© EPES Mandala 2011




In peace building, as in the maintenance of democratic governance and the promotion of sustainable development, civil society organizations (CSO) are key partners. This includes INGOs (international non-governmental organizations) and a wide range of even more important CSO partners with roots in the local economy: trade unions, farmer´s unions, marketing cooperatives and associations of traders and marketeers, women’s associations, mutualist savings and credit banks, village councils and inter-village councils, village development committees, community schools, parent-teacher associations, community-run health clinics, age groups and circumcision groups, hunting societies, Sufi brotherhoods, church charities, interfaith councils, professional associations, craft guilds, and every variety of clubs, organizations and special interest groups.


Our photographs illustrate some of these partners; the groups that actually make peace happen. Here are some pictures of civil society leaders with whom we have worked including Joseph Ndiaye, founder of the Slave Museum on Goree Island, one of Africa’s most distinguished Action-Research historians. We see a group of Mali’s Save the Children managers in 1989, many of whom went on to become Directors – like Solo Kanté (on the left) who is a leader of World Education. The ‘garden picture’ shows two of the women who have led civil society in the cultural development of West Africa: Carol Hart who is a major patron of painters, and Sabine Koné who is an artiste in the broadest sense: musician, painter, potter, textile designer, teacher and friend of artists of all types and origins.


The press is a vital part of civil society and our picture of Dr Poulton with Adam Ouloguem honours the leading African woman journalist in the USA. We have a number of distinguished writers and film makers on our lists, and we are committed to using all types of media for promoting Lessons Learned from the field to ensure that mistakes are not repeated, while good recipes are shared widely.


To these leaders of civil society organizations (CSO) we try to give a voice – as we are reminded by the picture of a book on peace building in Sierra Leone that was written by civil society leaders and edited by Anatole Ayissi of Cameroon and Robin Edward Poulton. Political leaders create the conditions for peace, but it is the people themselves and their community leaders who make peace work.