Slideshow Banner4 WHAT we do

By Jasper Peet-Martel

Myanmar Country Office Programs Intern

DSC01015Myanmar, ripe with energy for change, is an incredibly diverse country, with over a hundred ethnic groups which all have rich and unique histories. The current conflicts of Myanmar, however, are just as diverse as its people. After many decades of conflict, there are now 16 Ethnic Armed Groups with which the Myanmar Government is in negotiation over a comprehensive Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). As an intern in the Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) Myanmar Country Office, I assist in coordinating and implementing NP’s programs that provide technical assistance to our local non-government organization (NGO) partners. Through these partnerships, we set up systems that work to protect civilians from violent conflict and provide positive structures for dialogue and peace.

Read more: Diary of a Peacekeeper in Myanmar

Midterm Review and Six-Month Planning Workshop

civilian ceasefire monitoringFrom January 5th to 7th, Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) and its partner organization, the Shalom Foundation, held a three-day Midterm Review and Planning Workshop in Yangon, Myanmar, for representatives of the Chin and Mon State Civilian Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism Project. The workshop resulted in the creation of a six-month work plan that will strengthen the implementation of the Civilian Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism Project in Chin and Mon State, a project supported by the European Union.

Read more: Evaluating Civilian Ceasefire Monitoring in Chin and Mon State, Myanmar

By Mel Duncan

smallgirl

"Look at the small girl who came to solve our problems," recounted a hospital nurse describing why NP is effective at preventing violence in Lakes State in South Sudan. Asha Asokan is an NP civilian protection officer from Kerala, India who measures barely 5 feet. The Dinka men of Lakes State often tower above 6' 5".

While small in stature, Asha is a dynamo packed with enthusiasm and experience. She is a lawyer with a masters' degree in Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. Before coming to NP, she worked as a contractor for the UN Peacekeeping Mission (UNMIS) in Sudan.

Read more: The Small Girl and The Big Men

By Nonviolent Peaceforce in South Sudan

Bor Team NPOs Meet UpWhen the civil war broke out in South Sudan, many of our Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) field teams were directly impacted. Many of our national colleagues fled in the midst of the chaotic violence and spent weeks, if not months, trying to reunite with their families. Some lost their homes and even worse, lost family members. Suddenly, the political instability created terrible divisions that caused deep trauma and broken relationships among many communities.

In some of the areas where NP works, thousands of civilians fled into the United Nation bases seeking protection. Our field teams have found themselves working in areas that are largely divided along ethnic lines, both inside the "protection of civilian" (PoC) sites and outside, in towns where the residents from different ethnic groups were formerly friends and neighbors.

Read more: Bringing Together Staff in Bor, South Sudan

Children of Peace

Here is a heartfelt "Thank You" from our Country Director in South Sudan, Tiffany Easthom, to supporters of our programs. During the past year, staff members and the people of the region they serve have been through conflict, tragedy and triumph. And our supporters have been an integral part of the growth of the programs in South Sudan. This report shares how the Sudanese children, in particular, are processing their experiences and finding "Peace".

By Abdul Raheem Mohamed Zulfi, Nonviolent Peaceforce Team Leader in South Sudan

Zulfi Diary of Peacekeeper 2It was Friday afternoon and I was sitting with my Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) team members in a small ‘Rakuba.’ This is a shelter made of grass and poles brought from local market and built for multiple purposes. We use the space mainly for our office work and frequently as a venue for meetings or training workshops.

“It is 3:00 o’clock. In another half an hour time, there is a meeting organized by our Child Protection Committee (CPC) with Angolo community in Block 12,” said Essa, one of our staff from the Nuban community. We quickly finished our discussion on the tool to assess protection concerns of children. Particularly to assess protection concerns for children in the market in Yida Refugee settlement. This is a space where NP has closely been working with Nubian communities since the establishment of the camp.

Read more: Diary of a Field Staff

“I got the tools from the Nonviolent Peaceforce training to manage my three wives. I applied the concepts; now my family lives in [a] peaceful manner.”

 

Kalthok training Ajang and cattle keepersThis was the positive feedback given by one man after participating in a Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) community protection training in South Sudan, where polygamy is a common cultural practice. Not, perhaps, the application that NP had in mind, but we always appreciate hearing from community members that they find NP’s work valuable. We are thrilled when participants take ownership of the violence reduction concepts and tools that NP shares, adapting them to their own culture and context. This is how NP remains true to one of our key principles: primacy of local actors. In a recent community protection training the NP Mingkaman team was able to inspire community members to this, and other acts of nonviolent conflict resolution. This could only be achieved through an ongoing process of collaboration with the community.

Read more: Forming a Community Protection Team in Kalthok

Bor Team

NP has been working in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, since June 2012.  Throughout December 2013 and January 2014, violence consumed vast swathes of South Sudan, and Bor changed hands four times; the town was devastated.  Residences and market stalls were razed, the hospital and university facilities were ravaged, and numerous humanitarian compounds were looted.  Nearly all of the civilians fled if they were able.

At the start of January 2014, NP was able to return to Bor and work with those of the community, mostly Nuer, who had sought refuge within the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Protection of Civilians (PoC) area in Bor. 

Read more: The next phase in Bor