Regional essay winner from Eastern Equatoria commits to being an agent of peace
Holding a golden trophy high in the air in an act of celebration, Jacob Mach Kuany from Kapoeta Day Secondary School proudly represented his part of the country as the regional winner of the nationwide essay competition for Eastern Equatoria. Fellow students swarmed around Jacob to congratulate him on his success, with exuberant cheers and eyes of admiration.
Jacob, one of many participants from the Eastern Equatoria in the essay competition initiated by the UN Mission in South Sudan on the theme “How can women contribute to durable peace in South Sudan”, highlighted women’s participation in peacebuilding as a key element to achieve lasting peace in the country.
His approach to including women in the peace process and the concise manner in which he articulated his ideas in an original essay won him the first prize for the Eastern Equatoria region, thus qualifying him to compete with other regional winners at a national award ceremony in Juba on 9 May.
Jacob received the prize with humility and accepted it not as his own, but on behalf of all youth working towards a brighter future for South Sudan. He used the opportunity to reaffirm his aspiration to promote peace. He also wants to further hone his writing skills to express his ideas for a better future for the country.
“This will help me to keep on thinking about my ambition to be a peace agent. This has given me motivation to dream of a better future for South Sudan”, he said as he received his prize.
“I hope I can promote national harmony by writing poems and essays and composing songs related to peace,” he concluded.
A similar award ceremony held in Torit last month honoured the second and third place winners from the Eastern Equatoria region: Mary Akur Mach of Father Santrulino and Oryem Patrick Benson of Torit Progressive Secondary School, respectively.
Mary Akur Mach, a young woman who is also a youth peace ambassador engaged in peace activities in the Torit community, encouraged fellow students to speak out about women’s issues and share their knowledge.
“If you want to be somebody in future you cannot keep your knowledge to yourself. You share it with others. That is why I am very interested in the topic of the competition, because I can see now that our women have been left behind,” Mary explained.
Mary said she would use this opportunity to serve as a role model for fellow students by contributing to discussions moving the country forward, especially for women.
“By sharing my ideas with the people of Torit and South Sudan, I am actively showing how women can contribute to building a durable peace,” Mary said, determined to embody her ideas through action.
As first and second place winners in their region, both Jacob and Mary show that giving youths a voice on key issues can empower them to contribute to crucial discussions on the future of South Sudan. Perhaps with themselves in leading roles.