On the 23rd of September 2016, the African Diaspora Policy Centre (ADPC) organised a seminar entitled “Partnerships for Peace: Engaging with Diaspora”. During the seminar, an interactive and open exchange of experiences among diaspora organizations, NGOs and policymakers took place, focusing on the challenges and opportunities in creating partnerships in the field of peacebuilding. Building on these experiences, the seminar worked towards identifying next steps and actionable recommendations to establishing and utilizing these partnerships for peace more effectively.
After a word of welcome from the director of ADPC, Awil Mohamoud, Mrs. Juliènne Doppenberg-Difukidi (Tosangana) and Mr. Olivier Muhizi (African Human Rights Network) shared their first-hand experiences in running a diaspora organization in the field of peacebuilding. Both provided some interesting best practices of what partnerships can bring. Whereas Juliènne’s organisation has been deeply involved in the National Action Plan 1325, a partnerships of different organizations and government on issues related to women, peace and security, Olivier recently established a new platform, which links up international NGOs with local human right defenders. Another great example of what type of partnerships exists. Both stressed the importance of working together to be able to contribute to sustainable peace.
On the basis of participants expertise and linkages with their activities, they then split up into peace network groups on either gender, radicalisation or youth. Facilitated by colleagues from WO=MEN, ICCT and The Hague Peace Projects, the groups delved deeper into the challenges and opportunities they face in their work when building partnerships and jointly identified next steps to address these. A key insight from the event was to turn the challenge faced by many diaspora organizations of having little capacity and resources, into the opportunity of joining forces, also with NGOs, when developing projects.
Overall the participants of the seminar expressed a clear interest and willingness to continue this exchange of experiences, to be able to learn from each other. A concrete idea would be to have this continued conversation as a way to actually explore possibilities of establishing partnerships.