© EPES Mandala 2011




Our field experience as a company began with our creation in 2004 and the gallery illustrates our projects in Afghanistan and Somalia, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali and Ivory Coast. The founders between them total three centuries of experience, and the other few pictures are a tiny gesture in the direction of such accumulated wisdom!


Afghan warlords in their elegant, flowing clothes contrast vividly with Catharine Mariano in Somalia who was obliged to dress up (as she says) like a blue ‘Ninja Turtle’. It reminds us that we work in dangerous places. Cosy pictures of academics at a peace conference in Nigeria contrast no less vividly with the brutality of the events we were discussing and belie the fact that we nearly did not get away through the angry mobs outside the building.


Michelle visiting children in a Thailand ‘safe space for early childhood development’ matches the vegetable gardens of former fighters and their families who are making a living in the private sector in Cambodia or Mali or Sierra Leone. This is conflict transformation in practice. This is what we do.


The key to our experience remains disarmament: collecting and destroying weapons, retraining police and army for peacetime operations, building popular confidence in peace. Peace is always fragile. The Peace of Timbuktu that started off our partnership in 1996 looks sad against the reality of renewed conflict in the Sahara during 2008 – a conflict that has its roots in the declining rainfall and natural resources of the region, the pressures of increasing populations, the high costs of food and the centuries of exploitation of Africa by the Northern powers, these days mainly through unjust terms of trade and proxy conflicts for oil and other raw materials.