Youth Dialogue Forum in South Sudan
The Youth Dialogue Forum workshop was held in Jonglei State this July, with almost forty participants from all the eleven counties in the state. The workshop “United for a Culture of Peace and Dialogue” was held in the state capitol Bor in collaboration with South Sudan Youth Participation Agency (SSYPA), with support from the Oslo Center.
Jonglei is the biggest state in South Sudan and the majority of the population is dependent upon livestock. The state has a history of violence and conflict between the tribes, much of which is over disagreements about water, land and theft of cattle. A UN report from 2012 estimates about 140.000 people affected by the ongoing conflicts.
The participants in the workshop identified some of the root-causes of conflict in the state. They discussed theft of cattle, child and women abduction, and lack of understanding of the rule of law; issues the participants agreed were being worsened by the local leaders. Because the common denominator was leadership, the workshop focused on political parties and how to include the population in decisions concerning the country on both state and national level. Women and youth need to be involved as stakeholders in all reconciliation initiatives, and 25% representation of women in all positions of decision making has to be enshrined in the constitution and observed by all political parties in South Sudan. The participants issued a statement which was released to the media after the workshop.
New democracies have to include women and youth in order to achieve a vide representation in the population, which is important both in positions of decision making and in the political parties in general. The best way to train the new generation is to include them, something which is of utmost importance in a country where education has been reserved for a selected part of the population for a long time.
The workshop in Jonglei State is part of a National Youth Dialogue Program supported by the Oslo Center, and will continue in all the 10 states of South Sudan.