Young members of the Lol community are vowing to resist being caught up in petty politicking and to focus on being ambassadors for peace in South Sudan.
A special training session was held for young people in the Northern Bahr El-Ghazal region by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to help them understand the revitalized peace agreement and play a role in conflict management by sharing grievances, experiences and solutions.
“We should know that all of us are South Sudanese regardless of our tribes, our clans and our religion,” said 27-year-old Thomas Thiep Ngor. “If we can do away with this mentality of being used by the leaders and try to live a positive life, I believe South Sudan will be one of the peaceful countries.”
The 11 participants in the youth workshop called for increased representation in the peace agreement and the peace process more broadly.
“In the records, I did not find exactly the context where the youth are represented,” said 31-year-old Ajou Noon. “There is no point of youth representation in this current peace agreement.”
Mary Adut Garang echoed her message.
“I would like to advise them to include the youth in the peace agreement because youth are the roots of this nation.”
The young leaders promised to spread messages of peace back in their villages to help create momentum for change in the country which has suffered immensely from five years of civil war.
“I will also tell my community that we, the youth, should cooperate together and work to solve our problems among ourselves,” said 23-year-old, Selina Areng Dut.
The Gomjuer Center Commissioner said the training by UNMISS’ Civil Affairs Division provided an important opportunity to educate young people in the area about the peace process and to enable them to participate in an informed way.
“What you have given to these youth is a good product,” said Salva Chol. “They will help circulate the full knowledge of peace.”
The peacekeeping mission in Aweil will organize similar training for youth in other parts of the region over the coming weeks.