Youth Lead Dialogue About Prioritizing Peace in Yei River State

Aug 31, 2017

Attendees of the Youth Dialogue in Yei River State. Photo: UNDP

UNDP and the Information, Culture, Youth and Sports Committee of the Yei River State Assembly, in collaboration with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), recently organized a two-day youth peace dialogue aimed to unify youth from different ethnic groups living in Yei River State, which has been experiencing instability since the July 2016 crisis in Juba.

More than 70 youths living in Yei River State participated in the dialogue. While the youth are currently located in Yei River State many originally hailed from Greater Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile and other regions in the Equatorias. Participants included representatives of civil society organizations, faith based groups, women groups, university students and local authorities. The discussion centered on tactics which can be used to foster unity, and the different attendees came together to reflect on their motivation to work for peace and how they can peacefully coexist.

“We, the youth of Yei, have never been consulted or represented. We have not had an opportunity to come together to discuss and find ways to live peacefully,” said one youth representative during the dialogue. “The most important thing is to implement the action plans we have agreed upon here. If these recommendations are not implemented, we shall not move forward,” he continued. He urged his peers, local authorities and UNDP to ensure the recommendations are implemented.

The Deputy Governor of Yei River State Hon. Augustino Kere Bulo, and the Speaker of the Yei River State Legislative Assembly Rt. Hon. Naphtali Hassan Gale, attended the dialogue and expressed their commitment and support to the youth peace dialogue.

During his opening remarks, the Governor stressed that the future of South Sudan lies in the hands of the youth.

Yei group work 2Youth work in groups during the recent Youth Dialogue held in Yei River State. Photo: UNDP

“This dialogue will prepare us for the National Dialogue. Take this dialogue seriously and open up to share our issues. Let us look for solutions so that we stay here (in Yei),” said Speaker Rt. Hon. Gale during his introductory remarks.

“This dialogue is a result of a long discussion with our partners and the main goal is to achieve peace and unity in Yei,” he added.

The dialogue is part of a series of activities funded by the Government of Japan to facilitate grassroots peace initiatives conducive to an inclusive and credible national dialogue process and implemented by UNDP’s Peace and Community Cohesion Project.

“A local method that is focused on a specific location, which we call grassroots participation, is the best way to approach problems,” said Dr. Yath Yath, as a representative of UNDP at the dialogue.

At the end of the dialogue, the participants agreed upon key recommendations and action points including the construction of a youth peace center in Yei River State to enable local youth to engage in recreational activities and strengthen social ties.