Peacebuilding through Community Development Projects in South Sudan: A case of Terekeka State
Despite the fact that a lot of research has been done about community development in relation to peacebuilding, there are only a few studies available on the contribution of community development projects to peacebuilding processes. The intention of this study is to fill the gap by investigating the contribution of the community development projects in peacebuilding process Terekeka, South Sudan. The study adopted qualitative approaches. Two community development projects were selected for the study, that is, the South Sudan Livelihood and Development Project (SSLDP) and the Food Security and Livelihood Project (FSLP). The total number of participants was 38 individuals for in-depth interviews. In addition, 32 key informants were interviewed. Eight focus group discussions (FGDs) were carried out for both projects studied with youth, women and elderly. The results of findings were discussed after the process of data collection, with help of some study participants. The study revealed actors’ positive perceptions of the contributions of community development projects in peacebuilding process, which included nurturing friendly attitudes among the project participants; promoting unity and restoring positive communication; building confidence and trust; building a sense of tolerance and love; overcoming fear and suspicions; enabling positive collaboration; creating a bond between members; and enabling capacity building for peacebuilding engagement. At the completion of this study, the Community Development Projects studied were reported to have contributed to building and restoration of relationships between individuals and groups, in that they provided a favourable space in which negative-dehumanising attitudes were overcome, while positive, re-humanising ones were fostered: from fear to fearlessness; from suspicion to trust; from division to union. The study suggests that if community development projects are to contribute effectively in peacebuilding process in Terekeka, they need to build on indigenous institutions and local actors. Although it is acknowledged that Community Development Projects are not the panacea for all problems, the findings of this study point to their positive role.