Funded by the People of Japan through UNDP, the project started few months ago with a mapping exercise in three districts in Grand Cape Mount County, namely (Tewor, Commonwealth and Garwula) in order to identify existing local structures and develop appropriate framework to assess capacity of governance systems and the status of local traditional governance systems. The exercise was followed by a participatory study that brought together diverse stakeholders including security personnel, traditional authorities, local government representatives, women groups, youth, business people and people with disabilities.
Stakeholders acknowledged that there are governing structures in place but they have serious deficits and lack financial, institutional and technical support. As such, border communities are prone to slippages and vulnerable to internal and external penetrations. This resonates with some of P4DP’s study that reveal that the lack of information sharing poses challenge to peace and good governance in the border region. The study also noted that the porosity of borders and lack of effective regulations continue to facilitate cross-border activities and criminals exploits common ethnic and social ties shared by border residents thus needing better collaboration between security guards and local community people. Another take away is traditional, religious and political interferences in the workings of the security by community dwellers are impeding security functions.
Based on findings from the study and in an effort to enhance Public Civic Education and Engagement, P4DP in collaboration with UNDP organized four day Multi stake-Holders training workshops entitled “Conflict Prevention & Mitigation and Local Stake Holders and Citizens responsibilities in the maintenance of peace”.
The well attended trainings brought together more than 80 community leaders, including chiefs, elders, women and youth leaders, physically challenged, local government personnel, security personnel, and local business leaders in Vohnsua and Bo Water Side, respectively. At the various trainings, participants discussed and validated findings from the study but also gained knowledge on Leadership, Conflict prevention and Mediation strategies.
Highlighting the importance of training, one participant said “ this workshop make us to know that we all need to work together with our security people to make our community safe”. Participant’s overwhelmingly agreed to establish Fora for dialogue on contentious issues and engage P4DP to help set up and provide direct link to Early Warning as well undertake measures to reconcile their people locally than looking outside for help.
Findings from the study and deliberations from workshops are now translated to drama and will shortly be aired by both Radio Cape Mount and MANWOPNET as part of the outreach and conflict mediation strategy.