Women, youth in Western Bahr El Ghazal called upon to sustain momentum in peace process at UNMISS-facilitated forum
“Peaceful coexistence has always been important to me personally. Today, after attending this workshop, I feel empowered with the skills to reconcile differences and promote peace among various members of my own community,” said Suzan Rizik, a female traditional leader from the Jebel Khari area in Wau, South Sudan.
The platform in question was a recent peace forum organized by UNMISS and Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) which brought together 20 representatives from women’s groups, youth organizations, civil society, displaced persons as well as traditional and religious leaders across Western Bahr El Ghazal.
Participants were taught basic skills in promoting a peaceful approach to conflict resolution. The objective—to enhance social cohesion and ensure that peace actors work from the ground up so that implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement across South Sudan acquires momentum.
“All relevant actors in Northern Bahr El Ghazal were represented at this forum; it makes me optimistic that together, we will be able to make sure that the promises made within will be kept. All of us have come together because we understand that without durable peace, the future will be bleak for all South Sudanese,” adds Ms. Rizik.
Her views are echoed by Kok Jackob, a student of political science at the University of Bahr el-Ghazal. “I found the forum very helpful,” said Kok. “It’s important for us as young people to learn that we too have a crucial role to play in shaping a peaceful future,” he continues. “Such events need to reach many more people and possibly take the shape of public lectures so that everybody can learn that peace begins at home. We all have a role to play, no matter who we are,” he concludes.
Edmund Yakani, Executive Director, CEPO, agress with Kok. “Without peace there can be no progress, no development. Political actors need to build levels of trust and confidence to accelerate the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement; this is imperative because, as this forum demonstrates, communities are coming together to lobby for a peaceful South Sudan,” he stated.
For his part, Derick Fuh Neba, Civil Affairs Officer, UNMISS Wau urged all stakeholders to engage and work collectively to support the peace process in South Sudan and spread messages of accord among their respective communities. “Even if you make a difference to one person’s beliefs, make them choose coexistence over conflict, you will have made a tangible contribution to a peaceful, prosperous future for South Sudan,” said Mr Neba.