September Highlights

Over the last month, the ASC has been involved in a diverse range of activities that have taken place in different parts of the world. We have included a summary of these initiatives here, and encourage you to share news of your own events for publication in future newsletters, as we seek to learn from one another’s work.

Members of the ASC flew to the UK in September to meet partners from the Making All Voices Count (MAVC) project, which was concluded in September. We share here notes from the reflections, including important observations about the understanding of “early warning” and the role of technology in violence prevention. A key lesson from the project was that relationships and trust building, rather than technology, are the most important elements in violence prevention. Communication technologies can help to facilitate healthier relationships, but this is not by any means always the case.

In Myanmar, a long history of oppression has instilled a persistent culture of silence in the country. Silence was a coping mechanism and a survival strategy, but ASC sister organization, the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies is now working with others to open up spaces for dialogue through The People’s Dialogue Initiative.

In South Africa, the ASC team is collecting stories from Somali women for a publication that is intended to document the stories of Somali women living in South Africa in order to raise awareness about the reasons that refugees are coming into the country, to build understanding of the background that drove them here, and also to articulate the gender dynamics associated with being both a refugee and a woman. Members of the team attended a book discussion of Johnny Steinberg’s book “A Man of Good Hope”, documenting the story of a Somali man who travelled from Somalia to Cape Town. The ASC attended the event in an effort to meet others who may be interested in Somali women’s stories, and to gain inspiration from the author.

With the needs of the marginalized in mind, members of the ASC attended a Development Dialogue session held by the Southern African Liaison Office that focused on how to make sure that minority groups and the marginalized are not excluded from the Post-2015 development agenda. Fascinating accounts from speakers working with the LGBTI community, people affected by Albinism, migrants and those that are differently-abled made for an insightful discussion.

As a fun way to declare our support for the legacy that Tata Madiba left, the ASC took part in a 67km relay challenge held annually in honour of the South African legend.

The ASC also took part in several additional meetings and workshops, including a COSATU conference focusing on transformation for Africa. Thematic areas included building international solidarity, the role of the African trade union movement, and lessons for Africa from the global south. Members of ASC also facilitated a session during a leadership-training workshop for health workers, which focused on individual self-reflection and the potential for collaborative forms of leadership.

The ASC is hard at work preparing for the next Gauteng Peacebuilders Awards Ceremony, planned for the 21st of November in Johannesburg. The purpose of the event is to recognize and validate the work of individuals and groups dedicated to achieving peace and harmony within their communities. There is also a plan to hold a Strategic Review and Planning session in late November.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter, and look forward to receiving feedback and contributions from members for our next issue.