Monday, 21 September 2009

Forgotten Diaries small grant final Report for peace brigade SMALL GRANT project.

Last week was the final week to undertake the remaining components of the FD small grant community action project entitled “Teenage peace brigade” to promote peace building, non violence conflict resolution and tolerance in local schools and the community.

The whole activities were carried out effectively with the full commitment of project team, partner organizations and newly recruited activist.

Three discussion forums in three schools and two public debates in the city administration HALL were held here in bahir dar city where we have recruited and trained children at schools to mobilize their peers and the community for peace building and non violence conflict resolution initiatives.

Those public debates were attended by students, parents and more of local residents consisted from all walks of life and the main objective of organizing these events was to introduce Forgotten Diaries project, promote teenage peace brigade community action project and to mobilize the community for the implantation of the newly introduced techniques and tools of the Forgotten diary small grant project.

Both discussion forums and public debate were co-chaired by club leaders and school administrators

Most participants of the public debate supported and appreciated the introduction of non violence conflict resolution and peace building techniques in the community at large and in schools in specific but some of attendants argued that it was not the right time to introduce these techniques to the schools or to the community because our priority issue isn’t conflict but are gender based violence, poverty and school drop. The debates continued for about 90 minutes and the outcomes of the panel discussion were similar to that of the events organized two weeks ago in the rest three schools while the outcomes of the public debates were the following

Establishment of student-teachers- parents committee (STPC) to undertake activities in the future
Prepared plan of action to arrange periodical meetings and gatherings in schools and our of schools.

Even after the completion of the project club leaders will mobilize their peers in their respective Schools and will organizes awareness raising campaigns and outreach programs.

The final report will be sent to you soon with relevant receipts of expenses made to undertake activities of the project, photos captured at events and stories of participants.

Prepared by Amare Abebaw
Project coordinator bahir-dar, Ethiopia

Monday, 14 September 2009

Progress report three on “Teenage peace brigade” project

By Amare Abebew project coordinator

Having received the second installment of the project from project coordinators other components of the project were arranged according to the pre determined schedule.

After the successful completion of our training on peace building, conflict resolution and leadership t selected students, the trainees were expected to mobilize their peer and the school community to introduce on peace building and conflict resolution techniques in their community, among the effective strategies we wanted to use to introduce these techniques were undertaking discussion forums and public debates in schools to initiate discussion in the school community about the issues.

Among the selected six schools Three schools were the first to start this outreach program in the project area, recruiting students in schools was started earlier this month and some of newly recruited students attended our discussion forums in their schools.

Speech of the principals of the schools were the opening of each discussion forums, the maximum capacity each discussion forum can host is predetermined to be 30 and invitation to participants of these forums was made according to that and to make sure more diverse community members attended the forums we invited some families of students, government officials, teachers and students of the schools, the three discussion forums were held in three schools at the same time and our club leaders showed their commitment by effectively coordinating these discussion forums.

Topics of the discussion forums were

* Cause of conflicts in our schools

* Consequences of conflicts in our schools

* How can we work together to resolve these conflicts peacefully

* How to prevent conflicts from being occurred

And the duration of the discussion forums was around 2 hours

The conclusion and consensuses reached at the end of the forums were valuable to work more consistently in schools and by this week the rest three schools will organize their discussion forums in their schools.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Somaliland: Street children "becoming the new gangsters"

