Our aim is to enable members of the Sudanese diaspora to advocate for themselves, so we are constantly looking for ways to help them learn skills and raise their voice. In doing so, we respond to the gaps in knowledge identified by community leaders and work with qualified and capable external trainers, and sometimes rely on our own expertise.

UK political system and campaigning – Over more than a decade of work with the diaspora, and in particular civil society organisations, we realised that few community leaders had in-depth knowledge of the UK political system and how to influence it, relying on measures like one-off public demonstrations instead of sustained interaction with Parliamentary and civil service contacts.

We arranged training in diaspora hubs across the UK in 2016 and early 2017, in Birmingham, Manchester, and ending with sessions delivered in Parliament itself, complete with meetings with MPs and Lords. Those who attended said they felt more confident and capable engaging in Britain’s democracy, and are pushing other community leaders to attend future sessions. This will improve the ability of the Sudanese community to raise their voice about the abuses they suffered.

“What struck me was your preparedness to listen to all participants. Probably that was part of the ethos of Waging Peace which is obviously avoiding the paternalistic approach used by some of the organisations which work with grass root societies.

The training was a really good experience. It was good to know the different tools that you can use to communicate with your MP.”

Media and campaigning – Once individuals are settled in the UK, they want to work hard to raise public awareness of the situation in their country. We provide them with the knowledge to do so, for instance arranging media and digital media training with journalists like Tom Law, ex-BBC Africa editor Martin Plaut, and Economist journalist Richard Cockett.

We also work with external trainers like Migrant Voice to provide training, signposting individuals to their sessions and sometimes supporting asylum seekers with the cost of attending. We have also fundraised to send particularly dedicated activists on more extensive courses like Campaign Bootcamp. Some have since founded their own charities, for instance Green Kordofan is run by someone supported to go on this course, Raga Gibreel.

Mental health – We recognise how important it is that our staff and volunteers are conscious of the mental health issues facing those we support, and so have organised training in conjunction with the mental health charity Mind to support their development, especially where these volunteers conduct visits to immigration removal centres as part of our Sudanese Visitors’ Group. Training has focused on the different expression of mental health difficulties in the Sudanese culture and ways to help someone in a crisis as a ‘first responder’.

FGM – We help women attend courses on FGM run by groups like Forward in order to give them the tools to take messages against the practice into their communities. The mothers in our women’s groups have even become trainers in their own right, and now empower other women to speak out against FGM to their families and friends.

Employability – We have so far run one course on employability in conjunction with the British Business Bank in Sheffield. This supported refugees, or those waiting for news of their status, to consider routes back into employment, including a one-on-one feedback on their CVs.

“I really enjoyed the training and I learned a lot which will help me in finding a job.

Your endless efforts to help Sudanese is highly appreciated.