Tomorrow is a New Day
Search for Common Ground, an organization dedicated to ending violent conflict and building sustainable peace for generations to come, is an NGO headquartered in Washington, DC. The organization works with all actors in a conflict situation and provides the tools needed for all stakeholders to work together, build dialogue and find lasting solutions. SFCG focuses on building peace through three main avenues: dialogue, media and community.
Though SFCG works all over the world, including in 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, they are well known for having run a program in the Niger Delta region entitled “Tomorrow is a New Day.” The project was funded by the European Union, with SFCG acting as a leading implementing partner; the project’s website can be found here.
Tomorrow is a New Day is focused on two key goals: building functional peace architecture in the Niger Delta and reintegrating ex-militants. There are four main types of activities that the program features in order to empower stakeholders and sustain peace in the historically volatile region.
Information & Resource Centers
The project was originally created to support the founding of community radios, which were to be used as tools to facilitate social change. However the Nigerian government has not started giving out radio licenses yet, so the EU has worked closely with SFCG to design an alternative: community information and resource centers. These centers give voices to community members and allow locals to address rumors and misinformation, which can lead to violence.
Reintegration of ex-militants occurs at all levels of society, but community-level reintegration arguably has the most impact on individuals and families. The community reintegration aspect of the Tomorrow is a New Day project focuses on building the capacity of communities to develop stronger civil society and resolve local conflict. The project encourages everyone to view amnesty as something that empowers all people, not jus ex-militants.
This piece of the project works to develop “entertaining, balanced and diverse media” which allows communities to understand the challenges, concerns and successes associated with reintegration and reconciliation.
Trauma Healing Activities
Psychology professionals assist with persisting trauma issues in communities by organizing trauma-healing activities, such as group discussions, videos, and storytelling, and the use of theater and dance.
Though the project ended in 2013, SFCG is still working in the Niger Delta due to continued regional violence and conflict in order to fully realize its goal of sustainable peace. The Tomorrow is a New Day project was also deemed to have made a positive impact in terms of communities having increasingly positive attitudes toward peacebuilding and ex-combatants, and it successfully encouraged greater ownership over local decision-making processes by youth, women and ex-combatants.