“We have suffered from numerous conflicts and it is important for us to know how to resolve these amicably, especially disagreements with nomadic herders,” says Anyisa Pagan Amum.
Mr. Amum was speaking at an UNMISS-facilitated peace forum held in Kodok, Upper Nile state, where more than 30 representatives from civil society organizations, women, youth and traditional leaders came together to discuss building social cohesion, reconciliation and harmony among local communities here.
Kodok, located within Fashoda county, was devastated by the civil war which took place in South Sudan in 2013. Many people fled their homes at the time, but now with a peace deal and a transitional government of national unity in place, they are slowly returning to their families and beginning the painstaking process of rebuilding their lives.
The two-day training hosted by the mission’s Civil Affairs Division on 13-14 April 2021, therefore, aimed at empowering participants with basic conflict-management training. It also focused on building relationships between
“Much of our lives has been spent in the midst of war and conflict,” reveals Christina Oling, a women’s representative from Fashoda. “As women, we are not only disproportionately affected by conflict but, on the other hand, we are also natural-born mediators and negotiators,” she continues. “This workshop has given me workable skills with which I can use my natural instincts to mediate conflicts.”
Mr. Amum agrees. “Our basic need is simple – we need to be safe and secure. For this, we must all assume collective responsibility to resolve and manage any disputes that arise without having to resort to violence,” he adds.
For her part, Begimai Ashiralieva, a Civil Affairs Officer serving with the mission believes that the workshop also has the added advantage of convening and connecting civil society.
“It’s important that civil society and community-based organizations build their skills in conflict mitigation,” she states. “However, it’s equally important to break the silos between representatives so that they form connections and relationships with one another. Durable peace has a better chance when diverse groups come together with the common objective of uniting as one people.”