Wednesday, 23 October 2019—The South Sudan edition of the global flagship event, the Social Good Summit, attracted a diverse range of local innovators, advocates, business leaders, and entrepreneurs for a morning of inspiration and action. The programme featured six inspiring social innovators who shared personal accounts of their ideas and solutions towards achieving lasting peace and sustainable development in South Sudan.
Organized by United Nations Development Programme, the summit was held at Palm Africa Hotel in Juba on Wednesday. The theme for the event was ‘South Sudan: Why the time for peace and development is now”, and the discussions highlighted the importance of partnerships and collaboration as a key success factor.
The Social Good Summit links to a global cadre of change-makers highlighted every year on the global stage, in tandem with the United Nations General Assembly. The Social Good Summit was founded a decade ago as a new kind of summit -- one where activism would be celebrated, and attendees would be galvanized into action.
The occasion in Juba was presided by Minister Counsellor at the Embassy of Sweden Urban Sjostrom, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Marc Maziarac, and UNDP Resident Representative Dr. Kamil Kamaluddeen.
During the launch, Mr. Sjostrom and Mr. Maziarac both reiterated the Government of Sweden and the Netherlands’ commitment towards supporting the people of South Sudan in the peacebuilding and development process. They commended the young people for taking action, sharing their experiences and standing up to have their voices included.
Echoing Mr. Sjostrom and Mr. Maziarac’s words of encouragement, Dr. Kamil Kamaluddeen, UNDP Resident Representative, said, “The event today is yet another innovative initiative born from our commitment to empowering youth.” He emphasized the need to focus on nurturing a culture of home-grown and effective solutions, for the people, by the people, and finding innovative ways to unlock meaningful opportunities to grow and expand the ideas.
“We stand at a critical moment for South Sudan, heavy with expectations. In this environment, it is not always easy to act, to persevere, to tackle hard issues and insist on changing systems. The Social Good Summit is a celebration of looking at the hardest problems, or at things many others deem ‘impossible’, and finding a way to make a change,” said Dr. Kamil Kamaluddeen, UNDP Resident Representative during opening remarks.
The headliners of the event were six dynamic individuals who delivered cross-cutting lightning talks on issues of peace and development, such as transitional justice, community cohesion, economic growth, women’s empowerment and employment for young people. The speakers of the event were:
- Jackeline Nasiwa, Founder, Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice
- Doreen Akecam, Women Aid Vision
- John Chol and Gak Malek, Founders, Business and Entrepreneurship Anchor Technology
- Lydia Bako, Programme Manager, Brisker Magazine
- Denaya Dennis, Award-winning singer, and YALI Nelson Mandela Leadership Fellow
The event featured new technology as a means of boosting conversation. During the talks, the audience participated in real-time with the speakers through online polling and questions. When asked to rank the Sustainable Development Goals, the audience chose GOAL 4: Quality Education, GOAL 2: Zero Hunger and GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth as the top three most important to them and their families.
People around South Sudan and the diaspora participated in the conversations online using hashtag #ACT4SDGS, and during a LIVE interactive panel discussion with the speakers on UNDP South Sudan’s Facebook page. The recording is available to watch, here.