Kuajok youth on Peacekeepers’ Day: Empowering us is best way to prevent, mitigate and manage conflicts

unmiss south sudan kuajok youth empowerment peacekeepers day radio talk show ceremony

Kuajok youth took to the radio waves to express their concerns about unemployment as UNMISS celebrated Peacekeepers' Day. Photos: Peter Ring Ariik Kuol/UNMISS

31 May 2021

Kuajok youth on Peacekeepers’ Day: Empowering us is best way to prevent, mitigate and manage conflicts

Peter Ring Ariik Kuol

As part of the United Nations International Peacekeepers’ Day commemoration, youth representatives used a live radio talk-show on Kuajok FM 99.9 to appeal to the government to offer them entrepreneurial skills to stop ongoing violence in the country.

“Young people are dying every day because harsh economic conditions force us into crime and violence,” youth leader Tong Kuel Mawien said. “This is because we are not given necessary skills to help us make a living and make ends meet, violence will be the order of the day.”

Unemployed, idle youth across South Sudan, with the ones in Warrap State being no exception, are frequently engaging in cattle raids, armed robberies and other violent crimes. Skills that can lead to employment, they argue, could help pave the way for durable peace in the country.

Another youth representative, Rebecca Atoch Bol, says youth will need to become ambassadors of peace.

“I am appealing to my fellow young people to shun the culture of violence, intercommunal conflict, cattle raiding and revenge killings. We can’t prosper as a country if we don’t embrace each other,” she said.

Warrap State Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports, Agok Ayar Chieny, promised that his government will do its part to assist young people in finding their roles in society.

“This government is ready to work with you [the youth]. During my tenure, I will make sure significant number of youths are empowered entrepreneurially,” Mr. Ayar said, adding that he counted on the support of development partners to achieve this goal.

In a country where youth make up some 70 per cent of the population, the UN peacekeeping mission is actively engaging with young people at all levels of society.

“Youths are the leaders of today and of the future. Their participation in conflict prevention, reconciliation and the ongoing peace process is vital. We must do more to address their needs, amplify their voices and ensure their presence at decision-making tables,” said Anastasie Nyirigira Mukangarambe, head of the UN peacekeeping mission’s field office in Kuajok.