The number of street children in Hargeisa, capital of Somaliland, is on the rise as more Ethiopian children cross the border in search of a better life.The immigrant children are adding to the burden of local street children, most of whom have been forced on to the streets by drought and insecurity within Somaliland and further south, in Somalia.“You can see old women accompanying about 20 children, of different ages, crossing the border into Somaliland from Ethiopia. These women may be their grandmothers, aunts or mothers,” Khadar Nour, chairman of the Hargeisa Child Protection Network (HCPN), told IRIN. "The children, who are mainly from the Oromo [region of Ethiopia], beg in the streets of Hargeisa with their mothers," Nour said. Some work as shoe shiners, sending their earnings to relatives in Ethiopia.Hargeisa is also a popular transit point for those seeking to travel further. “About 100 to 200 immigrant children cross the border from Ethiopia into Somaliland [annually] on their way to [the self-declared autonomous region of] Puntland, or to Yemen,” he said.Poverty and family break-ups have also fuelled the rise in numbers. There are about 3,000 children, most of them boys between five and 18, living on Hargeisa's streets.Crime threatWith the rising numbers, officials are concerned about an upsurge in crime. “They [the street children] are becoming a threat to the town's stability,” said Nour.“When they grow up, they still find themselves living in difficult conditions; it is for this reason that they grab mobile phones."Consequently, a number of the children are now in conflict with the law. In August, Nour said, a 16-year-old was sentenced to death in a Berbera regional court after being found guilty of murder. "The grown-up street children have become the new gangsters," Mohamed Ismail Hirsi, Hargeisa's Central Police Station commander, told IRIN."In the last 72 hours, we have arrested more than 30 street children who have committed crimes such as stealing mobile phones in different parts of the town."

In the past two years, some 5,000 knives and other weapons, which are commonly used in robberies, have been recovered from the street children, prompting calls for more focused interventions."People say good words in workshops, but few interventions for street children have been [implemented]," said Nour of HCPN, which recently started providing food and education support for the children.Once arrested, the children are charged as adults because a 2008 juvenile justice law has yet to be implemented.Glue sniffingThe children living rough are turning to drugs. "I use glue because when first I came to the streets I saw my friends sniffing it," Ahmed Omar, 12, told IRIN. "Whenever I use it, I am able to survive a difficult situation."The lack of a family support system also means more children may end up on the streets, as Abdi-Qani Ahmed’s experience illustrates. "When my mother and father divorced, there was no one left to take care of me," Ahmed, 11, said. "I used to get my food from restaurants in Hargeisa where I fed on leftovers.”During Ramadan, however, few if any restaurants are open. "I have to wait to see if someone gives me something to eat or not," he said.Living on the streets puts the children at risk of abuse from other street children as well as strangers. For protection, the children often seek refuge outside the police station at night.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Training on peace building, conflict resolution and club management was given to forgotten dairies peace brigade leaders in Ethiopia

Last week we have successfully delivered training on peace building, conflict resolution and club management to forgotten diaries peace brigade leaders here in bahir dar city, Ethiopia located on 560 far from our capital city Addis Ababa thanks to the small grant we I have been awarded from forgotten diaries.

The training was given by expert who has experience in providing training and event organizing more over volunteers of youth association and Green Ethiopia took important part to make sure that we delivered the training successfully.

30 selected students from 6 elementary and junior schools attended this Training and 40 % of the participants were girls, to minimize cost we used the meeting hall of one school to undertake the training, and it was given for 6 days from august 2-8, 2009.

At the program’s conclusion, participants were able to

Ø Identify factors that create conflicts

Ø Understand four basic behavioral styles and know how to adjust to each for conflict prevention

Ø Appreciate how cultural and background diversity affect interpretations of situations.

Ø Exercise listening skills taught in the program to improve the chances for open communication.

Ø Evaluate conflicts to determine if they can be resolved.

Ø Implement a procedure to resolve problems that have viable solutions.

Ø Seek third-party facilitators when solutions are not readily available.

Ø Identify possible negotiation outcomes.

Ø List the eight steps of the negotiation process.

Ø Understand and identify different behavioral styles and adapt as necessary.

Ø Apply techniques for successful negotiation by successfully answering case studies and participating in practice cases.

Ø Recognize dirty tricks and tactics.

Ø Demonstrate the use of successful concession making.

Ø Develop key management skills, including change management, time management, critical thinking, delegation, problem solving, presentation strategies, communications, strategic planning, and feedback techniques.

Ø Build trust with their peers

Photo: Trainees during group work

The methods of the training were lectures, group discussions, exercises and plenary session and much time was given to participants to allow them share their taught and fillings.

