In 2021, a sudden outbreak of violence led to massive loss of life and property, not to mention displaced tens of thousands in the greater Tambura region of Western Equatoria, South Sudan.
At the time, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) swiftly established a temporary operating base in Tambura given the urgent need to protect the conflict affected.
Today, while calm and stability are gradually returning to Tambura, many people who fled from their homes are still sheltering at the UNMISS base and under the watchful eye of the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Blue Helmets.
Much remains to be done to build confidence among communities, especially young people, to ensure that this fragile peace is shored up.
A two-day workshop by UNMISS was, therefore, focused on motivating youth affected by violence to place aside their differences and move forward to shape their common destiny by eschewing violence.
“We lost everything during the conflict, but peacekeepers gave us a space to establish ourselves temporarily and catch our breath. Today, we can see peace slowly coming back to Tambura and with that, there is a resurgence of hope among all of us that we can rebuild our lives. Peace is everything,” said Mary Simaya, a participant.
Mboribamu Renzi, paramount chief of Tambura, echoes Ms. Simaya.
“The people, especially youth, have paid a terrible price during this conflict. It is vital that we have interventions aimed at encouraging them to look forward to a brighter future,” he stated.
The dialogue concluded with a football match, which sought to harness the power of sport to promote unity and coexistence.
“Our aim is to establish this as a regular peace tournament,” revealed Capi Joseph Nafuoni, chair of the local football association in Tambura. “After all the crises we that has taken place here, we all deserve to restore joy in our lives.”
“We have started with 18 teams, and it has brought young people from all corners of Tambura,” he concludes proudly.
50 participants came together at this two-day forum, organized by the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Civil Affairs Division.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).