December 14, 2013 (TORIT) – A youth dialogue forum seeking to structurally transform the way youth participate in the civic and political arena was on Saturday formed in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state.
- Eastern Equatoria youth at the end of a workshop organised by SSYPA with support from The Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights December 14, 2013 (ST)
The initiative was established at the end of a four-day symposium organised by South Sudan Youth Participation Agency (SSYPA), which brought together 30 youth from the eight counties in the state.
The meeting earlier discussed issues affecting the youth in the state, with unemployment, land conflict, cattle raid and blood compensation, among others emerging as cross-cutting matters.
Samuel Okomi, the director of SSYPA described the youth dialogue forum as a “peace, democracy and constitution-building” project, which envisions mobilising the traditionally marginalised youth voices from across dividing lines to function as one.
“The forum aims at creating multiple channels through which the youth can influence the democratisation, peace and constitution-building process”, said Okomi.
Such youth forums, he stressed, gives the youth the right platform to understand their roles and responsibilities, hence fully participate in the series of post-conflict challenges that have engulfed the new nation.
“By ironing out their differences in such a major forum, the youth can have a platform to speak in one voice on matters of organising, indentifying, mobilising and properly utilising available resources for developing the country”, Okomi further stressed.
Meanwhile, Michael Ayeo Paul was nominated chairperson of the state youth dialogue forum, deputised by Nakwam Edward Lucy. Also nominated were six active members of the steering committee.
Madit Malek, the chairperson of the national youth dialogue forum described the nomination process as “one of the most peaceful” ever conducted, since the state process began in July this year.
A similar dialogue forum has also been established in Jonglei state.
Angelo Diing, the board chairman of SSYPA said the state dialogue forum “provides a platform for youth to meet and share their views on matters affecting them, devising ways of how to resolve them”.
The initiative, supported by the Norwegian-based Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, seeks to establish youth dialogue forums in all the country’s 10 states.
“Youth play very vital roles in nation building and the future of the country belongs to them [youth]”, said Nikolai Hegerton, a project coordinator at The Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights.
The youth, statistics show, account for nearly half of the South Sudanese population.