PEACEBUILDING AND COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM
FOR CONFLICT AFFECTED COMMUNITIES IN ACEH
P.416-003/2008 – ID-0115
This report covers the dynamic of implementation of Peace Building and Community Empowerment Program for Conflict Affected Communities in Aceh during January to March period. Almost all of the planned activities are successfully implemented.
Some community based conflict transformation and peace sustainability initiatives are executed during this period such as regular meeting of network of community peace cadres; regular discussion forum for local activist, and preparation of partnership program with local government for capacity building workshops for community leaders.
An agreement has been achieved with district level Department of Education and partner schools for implementation of Peace and Justice Education in High Schools in Meulaboh. Unfortunately, the officials from the Department required us to postpone the implementation until they finished Final National Exam in April. Consequently, we have to postpone the planned workshop for development of curriculum and training for teachers until May 15-20. All the preparations for the workshop are in process.
An excellent progress was shown by the women groups. All the women groups in ten villages organized themselves and continue the home-industry activities started last year. Some of the women products are sold in the local supermarkets. Although improvements needed, the groups now have income on regular basis. The improvement includes labelling and packaging and marketing strategy. The registration of the products to Department of Industry and Education are in process.
The self-organization of the farmers’ network is another success story for this period. They already set up executive board and advisory board for the network of farmers. The network made their own plan and organized the implementation of the plans. They are now organizing occultation rubber plantation program for their members.
As part of peace building strategy, the intercommunity network of women and farmers contribute to social revitalization of the conflict affected communities. The meetings and cooperation broaden the horizon of their perspective and relationship. From community empowerment aspect, the active participation of the women and farmers in self-help activities is a good sign of progress.
The initial steps for new program in Beutong Ateuh brought about good result so far. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with the local Pesantren (Islamic Centre) for collaboration in community empowerment program in this area. Considering the complicated problems due to conflict in the past, the openness of the communities in Beutong Ateuh for collaboration with us is a good fortune. The construction of community centre followed by some empowerment activities will start soon in April. Still we have to work hard to gain trust before proceeding with peace building agenda.
The peace campaign and public education materials (newsletter, posters, and stickers) have been published. Unfortunately the organic farming booklet has not finished yet, due to time constraint of the team responsible for that work.
Internally, the first quarter of 2008 was a time for SUNSPIRIT to prepare the team for the whole program. An internal workshop on the program was organized in early February. Two of the program managers got trainings in Bandung and Jogyakarta to be able to take more responsibility in the future. The regular bi-weekly evaluation and planning meeting were also improved the performance of the team.
Finally, the changing in social-political situation and new constellation of conflict in Aceh give us more challenges in implementing our program. But at the same time, there are also opportunities to reinforce out work with the communities and build peace and justice from below.
For detail information, please contact SUNSPIRIT for justice and peace.