Three youth-led peace committees in Bentiu are working together to address several issues they see in their communities, in both town and in the Rubkona Protection of Civilians (PoC) site. Their efforts follow a 10-day tailor-made training held from 19th March to 28th March 2019 in Bentiu town. With support from UNDP and in collaboration with the University of Juba’s National Transformational Leadership Institute (NTLI), a total of 30 youth (15 females) underwent the joint training in transformational leadership, peacebuilding and conflict management.
Eagerness for re-integration is apparent and the peace committees intend on playing a leadership role in transforming their communities through peacebuilding and awareness raising on gender-based violence (GBV). They also vowed to collectively engage as the “Youth United for Green and Clean Bentiu”, initiated from the grassroots by youth in Bentiu.
“This is a new beginning for us, we have changed ourselves during the training and now we have to change our communities,” said Thialel Kai Bakam, a youth leader from Rubkona town.
Amongst various topics, youth peace committee members have discussed joint action plans as a way forward. The committees are interested particularly in conducting training of trainers (ToT) sessions, so their shared understanding can reach youth residing in far flung areas in Northern Liech State.
“For us as women, life has always been difficult, only we as united youth can give hope to our future generations,” said Nyataba Gai Lat, a youth leader from Rubkona town.
The youth peace committee trainings form part of UNDP’s support to the Beyond Bentiu Protection of Civilian Site (PoC) - Creating Conditions for Peaceful Coexistence between Youth, Internally Displace Persons, Returnees and Host Communities project, implemented alongside IOM, with funding support from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.
The youth also work in collaboration with UNMISS Civil Affairs and local civil society organizations who are coming together to maximize positive momentum of the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement (R-ARCSS). This dynamic has been seen in action through the “Youth and Partners Peace Coordination Forum", where youth from the PoC, Rubkona and Bentiu town, jointly and freely discuss issues and challenges on a regular basis with UNMISS, UN agencies, INGOs and NGOs based in the area.
“We as youth are ready to take things to new levels, we are ready, we are honored, and we are blessed [receive the latest] joint leadership training,” adds Johl Dhil Thak, a leader from Bentiu town.