microfinance

Microfinance: Peacebuilding With a Savings Program

Sudan SILC

By bringing people together to save and lend money, SILC groups in Sudan are building bonds of friendship that help promote peaceful coexistence. Photo by Debbie DeVoe/CRS

John Katunga, CRS’ regional technical advisor for peacebuilding and justice in East Africa, shares thoughts from his recent visit to Khartoum, Sudan.

A few months ago, I traveled to Sudan to explore ways to integrate peacebuilding activities into our vocational training initiatives and development of Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) in the Khartoum area. Little did I know that peacebuilding was already taking place on its own.

I sat down with two of the 50 SILC groups our local partners have helped form in camps near Khartoum housing people displaced by various conflicts. I learned that these groups are bringing together very diverse women—women of different religions, ethnic backgrounds and regions of Sudan.

The women told me that through their SILC groups they had created strong bonds of friendship. The members of one group also shared that they have pledged to address any conflicts that arise internally before calling upon external assistance.

How extraordinary that groups aimed at helping people to improve their financial status through savings and access to loans are also strengthening communal relationships and social cohesion. What might happen if we take this even further by offering SILC groups basic training in problem solving, conflict resolution and negotiation skills? By equipping groups with the rudiments of peacebuilding, we can increase their ability to diffuse destructive conflicts and help them serve as a role model for peaceful coexistence in their communities. This is an exciting opportunity.

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One Response to “Microfinance: Peacebuilding With a Savings Program”

  1. Women Work for A Better Sudan | CRS Voices Says:

    […] So a member of my team and I have come to the capital of Sudan, Khartoum, where CRS has been implementing the Khartoum IDP women empowerment project by helping displaced women form Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) for several years.* […]

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