UNMISS trains traditional leaders in Yambio on conflict management and reconciliation

unmiss south sudan western equatoria state yambio peace reconciliation traditional leaders

Smiling faces as traditional leaders in Yambio participate in a workshop on conflict resolution and ways to reconcile feuding foes. Photos: Martin Siba/UNMISS

23 Aug 2021

UNMISS trains traditional leaders in Yambio on conflict management and reconciliation

Martin Siba

Recent outbreaks of violence resulting in deaths and displacements in Western Equatoria, South Sudan, has led to an urgent need for engaging communities in reconciliation processes to reestablish calm and reduce tensions.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), therefore, organized a two-day training for community leaders in the state’s capital, Yambio, on mitigating conflict and promoting peaceful coexistence.

The main aim of the training activity: To build capacities among 20 traditional chiefs to resolve disputes between community members in an amicable, dialogue-based and peaceful manner.

“Western Equatoria was known as the breadbasket of South Sudan because of the peace in place here, which enabled farming communities to prosper. However, events over the past few weeks have been a lesson to every resident. Peace needs constant engagement and commitment from every community member,” states Farayi Nyamayaro, a Civil Affairs Officer with the UN peacekeeping mission.

“We, therefore, decided that the time is right for us to train local leaders on managing and resolving conflict among themselves before it escalates into full-scale violence. This proactive, solutions-based approach will most definitely go a long way towards reestablishing peace across the state. When there is peace, people can concentrate on coming together under a unified national identity,” he adds.

As part of their two-day course, local chiefs learnt valuable conflict management skills and tips on promoting reconciliation and social cohesion within their communities.

“As I walk out of this training, I will be ready to practice what we learnt here and ensure my that community coexists with others without any resentment or anger,” said Naako Beta, a leader from Gangura payam (administrative division).

For his part, Benjamin Kamandor, Director General, Ministry for Local Government and Law Enforcement, said that he believes workshops like these fall squarely within the state government’s commitment to working with all partners in building a peaceful, prosperous future for citizens of Western Equatoria.

“I want to see that all of you who have participated in this training working together in harmony with the authorities in your respective counties to resolve any disputes that may arise" he said. "As traditional leaders, you are partners with the government and the UN in shaping a durable peace across South Sudan."

The workshop was facilitated by the peacekeeping mission’s Civil Affairs Division, in partnership with the Ministry for Local Government and Law Enforcement.