Peace and development partners launch project in Tonj funded by South Sudan Multi Partner Trust Fund for Reconciliation, Stabilization, and Resilience
WARRAP – Durable peace requires strong foundations and impactful interventions from the ground up.
That’s the philosophy behind a multisectoral project – called ‘Kong Koc,’ in a local dialect, which roughly translated means ‘to wait,’ a grassroots concept used to deescalate violent conflict—that has been launched by a consortium of partners including the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP) and nongovernmental organizations such as The Organization for Children’s Harmony (TOCH), the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Peace Canal.
Funded by the South Sudan Multi Partner Trust Fund for Reconciliation, Stabilization, and Resilience (RSRTF), the $ 12 million project will span two years and aims to lay the foundation for building peaceful, resilient and stable communities in the traditionally conflict-prone region of greater Tonj in Warrap state.
The main focus: To address conflict in Tonj in an intentional, sequenced, and community-led peacebuilding approach.
Aware that the ongoing insecurity and broken relations between communities cannot be permitted to continue, participants to this inception meeting agreed to halt violence and pursue rule of law to address their grievances.
At the launch, Nyin Athuai, a community leader, called on the people of greater Tonj to embrace peace.
“We have wasted a lot of our time fighting each other, and we hope that this project will help affected families get the justice they deserve but more importantly, enable all of us to resolve our differences peacefully and look forward to a future of development,” he stated.
The RSRTF, through such interventions, seeks to support community resilience by fostering stable political and security environments. The goal is to ensure local populations are on the path towards long-term, sustainable recovery from conflict.
For Maker Dut Riak, a youth leader from Romich in Tonj East county, recovery and development need to be accompanied by skill-building.
“I am happy that this project has been launched and I urge all involved partners to prioritize the disarmament of civilian population and open vocational schools where young people can learn skills that will economically empower them. Once this takes place across greater Tonj, there will be no more violence,” he commented sagely.
The Kong Koc project will engage all responsible for instigating and participating in violence, including youth and women associated with armed groups for resilience and livelihoods programming.
Partners will create forums for women to build confidence and formulate strategic approaches to influence male dominated spaces, while targeting women deliberately for resilience interventions as part of a longer-term gender transformative agenda.
Speaking on behalf of partners at the launch, UNMISS representative Adewuyi Adewumi urged people of greater Tonj to embrace this important project.
“Kong Koc is the concept of waiting before taking any rash actions such as violent means to resolve disputes. I call on every community member to take this aptly named project to heart and embrace the path of sustainable peace and development. We must work together to silence the guns in South Sudan and build a prosperous future,” he stated. ewumi said.
The first phase of this two-year undertaking will see partners dialoguing with those directly responsible for violence to strengthen community structures and practices for conflict management.