The two-day PeaceCapacity workshop in London provided an enriching experience bringing together Ogaden diaspora youth from across the UK. The event facilitated intensive dialogue and discussions on the role of youth participation in peace processes. In the context of a deeply complex and intractable conflict such as the Ogaden, it was refreshing for us to be able to reflect on the role of historically marginalised groups in shaping peace processes and consider concrete ways in which we could actively participate in such processes both in the Horn of Africa and in the diaspora.
The workshop was illuminating and informative. After attending this workshop, I feel equipped with insights concerning the importance of engaging local actors in peacebuilding so as to determine the course of peace processes. As a student, I particularly appreciated learning about how to overcome other actors’ negative uses of technology, and how to use it myself for good. Conflict sensitivity was also important to learn about, as it will affect how I approach my employment in future.
Our organisation is called the Committee of Concerned Somalis (CCS). It is a local non-governmental organisation which was founded right after the end of the civil war in the early 1990s. With a record of being one of the oldest organisations formed in Somaliland, CCS has a rich history of providing support to the community through various developmental ventures, with particular attention towards the marginalised groups of the community. The topics covered during the workshop corresponded to how the marginalised groups can participate in the peacebuilding of Somaliland.
It was an amazing training. The trainer made the sessions fun and interested whilst also facilitating a participatory environment and therefore strong cooperation between the candidates. I learned a lot, not only about peace and pre-conflict management, but also about my own and others’ experience and how the lessons we identified can be applied to peacebuilding here as well as regionally and globally. I have shared these lessons with my organisation, and we have begun to build these into our planning of activities and grant applications. We have also adapted our employment practices of interns to be more conflict sensitive, for the sake of contributing to the peacebuilding effort.
The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI Kosovo) is the principal non-governmental organisation engaged in the protection and promotion of the rights and interests of all minority communities in Kosovo. We very much appreciated therefore the advice and skilled tips regarding the use of social media for our purposes and updated our Facebook filters and settings after the PeaceCapacity workshop. Other topics covered during the workshop, such as the reflection on the cooperation of NGOs with the police, NGOs’ anti-hate speech work and other awareness-raising campaigns were familiar to us, due to more than 15 years’ experience working with minority rights concerns, however, it gave us an interesting overview in the work of others.