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WPDI TOTs of South Sudan take the initiative to promote bottom up peace by mobilizing local leaders

At a crucial time when peace talks are underway to end five years of civil conflict in South Sudan, WPDI TOTs from the eastern part of the country decided to take matters in hand and initiate a large-scale peacebuilding initiative featuring a forum for local leaders in the town of Nimule preceded by a wide-reaching radio talk show.

These young people are part of our flagship program, the Youth Peacemaker Network, a youth leadership program through which we foster peace and development in fragile communities, mobilizing the energy of youth. In a first step, we recruit a core group of distinctly talented young women and men and train them for year in a diverse array of fields needed for their missions, namely conflict resolution, entrepreneurship, ICTs, life skills and teaching. Once thus equipped, they go back into their communities where they work with local young people to develop income-generating projects and peace initiatives.

The peace forum and talk show in Nimule, in the former State area of Eastern Equatoria, is one of those initiatives that we invite our youths to develop on their own. The idea of this project corresponds to a hinging moment in the history of the country, in the midst of talks among the South Sudan government and the rebels that eventually led to the signing of a power-sharing deal on August 5th 2018 in Sudan. The agreement aims to end a destructive civil war that killed dozens thousands people and displaced 4,2 million people, including 2,4 in neighboring countries, 1 million of them children, making South Sudan the country with the highest proportion of out-of-school children in the world.

To inform the public ahead of the Forum and also to sensitize audiences on this notion that peace is a shared responsibility, WPDI peacemakers also organized a radio talk show hosted by NTC 97.3 FM. The three hours forum was broadcasted live on NTC FM, reaching thousands of people in Eastern Equatoria and in neighboring northern Uganda, where hundreds of South Sudanese people have been displaced by the conflict.

It is through such bottom up movements that peace can grow deeper roots in the fabric of society, which WPDI sees as the best condition to ensure lasting peace and sustainable development.