Eastern Equatoria celebrates peace village
26 February 2012 – Drawing attention to the remarkable progress of Holy Trinity Peace Village in Koron, Eastern Equatoria State, Bishop Parid Taban drew together local and foreign dignitaries in a ceremony held there today.
The bishop, who founded the Kapoeta East County peace village in 1999, was also celebrating his 75th birthday.
Invited guests included religious leaders, diplomatic friends of the bishop from Norway, the United States, Italy and other countries, UN representatives and members of the local Toposa community.
Calling on South Sudanese communities to promote reconciliation, Bishop Taban said he hoped Holy Trinity Peace Village would become a model for other communities to ensure prosperity in the new nation.
Philip Emekuwi, a peace coordinator in the village, said it had a peace and sports programme that promoted peaceful resolution of disputes through dialogue among tribes in the state.
"The peace and sports programme facilitates meetings among representatives of the different communities," said Mr. Emekuwi.
Through these meetings, the village had set up peace committees, introduced community policing and organized sports events to create harmony and prevent violence, he added.
Bishop Taban called on the government to promote a variety of alternative income generation activities in local communities, so that they could enjoy peace dividends.
Previously named Kuron Demonstration Farm, the peace village initially distributed seeds and agricultural tools in encouraging local communities to engage in agriculture.
"There were only 18 adults around the area when the programme started and now over 3,000 people live around the peace village," said Bishop Taban.
The village, which has grown to include a clinic, water point, youth centre, and primary school, is currently constructing a vocational training centre.
South Sudan, which gained independence less than a year ago, has been grappling with rising incidences of insecurity brought on by ethnic conflicts, mainly in Jonglei State, and activities by rebel militia groups across the country.
"I strongly appeal to the Nuer and Murle communities of Jonglei State and the Acholi and Madi communities of Eastern Equatoria State to resolve their disputes through dialogue," said Bishop Taban.