The South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) have activated a series of three trainings of 85 community leaders each, as part of the implementation of its Action Plan for Peace. From the 24th of January to the 17th of February 2018, SSCC will be training a cohort of 255 facilitators who will be tasked with carrying out ‘Community Conversations’ across South Sudan.
For many years, the Church in South Sudan has brought people together to share their stories of loss and their hopes, ask for advice, forgiveness and inspiration. The Community Conversations will bring South Sudanese together from the Payam-level to the national-level to inform local Agendas for Peace and Reconciliation and a National Agenda for Peace and Reconciliation. It is hoped that more than half a million South Sudanese will make their voices heard and represent their Bomas in a unique effort to bring peace to the country and reconciliation to people’ hearts. A stable and lasting peace can only be achieved if everyone feels part of the process to achieve it and can take pride in upholding the just relationships intended by a peace agreement. The SSCC Action Plan for Peace recognizes that some fighting can indeed be ended on paper, but underlines that peace can only truly be made in the hearts of people. It is hoped that the Community Conversations experience of people coming together to listen to each other’s grievances and insights, cultivating intercommunal dialogue and identifying solutions to the challenges they have in common, will contribute to bringing deep, lasting peace to all people of South Sudan.
The series of trainings will be facilitated by the South African Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) who have been invited to support this process on the basis of its long-standing contribution to South Sudan’s journey to peace and reconciliation. IJR will be working together with a team of South Sudanese facilitators to ensure the use of a methodology that is engaging, interactive and context-specific. Community leaders will be engaged in discussions on conflict, violence and peace and how these concepts manifest in South Sudan. Given the rich history of using dialogue as a tool to resolve conflict in the South Sudan and given the centrality of dialogue to the Community Conversations process, participants will gain skills in how to prepare, host, facilitate and sustain community dialogues in South Sudan.
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