At the close of a particularly difficult year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the unanimous adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which reaffirmed the crucial role women play in the field of peace and security. Significant strides have been made over the past two decades to increase women’s participation and incorporate their perspectives into peacebuilding and post-conflict processes, from international diplomacy to community-based engagement. Resolution 1325 was a call to action to many different actors, including, among others:
It has always been a source of angst for ambitious not-for-profit organizations: how to ensure that the organization can sustain- and scale up impact while also building resilience to weather financial or other shocks. Often the focus is on increasing core or unrestricted funding and covering general operating costs through grant overhead.
The COVID-19 pandemic and national responses to it have exacerbated this challenge and, in doing so, have brought into stark relief important structural problems within the not-for-profit sector. What have been perennial issues for many not-for-profits — sustaining impact, financial resilience — are now existential ones.
In recent years, even prior to the pandemic, governments, private foundations and other donors have openly recognized the need to cover a greater portion of not-for-profit organizations’ general operating costs through grant funding. That in itself is a good thing. However, I do not believe this approach, on its own, will lead to long-term resilience of ambitious not-for-profits, nor will it enable them to effectively scale impact. …
As efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak are rightly stepped up, Somalia risks sliding into deeper conflict that would undo years of incremental, but real progress, if we don’t maintain our support to local peace efforts.
This pandemic, beyond its immediate health impact, is causing drastic changes in Somalia which threatens to undermine the progress towards a more peaceful Somalia. The Federal Government and Federal Member states, foreign donor governments, the UN and international agencies, local peace organizations, and international NGOs must redouble their peacebuilding efforts to overcome these changes.
In Somalia it can be too easy to feel overwhelmed by challenges — the threat of al-Shabaab, natural disasters (a catastrophic invasion of locusts, and deadly flooding), and political tensions between the Federal and State governments. But this ignores the incredible achievements of Somali citizens and the steady work of organizations to build a safer country. Government institutions are reestablishing basic services and improving security, and innovative businesses are giving citizens’ new opportunities for livelihoods. …
An eye witness account from the front lines of Sudan’s revolution
On April 11th 2019, President Omar Al Bashir, Sudan’s ruler for more than 30 years, stepped down. His departure came about following months of demonstrations, in which millions of people across the country had come out onto the street.
In the last days of his rule, crowds had begun to gather outside of the military headquarters in Khartoum, in what became perhaps the largest single demonstration of people power in Sudanese history.
Ahmed* was one of the people there. Below is his account of one day in the revolution.
‘There were people as far as the eye could see — hundreds of thousands of us from every walk of life, from every profession, tribe and region; men and women, boys and girls, artists and musicians, religious and secular. …