Youth leaders from Yambio and beyond have pledged to be ambassadors of peace in their communities. They made their voices heard at a peace forum gathering more than thirty representatives of civil society groups organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
“We as youth should be recognized for our potential as people who can actually make a change and build peaceful relations in our communities,” said Ripai Justin, one of the young men attending the gathering.
Participants, some seemingly indulging in occasional boketto during the day-long discussions, identified different sources of conflict and came up with suggestions as to what kind of support they may need from the Western Equatoria State government and other partners to resolve existing issues. Being allowed to play a bigger role in the process of achieving reconciliation and social cohesion was a key request made by the youth leaders.
“This forum taught me a lot, and I will spread my new knowledge among my peers. We will definitely be ambassadors of peace in our areas,” pledged Justin Samson Kango, one of many attendees expressing his appreciation of this event, allowing youth to express their concerns and discuss among themselves.
Stella Abayomi, acting head of the peacekeeping mission’s field office in Yambio, appealed to forum participants to choose peaceful means when resolving grievances between communities rather than resort to violence.
“This gathering has been very productive, and we are looking forward to replicating it in Tombura and Maridi,” she said, adding that similar activities to help and train youth may also be scheduled for other towns in the state.