With a newly confirmed U.S. secretary of state in place, the anticipation that the Obama administration will name a new Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan in the coming weeks, and an international campaign underway to highlight the 10th anniversary of the start of the Darfur conflict, activist voices will play an increasingly important role in the coming months to set the priorities of the U.S. government and international actors related to Sudan.
In early February, Enough hosted an advocacy, media, and development training in Washington, D.C., in coordination with Voices for Sudan, a network of U.S. diaspora representing marginalized regions of Sudan and South Sudan. The workshop sessions focused on providing the participants with the skills and tools to become more effective advocates for peace in Sudan. Enough Project staff members were joined by Paulette Lee, a media consultant, and a representative from Humanity United to focus on principles of fundraising and development.
The day began with a “story of self” training led by Enough’s JD Stier. Participants learned how to craft and hone their compelling personal stories and their narratives about the conflict in Sudan. Stier also discussed how to tailor messaging to specific audiences. Additional sessions covered structures of Congressional offices and how to lobby elected officials as well as the basics of media outreach and best practices of small-scale fundraising events. Each segment of the training included interactive portions and group breakout sessions to practice role-playing in various scenarios. The advocacy training included practicing lobbying skills, which one participant particularly enjoyed and stated, “I came to know the ideas and the tools to present the charisma of a good lobbyist.” In the media training, each group was assigned a specific media source (national radio, television, reporter for a local paper, etc.) and had to create a unique pitch that would appeal directly to that outlet.
The aim of this and future trainings is to build the capacity of diaspora networks across the United States to more effectively elevate the voices of Sudanese in advocating for peace in Sudan. In the coming months, Voices for Sudan, with support from Enough, will expand these trainings to other cities around the country, including New York, Boston, Phoenix, and Seattle.