Warrap youth benefit from joint workshop on social cohesion by UNMISS, UNDP, local partners
“Young people are the drivers of positive change in society,” says Rian Chier Rian, a facilitator of a recent workshop jointly hosted by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kuajok.
The forum focused on two critical topics: Identifying key drivers of conflict in the region and finding pathways to peaceful dispute resolution and reconciliation.
Considering its relevance, the workshop won support from numerous local partners, including the state Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Warrap Youth Union; the Lukluk Community Association for Development and The Organization for Children’s Harmony ,
Since conflict often starts at the grassroots and takes a heavy toll on young people, the two-day discussions brought together some 50 youth representatives and cattle keepers from across Warrap for them to interface with one another and hold frank conversations that could result in building a durable peace.NM
The ultimate objective was to find a way to disseminate a culture of harmony and social cohesion among community members.
“We need our children to look forward to a brighter, more prosperous future, which is why youth representatives play such a key role in peacemaking. All young people who have gathered over the past two days have come to a common consensus—development and peace go hand-in-hand. And, therefore, we have equipped them to become peace ambassadors among their own communities,” avers Rian.
Participants highlighted various triggers for friction among communities including political incitement, a lack of justice and the rule of law, the proliferation of arms in the hands of civilians, and a failure to follow agreed-upon measures for conflict management.
There was also a unanimous agreement that peacebuilding is not merely for government officials; it is a collective responsibility and every citizen has a role to play in it. This was highlighted also by Debora Uduel Akiech, Acting Governor of Warrap, who urged lawmakers to meet regularly with residents and ensure their concerns are addressed.
For her part, Lucia Bassa, a Peace and Community Cohesion Officer with UNDP based in Kuajok, says she believes that these two days of dialogue and discussion is a vital step in empowering young people to eschew violence and embrace social unity.
“I am encouraged by the candor and active participation of young people in these dialogues, as they are able to bring to light the root causes of conflict in the community, as well as suggest solutions to the issues affecting them. This is a new beginning for Warrap, in my opinion,” she states.