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.