South Sudan, the youngest nation in the world, started its journey on July 9, 2011, with hope and eagerness for self-rule and nation-building.
Its independence came after decades of civil war with a staggering number of lives lost and the destruction of the already meager infrastructure it had.
Unfortunately for the people of South Sudan, the nation's anticipated trajectory to normalcy and development came to a halt when large-scale conflict broke out in December 2013, followed by another major hiccup in July 2016.
A lot has changed since then, with many lives lost, millions displaced, and over 60 percent of its people needing emergency humanitarian assistance.
South Sudan has enjoyed relative peace since the signing of the Revitalized Peace Agreement in September 2018. This was followed by the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) in February 2020.
As the country celebrates its 10th-year independence, building on what has been achieved so far and supporting ongoing efforts to implement all components of the peace agreement must be the priority of its government, its people, friends, and partners of South Sudan.
World Vision stands in solidarity with the people, especially the children, and the government of South Sudan towards making its dream of a peaceful and prosperous nation a reality. All effort must be geared to build sustained peace as a cornerstone for nation-building, ensuring access to basic services to its populace must be a priority.
Humanitarian and development partners such as World Vision can and should do more in addressing both root causes and impacts of conflict, COVID-19, and climate change.
World Vision's campaign "It takes a world to end violence against children" and the South Sudan version "It takes a Nation to protect the future generation" will be of paramount importance.
For South Sudan, to achieve its vision of a nation where its people live in peace and prosperity, all stakeholders must strengthen programming and funding to programs along the Humanitarian-Development and Peace nexus.
Above all, it needs more concerted efforts to scale up grassroots peacebuilding initiatives. The peace dividends cannot be "brought-in" but can only be developed from within.
World Vision stands in solidarity with the people, especially the children, and the government of South Sudan towards making its dream of a peaceful and prosperous nation a reality.
By Dr. Mesfin Loha, Country Director, World Vision South Sudan