On 16th June, the King Baudouin African Development Prize (KBF Africa Prize) 2020-2021 was awarded to the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, a Somali organisation dedicated to promoting peace, cultivating leadership and empowering the marginalized brackets of society to be decision-makers in the processes that ensure their wellbeing.
The biennial KBF Africa Prize rewards outstanding contributions to development in Africa, initiated and led by Africans. It draws public attention to the many inspirational stories, challenges and successes emerging from the African continent.
"This award means a lot to us. It is important to let the world know the extent of suffering in Somalia, especially today, as drought and climate change create new threats to our security," said Ilwad Elman, chief operating officer of the Mogadishu-based organization. "What matters to us is to provide quick responses – peace means much more than the absence of war."
Elman Peace addresses violent extremism thanks to the EUTF
The Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre implements the “Strength through tolerance” project. This EUR 4.7 million project, funded by the EUTF, aims at enhancing the partnership between the Somalian government and local communities to jointly address factors causing violent extremism.
Together with the European Institute of Peace, and the Africa’s Voices Foundation, the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre improves analysis of conflict and drivers of violent extremism as well as develops capacities for peace; strengthens and mainstreams the peace and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) policy of the Federal government and ensures community-based and owned P/CVE interventions.
Project activities began in 2021 and will continue until end 2024. In the first year of activities, the project ran a six-week interactive radio discussion engaging more than 4,300 citizens in the Puntland, Jubbaland, and Galmudug regions to gather citizen perceptions on key themes relating to violent extremism, including community understanding of the drivers and solutions. It also selected and trained youth leaders and women peace leaders and started to produce youth mini-documentary series.
Elman Peace Centre is named after its founder, Elman Ali Ahmed, a pioneering peace activist, remembered to this day as the Somali Father of Peace. Elman and his wife, Fartuun Adan ran the organization together until the war worsened in Somalia. Elman stayed behind and continued to fight for peace and Fartuun fled the country for the safety and future of their daughters. Elman was murdered in March 1996. When her daughters reached adult-hood Fartuun returned to Somalia, and together with her daughter Ilwad, she led Elman Peace. Ilwad Elman was voted the African Young Personality (Female) of the Year during the 2016 Africa Youth Awards and was a short-listed candidate for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
In Somalia, the Centre is famous for several activities such as: Sister Somalia - The first rape crisis centre in Somalia; Drop the gun, pick up the pen - A pioneering intervention launched in the early 1990’s leading to the disarmament, rehabilitation and reintegration of thousands of young women and men from armed groups; Equal voices- Equip young leaders and women with the necessary tools to participate meaningfully in political processes and Frontline activists protecting and promoting fundamental human rights.
- Publication date
- 11 July 2022
- Horn of AfricaSomalia
- Improved governance and conflict prevention