19 May 2014 - Kicking off a new programme to solve disputes peacefully, UNICEF and the government began a two-day conference today on life skills in Yambio, Western Equatoria State.
Targeting elders, children and church leaders, the exercise is a pilot project to be extended to other states once security permits, according to UNICEF education specialist Mbori-idie Francis Babodo.
“This is a pilot programme called life skills and peace building we are testing in WES (Western Equatoria State) to build peace in children in schools,” he said.
The conference, organized with the ministries of Education, Youth and Sports and Social development, is initially targeting six Yambio schools.
Acting Minister of Education Gibson Wande said the programme would be divided into three phases. The first would focus on primary schools, the second on elders and church leaders and the third on youth groups.
Opening the conference, Western Equatoria Governor Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro urged participants to promote peace and unity for all South Sudanese living in the state and avoid conflict-inciting rumors.
Without peace there would be no development and education, the governor said, adding that tribalism was the source of disunity and conflict. He cautioned politicians about fighting for personal interest, stressing that Western Equatoria should serve as an example of peace in South Sudan.