At the end of the training participants were grouped according to their schools where they come from and they scheduled programs to undertake public debates and discussion forums in their respective schools in addition to establishing peace brigade club in their compounds.

each school has 5 delegates and the delegates were gathered to select their chair person, vice chair person, treasurer and 2 school peace brigades out of 6 are going to be led by girls for the for a period of one year from now on, the selection of leaders was made in democratic and transparent way this is one of the means we have to show trainees that when they want to do something it should be democratic and the did it well.

We interviewed some of the participants at the end of the training whether their expectation about the training were met and they responded that they were able to know tools and techniques of peace building, club management and leadership and they hope that they will get technical and financial supports needed to launch those proposed initiative in their schools.

the next step of this project is organizing public debates and discussion forums in these schools in addition to recruiting members in the school and out of school communities for this purpose two important things will be done soon to properly manage these events the first thing is getting the next payment from Forgotten diaries since we utilized the payment of the project according to the plan and allocating volunteers of youth association and Green Ethiopia to assist the newly appointed peace brigade leaders in arranging the events.

Your comments are well come

Prepared by Amare Abebaw

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Clinton threatens Eritrea action

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned that the US will "take action" against Eritrea if it does not stop supporting militants in Somalia.

She said after talks with Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, that Eritrea's actions were "unacceptable".
She also said the US would expand support for Somalia's unity government.
Eritrea denies supporting Somalia's al-Shabab militants, who are trying to overthrow Somalia's government.
Al-Shabab is growing in strength and 250,000 Somalis have fled their homes in fighting between militants and government forces over the past three months.


Mrs Clinton was holding the talks with the UN-backed Somali leader, a moderate Islamist, on the second day of her African tour.

At a joint news conference with him after the meeting, she said: "It is long past time for Eritrea to cease and desist its support of al-Shabab and to start being a productive rather than a destabilising neighbour.
"We are making it very clear that their actions are unacceptable. We intend to take action if they do not cease."
She added: "There is also no doubt that al-Shabab wants to obtain control of Somalia to use it as a base from which to influence and even infiltrate surrounding countries and launch attacks against countries far and near."
Mrs Clinton said if al-Shabab obtained a haven in Somalia "it would be a threat to the United States".

The US has ruled out sending its forces to fight insurgents in Somalia.
But the AFP news agency quoted a state department official as saying on Thursday that the US supply of arms and ammunition to Somalia would be doubled from 40 tonnes to 80.
Eritrean officials have repeatedly denied supporting al-Shabab, calling the allegations a "fabrication" of US intelligence.
Several Somali Islamist groups operated from Eritrea after being ousted from the capital, Mogadishu, when Ethiopian troops entered Somalia in 2006.
Before the talks on Thursday, Mrs Clinton honoured the victims of the August 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in a wreath-laying ceremony in Nairobi.
More than 220 people were killed and 5,000 injured in the first major attack by al-Qaeda on US targets.
AP news agency quoted her as saying that the embassy site was a reminder of "the continuing threat of terrorism, which respects no boundaries, no race, ethnicity or religion, but is aimed at disrupting and denying the opportunity of people to make their own decisions and to lead their own lives".

There are reports that al-Shabab - the Somali Islamist group which favours strict Islamic law and is accused of links to al-Qaeda - is gaining support from militants around the world.
Earlier this week, police in Australia arrested several men, charging them with planning suicide attacks on a base in Sydney and saying they were linked to al-Shabab.
The BBC's Will Ross in Nairobi says President Ahmed needs all the support he can get. Pro-government forces are only in control of a small section of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Our correspondent points out it is far too dangerous for the American secretary of state to venture into Somalia, as the fighting continues.
Kenya violence
Somalia's foreign minister told the BBC's Network Africa programme that Washington's support for his government was a "golden opportunity".
"It is absolutely clear that the people of Somalia are tired... sick and tired of war, sick and tired of chaos," he said.

