Youth groups in Bentiu interact on peacebuilding
For the first time since the outbreak of civil war in December 2013, youth groups from Rubkona’s UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site and those from Bentiu town, in Northern Liech State, came together recently to interact and exchange ideas during a joint training in peacebuilding and transformational leadership.
The groundbreaking exercise brought together 48 youth leaders, and their members, who had not met formally since the start of civil war due to political differences and perceived insecurity.
“This event marks the first step to healing and reconciliation in Unity State. Whether you are in the POC, or in Bentiu town, as a young person you belong to the Youth Union. That is why we should work together for peace in our state,” said Mr. Kong Kong, a youth leader from Bentiu Youth Union. Chairperson of the youth residing in Rubkona PoC, Mr. Both Mijiek, also emphasized the need for collaboration among the two groups of youth organizations.
The Bentiu Youth Union is present in 11 counties of former Unity State, while the Rubkona POC youth group is an amalgamation of 13 youth groups based in the camp. To prepare for the joint training, UNDP organized several round table dialogues with leaders from each of the two youth groups. Then, the same groups of youth underwent a three-day induction training, separately.
As a result of the ten-day peacebuilding and transformational leadership programme, the trainees from Rubkona POC and Bentiu town will form local peace committees, who will be instrumental in resolving conflicts around issues of cattle rustling, cattle migration, land disputes, and cultural disputes, including issues of gender-based violence.
The joint training was organized by UNDP’s Peace and Community Cohesion Project (PaCC), in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNMISS Civil Affairs Division.
During the opening of the training, Ms. Judy Wakahiu, project manager of UNDP’s PaCC project said: “UNDP supports grassroots initiatives to enhance peace and social cohesion, as development cannot be achieved without peace, and we cannot sustain peace without development. The role of the youth as agent of change for peace and cohesion is paramount in this case.”
Mr. Victor Famasa, acting head of UNMISS field office in Bentiu, said: “The partnership between UNDP and UNMISS has helped communities resolve myriads of problems not just in Bentiu but also in other parts of South Sudan.”