Against the backdrop of continuing conflict and political upheavals South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, is approaching its first post-independence elections in December 2024.
For its long-delayed democratic transition to be successful, youth participation in reducing violence is essential.
To capture the power of young people as social transformers, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), through its Civil Affairs Division, recently hosted an interactive workshop on youth, peace, and security initiatives for some 60 young men and women drawn from different areas in Yambio, Western Equatoria.
The aim: training youth to identify and find ways to peacefully ameliorate potential tensions as well as action reconciliation initiatives.
“As a young man, I believe in a harmonious society which can enable us to take full advantage of our education and be productive members of society. Today, we have learnt how to positively manage conflicts and I am confident that these skills will help us be peace ambassadors in our communities,” said Paul Mizan, a young man from of Gbangasu Payam.
Jeremaya John Bage, a 20-year-old youth from Gangura payam, said he believed that the proliferation of illegal weapons is destructive for sustainable peace to prevail.
“As youth, we can serve our country by advocating for peaceful coexistence among our peers, especially those who may bear arms within cattle camps across the state. Unity is key for us to secure our future,” he stated passionately.
For Emmanuel Dukundane, a Civil Affairs Officer with the UN Peacekeeping mission, educating youth on managing differences can guarantee the success of the peacebuilding process.
“Engaging the youth in such events will help them approach disagreements differently and constructively. This initiative is a continuation of peace and human rights clubs established in different areas two years ago to promote social cohesion,” he stated.
Viola Babero Gbameshe, the youth Director in the Ministry of Culture, youth and sport in Western Equatoria state, agreed and urged participants to act as peacemakers in their various locations and communities.
“Let us all embrace peace for a prosperous South Sudan and encourage our families to adopt the same positive approach in solving disagreements,” he concluded, while urging UNMISS to replicate such events more frequently.
Training sessions also covered basic concepts of human rights and child rights.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).