Youth union leader presents at a workshop.
While migrating during the dry season in Jonglei, South Sudan, the Lou Nuer tribe came under attack. The violence was attributed to the Murle tribe. Rumors surfaced that Lou Nuer were mobilizing for a violent retaliation against the perpetrators.
The newly formed Jonglei State Youth Union quickly sent a youth team to intervene before the conflict escalated. The dialogue was intense between the youth team and Lou Nuer. However, the youth delegation convinced the Lou Nuer to delay an attack and try to appeal to the government, responding without bloodshed.
Following the recommendations from the youth union, the Lou Nuer organized a peaceful demonstration in Bor to petition the state government for more vigorous disarmament initiatives. The governor listened to the demonstrators and pledged to ramp up disarmament. Lou Nuer tribe members were pleased with the response, and tensions subsided.
The Conflict Mitigation & Stablization Initiative (CMSI) project has played a large role in establishing and empowering these youth unions in various states across South Sudan. In partnership with PAE, MSI implements CMSI’s technical approach. The CMSI team helps youth to recognize that working with the government can help prevent further violence and advance their cause.
The project supported several of the state Ministries for Youth and Sports to develop strategic plans that better engage youth in peacebuilding activities. The project team created a receptive environment for the plan, bringing youth leaders, state government agencies and potential donors together in consultative planning conferences. The youth unions originated partly from a successful youth conference that CMSI sponsored.
The project also assisted the Jonglei State Youth Union in developing its constitution. The project continues to support the Jonglei State Youth Union expand their reach to all counties in the state.
Youth leaders that have participated in CMSI peacebuilding events have played active roles in convincing more militant youths from retaliating, including another almost violent incident in Western Equatoria over teak harvesting.