Restoring Peace through Social and Economic Reintegration
In July 2011 the largest country in Africa became two nations, the Republic of Sudan and the newly independent Republic of South Sudan. Both countries remain among the largest in Africa, and both face highly complex development challenges, including conflict, drought, famine, and poverty. Key to strengthening the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the civil war is the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of thousands of ex-combatants. This will enhance short-term security by capitalizing on peace dividends while contributing to longer term peace and stability.
IRD is helping to facilitate and accelerate the economic and social reintegration of former combatants into civil society, contributing to broader reconciliation and recovery across Sudan. Through the Provision of Reintegration Services for Ex-Combatants in Small Business/Vocational Training (RSSC-IV) program, IRD implements reintegration activities in close collaboration with UNDP and the Sudan Demobilization and Disarmament Reintegration Commission (SDDRC) to provide ex-combatants with civilian status and the support to develop sustainable livelihoods.
IRD provides entrepreneurship training and small business reintegration packages tailored to participant skills and capabilities, establishing the framework, environment, initial guidance, input, and linkages needed for improved knowledge about available business opportunities. The program used mobile caseworker teams and small business development hubs as basic structures to offer comprehensive business development services. Since June 2010, over 2,472 reintegration packages have supported ex-combatants, including women and persons living with disabilities. They have opened tea and coffee shops, mobile phone vendor stalls, bicycle and tier puncture repair shops, herb and spice stalls, and building material, masonry tools, and brickmaking enterprises.
Identifying sustainable reintegration opportunities in the small business sector in the Republic of Sudan is essential to the program’s success. IRD has mapped out opportunities created by the private and public sectors, as well as planned local and international investment initiatives to highlight potential complementary small business ideas. IRD emphasizes the importance of conducting market and value chain analyses and gathering business intelligence, and advises participants on how to start small enterprises, manage cash flows, and reinvest in their businesses without exceeding available resources. During the business plan development stage, participants also explore possible linkages to existing businesses, including those they might already own or are owned by their families.
For women ex-combatants, the program offers additional counseling on their social welfare and their dependents, along with advice on collaboration with other women to form a support network and pursue business options specifically for women. This component gives them the support and knowledge necessary to start a business venture while allowing them to meet family obligations.