“I will [leave this training] with the message of Ubuntu. Ubuntu means togetherness, regardless of being Gok, or being Agar, or being Tonj, we are all human beings. The ideas about psychosocial support and trauma healing, the knowledge is booming [in my head],” said Mr. Gismo Nyuach, from Lakes State, working with Helping Hands.
Mr. Nyuach recounted his experience as a young person, driven by economic desperation, and how his journey led to enlisting in the armed forces. While serving, Mr. Nyuach was injured and lost his leg. He now works with and leads efforts to support persons with disabilities, and from the training came to understand more deeply how trauma affects people like him.
“Persons living with disability, we are the most populated number [of people] in the country. This is the community who is the most traumatized, and our trauma can traumatize you,” he shared.
“I think [the participants] came to realize the importance of social coexistence and the importance of our mental health,” said Ms. Bena Mark, a lecturer and Head of Psychology Department at the University of Juba, and one of the master trainers of programme.
“The reality is we're all human beings and we all have feelings and we all have hopes. What happens or crashes hopes, prevents people from seeing that they have a future. That's what we try to do -- help release some of that [pain] so that people can have an expanded imagination and vision for the future,” said Dr. Barrett Hart, fellow facilitator and master trainer.
Following the training, participants will be given an opportunity to train community psychosocial support volunteers as they undergo supervision, mentorship, and coaching from the master trainers. Remote monthly mentorship and coaching will help the new trainees improve their skills as well as provide space for the trainees to learn from each other through sharing experiences. By the end of the one-year mentorship and coaching process, the chief trainers will produce a manual customized with case studies and experiences of South Sudan.
UNDP’s Peace and Community Cohesion (PaCC) programme seeks to contribute to the reduction and mitigation of community level conflict and insecurity by investing in initiatives that address key drivers of conflict and insecurity. The project empowers communities to identify in an inclusive and participatory manner the roots of conflicts in their communities, and using an integrated and gender- sensitive approach, support the communities to effectively prevent, manage and resolve conflict in a non-violent manner. The project also strengthens community relationships by identifying and strengthening cultural, social and economic connectors that make communities reliant on each other in times of peace and conflict. This work was made possible with funding from the Government of Sweden.
Learn more about UNDP's work in Peace and Community Cohesion in South Sudan.