By Julius N. Uma
August 12, 2012 (JUBA) - The high rate of unemployment among the young
people in South Sudan will soon be a thing of the past, should the
planned national youth service initiative announced by government
become a reality.
- South Sudan’s youth and sports minister, Cirino Hiteng (L) and Toby Lanzer, the new UN Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, August 11, 2012 (ST)
South Sudan’s youth and sports minister, Cirino Hiteng, on Saturday
told journalists that the planned youth service, to be developed in
line with the country’s youth policy, is a one-year compulsory program
that will involve teaching young people nation-building skills.
"We shall work in partnership with the defense ministry to identify
and teach our young people skills that are necessary for building thus
nation", said Hiteng, adding that the first phase of the program will
target at least 10,000 people from all over the country.
The minister, speaking on the eve of world youth day, also stressed
the importance of a robust education programme in the country,
describing education as a key pillar in South Sudan’s post-war
The youth in South Sudan, according to the 2008 Sudan housing and
population census, accounted for over 70 percent of the population. It
defines a youth as anyone from 18-40 years.
Hiteng further hinted on a plan to have a certain percentage from the
country’s oil revenues allocated as future generation funds for youth
development, further emphasizing the importance of investing in the
"A future does not plan for itself, but some people have to plan for
it", he said.
Also underway, the national youth minister told journalists, is a plan
to review laws on whether young people who commit crimes should be
detained in prisons or simply subject them to community service.
A recently released Human Rights Watch (HRW) report revealed dire
conditions in South Sudan’s prisons, with many young people reportedly
being detained in the same detention cells with adults.
With lack of funds, infrastructural challenges seen as major bottle
necks to South Sudan’s plans to boost higher education, the minister
advised the youth not to lose hope in whatever they are doing, if they
are to attain positive outcomes.
Meanwhile Toby Lanzer, newly appointed the United Nations Resident
Coordinator for South Sudan told journalists that partnering with the
youth globally is one of the top five priorities of the UN Secretary
General, Ban Ki-moon.
He however advised the youth in South Sudan to play fundamental roles
in building their respective communities, through patience and hard
"There is no magic word for success other than hard work", said
Lanzer, who also doubles as the Deputy Special Representative to the
Secretary General in South Sudan.
Based on the theme, “A better world in partnership with the youth",
this year’s event in South Sudan is sponsored by the Ministry of
Youth, Culture and Sports, in partnership with UN Population Fund
(UNFPA), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Adventist Development and Relief
Agency (ADRA), among others.