30 Church Leaders Trained On Contents Of Peace Agreements

A US-based advocacy group is continuously educating South Sudanese religious leaders and its citizens about the contents of the August peace agreement between government and the SPLM-IO.

30 Church Leaders Trained On Contents Of Peace Agreement
Church leaders during the workshop on the contents of the peace agreement in Aweil [Photo| Agoth Abraham]

By Agoth Abraham

AWEIL, 07 July 2016 [Gurtong]- Democracy International officials who travelled to Aweil this week to conduct training to church leaders believe once church leaders and citizens are informed about what is in the deal, they will own it and support its implementation.

Democracy International is implementing the USAID-funded project known as Systems to Uphold the Credibility and Constitutionality of Elections in South Sudan. The group of facilitators from Democracy International who came to conduct a training wrapped up a three-day Campaign in Aweil on Thursday aimed at creating awareness about the peace agreement and how similar peace, reconciliation, healing and peaceful coexistence messages can reach the grass root communities.

In order to have wider coverage on these Peace messages, 30 church leaders from different churches concluded a three-day training organized by Democracy International.

Democracy International Civic Education Officer and a facilitator for the training, Caroline Kibos, says her organization needs to bring peace messages to everyone at the grass root level in South Sudan.

“We chose to come and work with South Sudan Council of Churches in peace dissemination because these people have big congregation, like they command a big crowd, so we think if they know the contents of the peace agreement, they will be able to disseminate further to their congregation. They will capture a very big number of people at once since they have access to the people and people keep praying every Sunday so you get the number like there are two to three services in each Church, so there will be a very huge number of people that will be told about the contents of the peace agreement.”

Kibos says South Sudanese themselves are the only people who can bring about an end to the conflict and be able to live peacefully if they understand and utilize the importance of peace at their homes.

“We’re trying as much as possible to make sure that all the citizens of South Sudan get to know about this peace agreement. So we urge that the few people who have known about these peace contents should also spread the message to everyone they can get to listen to this message so that all of us get to know the contents of this agreement because if we know the contents of this agreement, we shall monitor its implementation. We shall urge the government to implement it and we shall be in better position to inform other people and make right decisions towards implementation and we shall also have a better ground to have reconciliation and to have peace and stability in the country.”

One of the participants, a Catholic Church member, Lual William Malong who was trained for three days now on the peace contents says he understood an important role they will play as youth of this country to engage the grass root people to know the contents adding that many people need to learn about the peace contents.

“Here as a church, we are very glad to speak about peace because we’re the ambassadors of peace, we are the voice of the voiceless and we’re the role models of peace as we resemble our Lord Jesus Christ, he was a peace maker. Here I represent the youth to talk; we are the weapons to be used in any incident that happened.”

Lual says the training he has had has been meaningful to him and to the entire youth. He says it will help in disseminating the messages of peace, unity, healing and reconciliation to the rest who have not heard about it.

Reverend Daniel Lual Lual, from the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and one of the church leaders who attended the training says the training will be incorporated in their daily masses so that peace, healing and reconciliation messages go to grass root people.

“I think this training gives me courage more than what I was doing before in my church through the community I was leading. We came here to get new contents of the resolutions of conflict of South Sudan, to go out and preach to the people in South Sudan that the peace has come and this peace will solve our problems as we have learnt it. Also we have to carry another message of peace, reconciliation and healing to preach to everybody, to church leaders, to community leaders, to women and children at school levels. This peace is giving us a chance to come again and live peacefully in our country when we preach it well and we accept it to forgive ourselves.”
Lual I urging the government of South Sudan to implement all the contents of the peace agreement. He also appeals to the international community to help in timely implementation of the agreement so that stability comes back to South Sudan as soon as possible.

“To the government, we are saying that you work very hard to achieve what was mentioned in the resolutions of conflict of South Sudan peace agreement, we urge also other communities like the international communities to listen to us and to support the peace process, if anything comes, we also pray to God because God can do more than people do.”

Bishop Emannuel Achuil from the South Sudan Pentecostal Church says they will work hard to deliver trainings from State Counties, Payams and Bomas so that everyone understands better.

“The South Sudan Council of Churches has action plans, action plans for peace and development, our role and the message we shall take back to the grass root levels, from Counties, Payams, Bomas and every corner of communities and in the church. We came up with an action plan that we call the churches on Sunday to preach to them, tell them about the importance of peace.”

Democracy International has been holding similar campaigns in other Counties and Payams across the country to enable citizens to learn and ask questions about the contents of the peace agreement.

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