December 16, 2013 (TORIT) – Leaders and youth in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state have welcomed the formation of a youth dialogue forum, considered a platform to structurally transform the participation of young people in the country’s civic and political arena.
Clement Laku, the acting governor of the state said the forum should provide youth with avenues for innovative ideas, urging them not to over rely on the public sector for employment.
“As youth, you need to focus on private sector which is capable of accommodating most of them. Ensure that you utilise all the available natural resources with the state,” he said.
Laku was speaking at the end of a four-day workshop organised by South Sudan Youth Participation Agency (SSYPA), with support from the Norwegian based The Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights.
Majority of the youth, in separate interviews with Sudan Tribune, lauded the formation of the youth dialogue forum, which brought together about 30 young people from all over the eight counties of Eastern Equaotoria state.
Epone Emmanuel Lolimo, president of the state youth union
- Emmauel Epone Lolimo
The formation of the youth dialogue forum is an additional force to my office as we work together to address the challenges affecting us as youth of this state in general.
Oyet James, Magwi county
The youth dialogue forum is a good opportunity and I think it will help us solve the so many problems affecting the youth in the state. This forum, as you know, is the first of its kind and will play a key role in the addressing our challenges. Those elected on the committee should work together as a team so that we realise solutions to our problems.
Ukonga Valentino, Lopa/Lafon county
- Ukongo Valentino
It’s a unique in that dialogue forum will help youth come up with possible solutions to their problems, which as you know, are very many. I expect the steering committee members to work in close coordination with the state authorities and young people all over the eight counties of Eastern Equatoria state.
John Loboi, Equotos county
- John Loboi
Well, I think it was a very peaceful dialogue as the youth from all the eight counties came together to share their common problems and devise solution. Youth, as the late Dr. John Garang said, are the building foundation of the nation. It’s more like a dream come true for us the youth and we are happy that this forum has been formed.
Madit Malek, chairman national youth dialogue forum
- Madit Malek
This forum is one of the most peaceful ever formed. It has been democratically carried out in a transparent manner. The youth of Eastern Equatoria state should use this as an opportunity organise and create relationship yourselves. In that way, you can collectively resolve all the problems and challenges affecting all the youth.
Nickolai Hegerton, project coordinator at The Oslo Center
- Nikolai Hegerton
This is a very important forum. The youth, as you know, play vital toles in nation building. Let dialogue be your method towards resolving the various problems affecting the youth in this state and in that way, you can shape the future of this country as a whole.
Amaal Innocent, Magwi county
As a youth, I think this dialogue forum is a better way of bringing the youth together and I am happy with the gender representation of the people nominated. However, I expect the steering committee to bring the youth together and we expect changes at the end of it all.
Elizabeth Lodou, Kapeota South county
- Elizabeth Lodou
The forum has help some of us, who are ignorant about some of these things, understand that youth problems can be resolve through collective decision making. I expect those elected to coordinate with each other for the success of the youth dialogue forum.
Lokang Agustine Okocha, Budi county
The first of its kind in the state and I like the manner in which was peaceful formed. As a member of the steering committee, I expect all the members to work together as a team so that we can come up with proper solutions to the youth problems in the state.
Lorawa Mark, Kapeota East county
- James Oyet
We are very thankful about the formation of this youth dialogue forum, which has come to our state. We are determined to work together. However, we expect those in the steering committee to forward our problems at the concerned authorities. We also expect the state delegates to work with the national delegates.
Philemon Lokai, Kapeota South county
- Philemon Lokai
I must say I am so glad about the formation of this forum. This dialogue forum will help resolve the issues affecting the youth in this state. The steering committee, of which am a member, should work with the youth union to address issues like cattle rustling, HIV/Aids, among others. But generally, I think it’s a good forum.