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New Milestones for the Youth Peacemaker Network in South Sudan

February 1, 2016

Our youth peacemakers in Eastern Equatoria State are off to a running start in 2016 and continue to demonstrate their dedication to spreading peace and commitment to developing their skills as leaders and community builders.

Throughout the fall and winter, our trainers of trainers (ToTs) have been working in their communities to recruit two youths from each of the 78 payams of Eastern Equatoria State to join the Youth Peacemaker Network (YPN). Now that our ToTs have met this goal, they will train and lead this new cadre of 156 youths in designing community-building projects throughout the state that will promote peace and sustainable development. Some of these projects will have income-generating components that will help financially support the YPN’s efforts and provide employment opportunities for youths in villages across Eastern Equatoria.

To help prepare our ToTs to manage these projects, WPDI held a six-day workshop in Torit from 26 to 31 of January where all 18 of our ToTs participated in business-skills and entrepreneurship trainings as well as ICT and mediaton. These sessions were conducted by professional business trainers from Uganda, as well as by experts from WPDI, Ericsson, Zain, and introduced the ToTs to basic skills such as building business plans, assessing demands for goods and services, and managing balance sheets. The workshop also included a special session, led jointly by UNESCO, on the importance of promoting literacy through the youth peacemakers’ community-building projects.

In conjunction with the business workshop, representatives from WPDI, UNESCO, Ericsson, and Zain traveled to the Kapoeta South, North, and East (three counties in Eastern Equatoria State) for the launch of three new Community Learning Centers. These centers, opened in cooperation with the state government and local commissioners, will offer Internet access, a library and free computer and literacy classes to community members in these three counties. Our two previous centers in Eastern Equatoria, located in Torit and Nimule, are incredibly popular—they have become hubs of community engagement and are visited by several hundred people each month. Our hope is that the three new centers become equally valuable assets for women, men, and children living in these fragile communities.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to MasterCard Foundation for having made this workshop and opening of the 3 Community Learning Centers in the Kapoeta possible!