Championing the voices of youth, women and survivors in Sudan and South Sudan
Narration can have a powerful impact on fighting prejudice and violence at the grassroots level. Rights for Peace’s projects in Sudan and South Sudan have championed the voices of the young generation, civil society, traditional singers and survivors of conflict-related sexual violence to foster peace.
Since April 2021, GAMAAC partner Rights for Peace has worked with the Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace & Justice (CIGPJ) and Dialogue & Research Initiative (DRI) to deliver workshops, focus group discussions and interviews with survivors of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) in South Sudan. The aim of this project is to seek survivors’ perceptions, needs and expectations with regards to reparations for CRSV.
In August 2021, the project made progress towards building survivors’ capacity to strengthen their voices as advocates, including by planning for an upcoming survivor network meeting and a closed-door advocacy event for survivors to speak and engage with key stakeholders.
Alongside its work with the CIGPJ and DRI, Rights for Peace has supported the human rights education and the implementation of peacebuilding initiatives led by the South Sudan Youth for Peace and Development Organisation (SSYPADO). Addressing issues of hate speech and identity-based violence in South Sudan and Northern Uganda, SSYPADO’s youth initiatives aim to promote inter-ethnic dialogue among the younger generation in order to prevent future conflict and violence and to strengthen the decision-making and conflict resolution capacities of local and youth leaders.
On South Sudan’s 10th anniversary of independence, SSYPADO identified three issues that need to be addressed following the completion and success of the 24 month ‘Jo Cox Memorial Grant’ project and the various youth initiatives that took place in areas including Malakal, Torit, Juba, Mangateen and Adjumani. SSYPADO stated that:
- The Youth must be informed of processes that concern them;
- The Youth need to make their voices heard and their needs understood;
- The Youth require sustained capacity building and opportunities to participate in decision-making processes.
The participants demonstrated that the younger generation already possessed the necessary skills to develop peacebuilding processes and to resolve the current tensions and violence. Before this project, they only lacked the means by which they could showcase their abilities.
Further back in 2021, Rights for Peace has engaged with Sudanese and South Sudanese activists, youth and women in hate speech monitoring and storytelling for peace. In March 2021, the storybook ’Write for Peace’ was published, which features five short stories written by young South-Sudanese authors that challenge prejudice, discrimination and violence.
In February 2021, Rights for Peace concluded six months of trainings, clinics and interviews with Sudanese civil society, which were designed to strengthen local capacities to identify, monitor and collect reports of hate speech and incitement to violence in order to prevent future mass atrocities. The report “Discrimination and Hate Speech Fuel Violence in Sudan” (available in GAAMAC’s resources library) was the product of this project.
Finally, in January 2021, Rights for Peace conducted a workshop in Darfurwith traditional female singers, known as “Hakamat”, to encourage a rewriting of traditional songs into messages of peace and unity.