Mohamed Hasaballa Osman is a community leader and chairman of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee (PRC) for UmTagouk in Darfur, Sudan. Many who live in this region are nomads and farmers. Water, which is used for cleaning, cooking, drinking and tending crops and livestock, is scarce and difficult to access due to the arid climate. In situations like this, it is easy for underlying ethnic and tribal tensions to quickly turn into violent conflict. To help maintain peace within the community over this life-sustaining resource, Mr. Osman and his PRC are tasked with mediating conflicts over use of the water pumps provided by World Relief.
One afternoon, members of two opposing groups were waiting in line to use the water pump when an altercation escalated between two women. On both sides, there were severe injuries. Threats mounted and weapons were compiled. A deadly fight nearly ensued. Thankfully, Mr. Osman and the members of his PRC had been trained by World Relief in mediation and conflict resolution techniques, and were informed of the conflict before it spiraled out of control.
Mr. Osman and other PRC leaders were able to help facilitate dialogue and mediation between the two groups. Compensation was made to the victims, and the groups came to an agreement that allowed them to co-exist while ensuring each group had fair access to the water pump by adhering to the guidelines established by World Relief. Through several hearings, both groups came to a better understanding of their cultural differences that originally led to the conflict. Because of the peacebuilding expertise of people like Mr. Osman and the other members of the UmTagouk PRC, lives were saved and peace was brought to the region.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9
Peacemaking is a Biblically-based, long-term strategy for preventing and addressing man made conflict. It directly addresses the tensions woven into the fabric of societies that often lead to conflict and violence.