This week, election results are being announced in Sudan. There have been a few incidents of violence, but overall the voting went peacefully. Now Catholic Relief Services hopes the peace will hold as people learn of the results.
As announced last month, CRS is implementing $4 million worth of new peacebuilding projects in Sudan. In the lead-up to the election, we undertook multiple activities to help support peaceful elections in Southern Sudan:
- At the end of February, CRS hosted training in Juba to teach peacebuilding skills to Catholic diocesan justice and peace staff. Two to three people from each of the eight Catholic dioceses in Southern Sudan participated alongside representatives from the Episcopal Church and Ministry of Religious Affairs. Thanks to this “training of trainers” workshop, participants can take election education, conflict analysis and mediation, and other peacebuilding activities to their communities.
- Additional peacebuilding training included government representatives, police, other Church personnel, youth and women’s groups. In total, around 100 people received direct training.
- A radio campaign shared peace messages across the country in 11 languages through the Sudan Catholic Radio Network and Sudan Radio Services.
- CRS conducted an extensive voter education campaign across two states in Southern Sudan, working with all the major churches to disseminate polling information to an estimated 200,000 people during Easter celebrations before the elections.
- CRS helped host the Sudanese Church Leaders Forum, a highly successful event that brought government and church leaders together from across the continent to pave a road for peace in Sudan.
Going forward, CRS is supporting the Kajiko II dialogues, to be led by the Sudan Council of Churches at the end of May. These talks are a reminder of the original Kajiko dialogues of 1997, which helped reunite the south after a violent rift among leaders. Kajiko II discussions will focus on healing today’s rifts in Sudanese communities, bringing together religious, political and civil society leaders.
— Reported by Debbie DeVoe, CRS’ regional information officer for eastern and southern Africa, and Tom Purekal, CRS Sudan’s peacebuilding and governance program manager
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