It is has been eight months since we kicked off the Everyday Peace Indicators (EPI) project in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda and South Sudan, and we are embarking on a new blog series to highlight reflections from our implementing partners in these countries. In the coming weeks, tune in as we post these “partner profiles” and explore what they have learned and hope to still learn from the EPI process. For “Partner Profile #1,” we are pleased to introduce Leila Emdon from the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) in South Africa.
My name is Leila Emdon. I have a Masters in historical studies from the University of Cape Town (UCT). I have recently been appointed by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) to assist with the EPI project in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
I believe that the EPI project promotes a similar vision to IJR, in that it seeks to better communities in South Africa through ground-up approaches to conflict resolution and peacebuilding. I was drawn to the EPI project because I believe communities have the capacity to solve their own problems and organizations such as IJR can help facilitate that process.
Communities in the Western Cape such as Atlantis, De Doorns and Hanover Park live with the challenge of crime and conflict and I hope this project can help them better understand their particular context and their community specific problems.
As I have only been on the project since November, I can only speak about my experience in the community of Atlantis and now helping to organize focus groups in the communities of De Doorns and Hanover Park, where we will begin implementing the EPI project this month.
What struck me about Atlantis was the community’s willingness and eagerness to be part of EPI and their enthusiasm to be part of the process. It made me realize that people in Atlantis are eager to build better communities, and I believe that access to information from the EPI survey can play a part in this process.
As I am in the process of making contacts and setting up focus groups in De Doorns, I have noticed that local NGOs and community members are very helpful and seem enthusiastic about the project. Most significantly, I have found the staff at the De Doorns police station to be very welcoming of the project and have invited us to meet with them when we visit.
We are currently at the planning stage of our work in De Doorns and Hanover Park. I hope to achieve success with the survey there. Success would mean making contacts and alliances with community members, and making sure we have people from all sectors of the community represented in our focus groups and meetings. The survey will be a success if those indicators represent the whole community. I hope that we achieve a high response rate to our survey and that the community feels they can enjoy and benefit from this project.
For more information on the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and their work to build fair, democratic and inclusive societies in Africa, please visit www.ijr.org.za.