UNMISS conduct social cohesion forum for communities in Western Equatoria State
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan has been working with civil society groups in Yambio to empower local community leaders, faith-based organizations and youth to foster reconciliation and improve social cohesion.
“This workshop has been great, with people coming from close by and far away to participate. I have learnt more about the UNMISS mandate and human rights, and how to advise people in my community to stop hate speech,” says Eunice Night, a youth leader from Mundri West County.
Key issues discussed during the two-day forum included how to reconcile with one another, embracing social cohesion and how to cement a spirit of national identity.
There is a palpable need to unite and reconcile in Western Equatoria, a state that over the last few years has been fractured by recurring, divisive intercommunal fighting and sometimes also clashes with both the national army and cattle keepers from neighbouring states.
“I am delighted about the knowledge that this forum has equipped me with. Some of the things talked about here, I had never heard of before,” admits chief John Julius Benjamin, a community leader from Akrobgoje in Yambio County. He urged the peacekeeping mission to organize similar events in rural areas.
Drawing 40 participants representing community leaders, faith-based organizations and youth groups, the two-day forum was sponsored and organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in collaboration with the Community Organization for Peer Educators.
“We believe that these workshops help repair the social fabric and build trust within and between communities,” said Mr. Emmanuel Dukundane, a civil affairs officer serving with the peacekeeping mission.