Mercy Corps: Capacity building for local communities

Towards an Inclusive Peace 2019

30/07/2019
Emilie Tankora

No-one is here by chance. We don’t get involved in peacebuilding without having a story linked to it.

Emilie Tankora, Caux Forum, 12 July 2019

It is 12 July 2019 and the last session of the Towards an Inclusive Peace conference. While attention has focused successively on the prevention of violent extremism, community resilience and the protection of peacebuilders, today’s plenary is highlighting a holistic approach to the promotion of peace, taking Mercy Corps as an example. Represented at the Caux Forum by Emilie Tankora and Alliou Traore, Mercy Corps works in almost forty countries. The international non-governmental organisation works in the areas of humanitarian assistance, food security, conflict management and peacebuilding.

 

Emilie Tankora Alliou

 

Two Faces of Mercy Corps 

Emilie Tankora is a programme specialist for social cohesion, peace and conflict in Niger, while Alliou Traore is coordinator for peacebuilding programmes in Mali. As part of the regional strategy in the Sahel, Mercy Corps’ programme teams work together to strengthen the organization’s cross-border collaboration.

Emilie studied philosophy before getting involved in the area of migration in France. In 2007 she moved to Niger to work in the area of development with the NGO EIRENE. She joined Mercy Corps in 2019.

Alliou comes from Côte d’Ivoire. A decade ago, he was involved in the mediation of a land dispute which made him realise his professional purpose: work for justice and the communities. ‘Peacebuilding has human beings at its core,’ explains Alliou. This helps him in the work he does at the moment which is in a difficult context.

In Mali, in addition to armed groups, there are rebels, jihadists and radical groups as well as rivalries between communities and attacks on the United Nations mission (MINUSMA), and the French and Malian forces. ‘Giving hope to local communities’ is the mission he gave himself almost a decade ago.

 

TIP 2019 audience

 

A Holistic Approach

Mercy Corps is working both on a humanitarian response looking at subsistence methods, agriculture and access to water, and on a longer-term approach. It is trying to strengthen community resilience and promote social cohesion.

The approach is localised and integrated. Initially the aim is to identify the communities’ points of resilience and vulnerability. The communities then implement, in partnership with Mercy Corps, projects to strengthen their resilience. ‘What’s most important is understanding. Each village has its own story,’ says Emilie.

In the Tillabery region in Niger, Mercy Corps studies highlighted the vulnerabilities and resilience of local communities. The main points of vulnerability are due to a weak state presence which negatively impacts education as well as a lack of economic opportunities and difficult access to resources. Resilience comes from intra and inter community dialogue and religion which allows actors to connect around central values of peace and love.

Two projects have been set up by the community: Youth ACT which is about the development of economic opportunities and the inclusion of young people in the decision-making process, and the PEACE project which is an action research project. The hypothesis is that strengthening cohesion increases community resilience to violent extremism.

 

TIP 2019 hands

 

The Caux Forum as place for meetings and exchanges

Thanks to the contact between the Mercy Corps office and the Initiatives of Change office, Emilie and Alliou have been able to share their experiences during the Towards an Inclusive Peace conference.

Alliou tells me that this is the first time he has shared his personal experience. ‘The Caux Forum’s philosophy, which is based on human potential, is in line with Mercy Corps’ vision. Be the change you want to see in the world,’ he continues. Emilie agrees. She talks about her all-encompassing work promoting strong values such as tolerance, sharing and inclusion.

In 2019, Mercy Corps’ example highlighted the need to adopt a local approach. The participants of Towards and Inclusive Peace all agree: we need to go beyond security approaches to prevent violent extremism and promote peace.

 

Text: Apolline Foedit

Photos: Paula Mariane

Featured Story
Off

related stories

Summer Academy 2021 screenshot square

Forging a network of problem-solvers to build a secure and sustainable future

The Summer Academy on Climate, Land and Security 2021 brought together 29 participants from 20 countries. From Egypt and Senegal to the United States and Thailand, zoom windows opened for six hours ev...

Salima Mahamoudou 21 July 2021 FDFA workshop CDES 2021

Remaking a world in peril

The Caux Dialogue on Environment and Security (CDES) 2021 ran online from 20 July until 30 July, for the second consecutive year, comprising three open plenaries and seven workshops. This year’s discu...

CL 2021 Hope square

A Journey from Uncertainty to Possibility

2021’s Creative Leadership conference took participants on a six-day journey ‘From Uncertainty to Possibility’. Between 25 to 31 July around 150 online participants living in over 50 countries engaged...

FDFA Baobabcowherd-1 Noah Elhardt through WikiCommons square with logos

A pathway to peace and prosperity in West and Central Africa

In the context of their partnership, Initiatives of Change Switzerland (IofC) and the Peace and Human Rights division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs organised a webinar on the them...

LPM report 2021 square

Peacemakers in the making

‘I am super happy to have been part of the Learning to be a Peacemaker course – we learned the true colours of Islam!’ wrote 18-year-old high-school graduate Nma Dahir, from Erbil, capital of the Kurd...

Choir Musical Stories

Musical Stories from Caux

‘What a magnificent presentation of stories and music’, commented one of the participants of the only in-person, by invitation, event of this year's Caux Forum Online which took place on 1 August 2021...

ICBE 2021 square white background

Sustainable businesses needs purpose beyond profit

Corporations and industries need a purpose beyond profit, says Sunil Mathur, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Siemens in India and South Asia. ‘Companies’ purposes are critical,’ he explai...

Stephanie Buri and Nick Foster Opening Ceremony Caux Forum 2021

Opening Ceremony of the Caux Forum Online 2021: Swiss perspectives on peace

The Caux Forum Online 2021 opened on 5 July with a panel on ‘Swiss Perspectives on Peace – past, present and future’ to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Caux Conference and Seminar Centre as the ...

Dhanasree Jayaram CDES 2020

A closer look at links between environment and security

Food security is a key to understanding the complex connection between climate and security, Dhanasree Jayaram, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations Manipal...

Shrouk Gamal

'A better version of myself'

'The conference showed me how much I really love to socialize with people. The members of our dialogue group asked me questions I never been asked before. This made me think about lots of things, in n...

ZimbaWomen credit: ZimbaWomen

Empowering women to enter the market

The Co-founder of Zimba Women, Peace Kuteesa, is passionate about providing women with the tools and resources to participate in their economies and develop their communities. She spoke at last year's...

Hani Abou Fadel

'Humans are made of stories'

'This extraordinary conference has changed me to be more ambitious, intellectually honest and more consistent', said Hani Abou Fadel from Lebanon after his participation at last year's Creative Leader...

Harmen van Dijk

How to pursue personal development: 'Just start somewhere!'

Why would a diplomat throw in his career and give up a prestigious job to do something completely different? Find out what made Harmen van Dijk leave the Dutch diplomatic service to pursue a new dream...

CDES 2020 IofC Bards meditation bowl square

The art of making a difference to the climate crisis

‘Artists are uniquely positioned to face what is happening to the climate, to reimagine the world and create a new narrative,’ says Sveinung Nygaard (Sven), a Norwegian composer and musician. He was i...

Mohammed Abu-Nimer

Mohammed Abu-Nimer: Dialogue – Weaving peace into the fabric of society

Mohammed Abu-Nimer is Professor at the American University’s School of International Service in International Peace and Conflict Resolution in Washington DC and a Senior Advisor to the International D...