuilding sessions, supports the structures that generate peace – bringing communities together. This year we are planning to join UN agencies, national and international NGOs to celebrate the International Day of Peace.”

Visit their website. Find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Women for Change, Juba, South Sudan

Women for Change empowers women through peacebuilding, education, advocacy and entrepreneurship programmes, and supports women experiencing food insecurity, gender-based violence, and livelihood and health problems.

“This International Day of Peace, we are running Music for Peace (#PeaceJam22) in partnership with the Talent Initiative for Development (TIDE) in Yei. This event promotes peace, cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, using the creative arts as a tool to defy hate and foster peaceful coexistence,” Anna Tazita, Executive Director, told us.

Visit their website. Find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Somali Women Development Centre (SWDC), Mogadishu and Baidoa, Somalia

SWDC believes that when communities support women to become empowered, these women can make positive changes not only in their own lives but also for their communities. SWDC works hard to improve the condition of women and other vulnerable groups, raising their standard of living and thereby strengthening families. Their work includes advocating for the Sexual Offences Bill, building awareness of mental health, addressing drought, providing training and legal aid, and working with communities to provide better gender-based violence referral services. 

“Peace is progress, prosperity and power. The power to take one's place as a citizen and as a member of society.”

Visit their website. Find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Women Advancement Organisation (WAO), Central Equatoria State, South Sudan

WAO has three main women, peace and security objectives: advocating for better policies and support – including mental health – for women who have experienced gender-based violence; changing attitudes towards women and girls and making sure they are included in promoting gender equality; and increasing women and young people's participation in leadership roles, to make peace in South Sudan sustainable.

WAO also works on education and child protection (for instance, by establishing women- and child-friendly spaces outside school hours), improving food security (through voucher assistance, for example), peacebuilding (such as through community dialogue), healthcare (for example, vaccination campaigns), and water, sanitation and hygiene provision – including by distributing sanitary products.

“This International Day of Peace, WAO is mobilising women and girls in Gudele, Lemongaba, Gondokoro and Luri to make the government stand up, listen and enforce laws to protect girls from early marriage and early child-bearing. WAO’s message for the International Day of Peace 2022 is: end child marriage now and other harmful practices among rural and disadvantaged communities to empower women and girls and create an equal and peaceful South Sudan.” Joseph M. Simiyu, programme manager, WAO.

Visit their website. Find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Academy for Peace and Development (APD), Hargeisa, Somaliland

APD works on peacebuilding and reconciliation, research, policy development and education, teaching and training – in particular, it seeks to ensure that peace agreements are respected. In collaboration with Saferworld, APD has established local peacebuilding structures and committees in Kalabaydh, Sool.

“This International Day of Peace, APD is launching a short video showing the historical events, conferences and dialogues that brought peace to Somaliland. The video will be followed by a social media campaign (#APDCelebratesPeaceDay) where we ask people to express what peace means to them and post their quotes on social media. One person’s reflection is especially powerful – Jamac, a traditional elder from Ceeryan, Sanaag, who lost two family members said: "For the sake of peace, I forgave the people behind the death of my two sons""

Visit their website. Find them on Twitter and Facebook.

CAFA Development Organization, Blue Nile, Sudan

“War does not kill love, but love ends wars” – Nahla El Badery Mohamed, writer from Blue Nile state.

CAFA promotes peacebuilding in Blue Nile state, and works on human rights, education, public health, reproductive health, women’s issues and children’s rights. They are working to strengthen dialogue between two tribes, the Funj and the Hausa.

CAFA is joining with other organisations to celebrate the International Day of Peace, and is using its Facebook page to promote and support micro grant initiatives that work on peaceful coexistence.

Find them on Twitter.

Peace Bridge Association (PBA) North Darfur, Sudan

“If you want peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” – Desmond Tutu.

PBA in North Darfur works on peacebuilding, livelihood support, training, democracy and good governance, and water, sanitation and hygiene. It is currently working with young people in Darfur to help them build their skills and develop networks.

This International Day of Peace, PBA is bringing peace activists together in Al-Fashir to share positive stories of peacebuilding. The event will feature presentations, songs, films and an art exhibition.

Quoting the Chinese proverb “it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness”, Osman Eisa Osma, Office Manager of PBA North Darfur, told us, “despite all hard times that we face in life it is important that we should live with hope for tomorrow. Darfur has passed through many challenges and tensions but we as peace activists should always set a good example to others. We need to focus on the connecters and reduce the dividers in order to bring peace to our region and the whole of Sudan.”

Visit their website. Find them on Facebook.

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