Syracuse, NY (April 11, 2011) The Near East Foundation has launched a nine-month initiative to work with ex-combatants in North Sudan to help them reintegrate into their communities – both socially and economically.
The project focuses on ex-combatants in northern Sudan’s South Kordofan State, an area especially hard hit by the 20-year civil war and where tensions are still high. NEF staff will help 400 ex-combatants reintegrate by training them in small business development and management, civic engagement, and leadership skills. NEF will help ex-combatants obtain goods to start their businesses, provide them with ongoing support during the start-up process, and encourage participants to join community associations that will help them better integrate.
For several decades, NEF has been a leader in providing access to micro-credit to small businesses throughout the Middle East and North Africa. This initiative continues NEF’s legacy of lending and innovation, combining the organization’s vision of peace through economic cooperation with a commitment to helping the most vulnerable populations with sustainable entrepreneurship.
Several organizations at Syracuse University, NEF’s strategic partner, will also cooperate in project planning and implementation. The Whitman School of Management’s “Empowerment through Entrepreneurship” program and its “Students in Free Enterprise” group will review business plans and curriculum for the ex-combatants. The “Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration” program at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs will advise on conflict-management and post-conflict reconstruction.
NEF began its pioneering work in Sudan in 1978. It was one of the first American organizations to work in Sudan and remains one of the only that has maintained a continual presence throughout the region, including in areas of conflict.
To learn more, visit our Sudan country page: http://www.neareast.org/wherewework/sudan.
The Near East Foundation (NEF) leads innovative, grassroots social and economic change in impoverished communities throughout the Middle East and Africa. NEF empowers citizens to take control of their futures, giving them the tools they need to combat poverty and to thrive independently of foreign aid. This approach brings “knowledge, voice, and enterprise” to the region’s most vulnerable populations – among them women, at-risk youth, the rural poor, and urban slum-dwellers. Our vision is simple: help build a more prosperous region, with equality and economic opportunity for all, one community at a time.