You are here

WPDI young leaders from Western Equatoria, South Sudan, take critical steps towards the completion of their training as peacemakers and entrepreneurs

From October 30 to November 5, our new cohort of 20 aspiring Trainers of Trainees (ToTs) from Western Equatoria State (WES), South Sudan, gathered in Juba for the fourth training in our 5-session curriculum, taking a critical step towards the completion of their training to become leading mediators and entrepreneurs in their communities.

Only six weeks from now, a training process that started in March will reach its completion and a graduation ceremony will signal their certification as members of the Youth Peacemaker Network (YPN), our flagship program, which started in 2014 in Eastern Equatoria State and will begin its actual activities in WES early in 2018.

Through this program, we train young women and men from vulnerable countries or regions in a wide array of fields including conflict resolution, ICTs, life skills and ICTs, so they can go back in their communities to promote peace and sustainable development through WPDI-sponsored activities or initiatives of their own. The activities they will undertake include the facilitation of community dialogues and peace conferences, the training of officials and community leaders in mediation, the teaching of conflict resolution in primary and secondary schools as well as the development of small businesses tailored to respond to local needs.

Because their role is demanding and requires the highest standards in quality and efficacy, WPDI constantly seeks to ensure that our trainees can effectively excel on the ground. Out of this concern for quality, we recently revised our training process, expanding the sessions from five to seven days, reinforcing the ICT and entrepreneurship components of the training and introducing pedagogical innovations that were implemented for the first time at this second-to-last session of the whole training.

A first novelty was for the trainees to introduce concepts of Conflict Resolution Education (CRE) to pupils and students in primary and secondary schools of Juba. Teaching CRE is a program component that we have recently introduced in the YPN platform in partnership with national and local authorities as well as individual schools. To ensure these partners that our peacemakers are truly prepared for this job, we decided to test them on site, in real classrooms with real students. This proved to be a precious experience for our trainees, as can be surmised from the words of Joyce Charles Gabu of Mundri County: “The fourth training has helped build my capacity as a young lady. Prior to this exposure especially to the secondary school in Juba for a teaching practice, I thought I would not make it. However, I managed to deliver the message of peace and development to the audience (the students) and all indications were that the message had been grasped.”

Isaiah Michael Baya, a trainee from Ibba County, expressed the same enthusiasm: “The fourth training of ToTs in Juba has been one of the best in living memory. It exposed me to a lot of challenges that I still refer to as opportunities. As far as Conflict Resolution Education is concerned, I had the experience of teaching in one of the best secondary schools in Juba. My interactions with the students taught me a lot. This hands-on practice is one of the best methods WPDI has exposed me to, and there is no doubt whatsoever that I am going to prove competent enough as a ToT that the Foundation can count on.”

The other novelty we introduced in the training process consisted in introducing written tests for the ICT, mediation and business skills courses. To prepare them for the actual test scheduled for December prior to the official graduation ceremony, this fourth training entailed a preparatory test that help trainees identify gaps and address them.

With this revised training process, we are confident that our young peacemakers will be better at making a difference when they go back to their communities to help them become more peaceful, prosperous and resilient places.