Throughout the month of February, the Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) Bor Team began engaging with a group of girls and young women in Leudier. This is one the most populated areas of Bor Town and close to the Nile; this allows easy access for people returning from Mingkaman and those wary to move deeper into town in the event of further instability. Many of these people are originally from other counties (Twic East and Duk) and do not have established relationships with the other residents of Leudier. Moreover, as a result of the mass displacement from Bor Town, including Leudier, many chiefs were also displaced during the crisis. With the rapid influx of internally displaced persons returning and the new composition of the residents there, Leudier quarter has been left without any formal or functioning leadership structure. This leaves a major gap in traditional systems of dispute resolution and a vacuum in coordination between the Leudier community and humanitarian agencies. These features have left Leudier plagued with protection problems, fighting due to overburdened infrastructure and limited resources, most notably boreholes (a hole made in the ground to retrieve water); social conflicts, including competition by young women for the same man's affections; and widespread gender-based violence, including domestic violence, harassment, and rape.
Despite these massive challenges, the young women of Leudier immediately demonstrated great courage in seeking to change this reality. At the end of February, they formed a Community Protection Team consisting of 36 female members ranging from 15-22 years old and received training in unarmed civilian protection (UCP). They have decided to hold bi-monthly meetings to develop strategies for community security. They have also committed to spreading the lessons they learned about nonviolence throughout the community, and to participate in various forums to make their views known to service providers including local government officials, police, and humanitarian agencies. They have asked for NPs support networking with such local leaders and organizations. They also plan to develop peace songs, dramas, and games in order to build trust throughout the community. Interestingly, the chairlady of the group is a Nuer woman who had previously been residing in the Protection of Civilians (PoC) area. Her active leadership of a group of all Dinka women is also an opportunity for eventual longer-term peacebuilding.