The US admits it has supplied pro-government forces in Somalia with over 40 tonnes of weapons and ammunition this year, and another delivery of weapons is predicted, says our correspondent.
But there are growing fears that the Horn of Africa country - which has been without an effective central government since 1991 - risks becoming a haven for terrorists.
On Wednesday, Mrs Clinton held talks in Nairobi with Kenya's president and prime minister.
America's top diplomat described as "disappointing" Kenya's failure to investigate a bout of violence that left at least 1,300 people dead after the disputed December 2007 presidential election.
Addressing African leaders at Wednesday's economic summit, Mrs Clinton said the continent had "enormous potential for progress".
But she stressed that harnessing that potential would require democracy and good governance.
During her 11-day trip Mrs Clinton will also visit South Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cape Verde.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Australia detains terror suspects

Australian police have arrested four people in the city of Melbourne after uncovering what they say was a plot to launch a suicide attack.

The group was planning to carry out the attack on an army base, police said.
More than 400 officers were involved in searching 19 properties across the city before dawn on Tuesday.
The suspects are Australian nationals of Somali and Lebanese descent; one man, aged 25, has been charged with conspiring to plan a terrorist act.
Nayaf El Sayed, from the Glenroy district of Melbourne, was remanded in custody until 26 October.
He did not enter a plea or apply for bail, and refused to stand for the magistrate in court.

His lawyer told the hearing: "He believes he should not stand for any man except God."
Police were granted extra time to question three others - Saney Aweys, Yacqub Khayre and Abdirahman Ahmed.
A fifth man, who had been detained earlier, was also being questioned about the alleged plot.
"Police believe members of a Melbourne-based group have been undertaking planning to carry out a terrorist attack in Australia and [are] allegedly involved in hostilities in Somalia," a police statement said.
"The men's intention was to actually go into the army barracks and to kill as many soldiers as they could before they themselves were killed," said Tony Negus, acting chief commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.
Holsworthy Barracks on the outskirts of Sydney was one of the planned targets, according to police.

The attack would have been the most serious terrorist attack on Australian soil, Mr Negus added.
"Members of the group have been actively seeking a fatwa or religious ruling to justify a terror attack on Australia," he said.
Prosecutors told the court they had evidence some of the men had taken part in training and fighting in Somalia.
They also said there were phone conversations, text messages and surveillance footage, including footage of one of the suspects outside the Holsworthy army base, linking the suspects to an alleged attack.
The court heard the men planned to seek a fatwa, or religious ruling, to support an attack on the Holsworthy army base.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said: "The sobering element of today's development is the reminder to all Australians that the threat of terrorism is alive and well, and this requires continued vigilance on the part of our security authorities."
The country's security level is unchanged at medium, where it has been since 2003.
The police said the raids followed a seven-month operation involving several state and federal agencies.
Police believe those arrested are linked to the Somali-based al-Shabab group, which seeks to overthrow the weak UN-backed Somali government and is believed to have links to al-Qaeda.

Hillary Clinton to pledge US support for Somalia again al-Shabaab terrorists

The US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has arrived in east Africa to pledge America's help in confronting the growing international threat posed by Islamist terrorists in Somalia

Her visit to Kenya, where she is due to meet Somalia's embattled president, began as Australia was still reeling from the arrest of four men who had allegedly plotted a Mumbai-style assault on an army barracks in Sydney and have links to the al-Shabaab terrorist group based in Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab, which is inspired by al-Qaeda, has long threatened to export its jihadist campaign outside the borders of the failed state. Western intelligence officials have been growing increasingly concerned about its potential to strike beyond the Horn of Africa.

The Daily Telegraph also reported this week that the US Secret Service had investigated a plot linked to al-Shabaab that had targeted President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony in Washington in January.
Mrs Clinton is expected to offer Somalia increased US support to boost the efforts of its president, Sheikh Sharif, to crush the widening al-Shabaab insurgency which, like the president, is based in Mogadishu.
In June, Washington shipped 40 tons of weapons and ammunition to Mr Sharif's government.
The US state department considers his fledgling government as a key ally in combating the group, which now controls most of Somalia.
"People have always been somewhat leery about making al-Shabaab out to be an organisation capable of international terrorism," said EJ Hogendoorn, the Horn of Africa specialist at the International Crisis Group in Nairobi.
"But they've made pretty provocative statements about their willingness to take jihad to other countries, and what we have seen in Australia is clearly a very worrying development."
This makes Mrs Clinton's meeting on Thursday with Mr Sharif - the highest level contact by a US official with Somalia's moderate Islamist government - all the more important.
Just three years ago, Mr Sharif was co-chairman of the Islamic Courts Union, an Islamist group which brought brief stability to Somalia but was suspected by Washington of harbouring al-Qaeda members.
Now, in the face of the al-Shabaab onslaught, the president offers "the best possible chance for restoring stability to southern Somalia", said Johnnie Carson, Washington's assistant secretary of state for African affairs, ahead of Mrs Clinton's visit.
"We think that the problems in southern Somalia have started to bleed regionally and internationally," he said, as he flagged US readiness to provide "additional assistance" to Mr Sharif's administration.
"We think that the support for Sheikh Sharif and his government offers an opportunity to be able to restore some stability, fight against the Somali Islamic extremists of al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, the two groups that are working against them."
It is unclear what help could be on the table during Thursday's meeting, which will be held on the sidelines of a US-Africa trade conference in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.
Mr Sharif's authority extends barely half a dozen blocks from the presidential palace in his ruined capital, Mogadishu, and that is largely enforced by a beleaguered force of African Union peacekeepers. Al-Shabaab controls almost all of the rest of southern and central Somalia.
There are grave concerns that US arms shipments will bolster al-Shabaab's claim of foreign interference in Somalia, a key plank in its call for foreign fighters to join its jihad.
"It is an impossibly delicate line that they have to tread," said a Western diplomat in Nairobi.
"Sharif clearly needs more muscle to combat al-Shabaab, but if it's the US which provides that, it makes al-Shabaab stronger. It's a vicious and potentially even more deadly circle."
More than 18,000 people have died and up to 930,000 now rely on international food aid since fighting between al-Shabaab and Mr Sharif's transitional federal government erupted last year.


Saturday, 1 August 2009

Teenage peace brigade project weekly progress

Dear All: hope my email finds you in a good health and spirit

Apologies for being too late to update you about my Teenage peace brigade project, on those days when I was trying to start the project, some conditions forced me to travel to the capital city Addis Ababa for visa and then to Amsterdam, the Netherlands for training again one more time I would like to ask apologies both from the coordinators and participants. Accepted? Let me continue…….

Before informing you what we have done this week, let me brief you about Teenage peace brigade project, since forgotten diaries project is helping us to transform conflicts in to peace and I have a strong belief that this initiative should be applied at community/grass root levels then I decided to introduce peaceful conflict resolution tools and techniques to children and teenage in my community. Sp that they can mobilize their peers, the school communities and the society as a whole.

To introduce these tools and techniques we will establish peace brigades at 6 schools and training will be given to nominated leaders of these brigades then to reach, the school community, partner organizations and the society at large; public debates and discussion forums will be organized, we have identified partner organizations that can work with us to delver this project effectively.

Scaling up best learning of this project is the main thing we hope to achieve in addition to making this initiative successful even after the end of the project implementation period.

Thanks to Youth Action for Change and the funding agency, we launched my project this week the first thing I did was establishing a steering committee that can control the over all activities of the project, members of the committee were represented from Amhare youth Association, Green and Wealthy Ethiopia, schools selected for the project and local government representatives, they are five in number. The reason I prefer to establish this committee was to show transparency and share responsibility in the community and to avoid any possible interruption of the project if I am not available in the future by any means.

The committee selected 30 of which 20 are children and the rest 10 are teenage to take part in the training to be held for 6 days which will start by the coming Monday, each school represented 5 students 40 % of trainees are girls to ensure gender balance.

The training will be given by an experienced expert and it will cover major topics such as peace building, conflict resolution and club management and methodologies are lecture, group work, exercise and plenary session.

Glad to read your comments

Amare Abebaw, Ethiopia