‘I AM PEACE’ PROJECT -A YOUTH LED PROJECT FOR PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE AMONG SOUTH SUDANESE REFUGEES AND BETWEEN REFUGEES AND THE HOST COMMUNITIES IN UGANDA.
By Lupai Samuel Kenyi (Sambro),
June 1, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —– Following the continuous flow of South Sudanese refugees into Uganda, tensions continue to grow in some refugee settlements among refugees themselves and between refugees and host communities.
This is due to tribal and political lines among the refugees and negative stereotypes between refugees and hosts.
After the ‘I AM PEACE’ project, a youth led project under Radio Amani to foster peaceful coexistence between refugees and hosts and among refugees, was launched on 13th May 31, 2017, I (Sambro Lupai) and the whole project team embarked on a couple of activities to create and foster peaceful coexistence.
During our project activities, we have learned that majority of South Sudanese refugees face unfavorable conditions. Their children don’t go to school, tensions between them and the host community increase when it comes to sharing some resources like borehole and health facilities and also insufficient food. This has made many to conclude that it’s better to go back to South Sudan.
Majority of youths have indulged in drugs and early marriages as a way of solving their problems. Since many are unemployed, it has led some of them to steal livestock and other materials to survive and buy drugs. Many have unruly behaviors in the communities hence causing frictions with local authorities.
What the ‘I AM PEACE’ project has done
We have conducted a community dialogue in one of the refugee settlements and discussed issues affecting their relationship with the hosts plus ways forward to fostering peaceful coexistence.
We have organized a talent search in Adjumani District which saw groups involving South Sudanese and Ugandans come out to showcase their talents. The winner is a South Sudanese Rapper called Deng (Black Diamond) who had already dropped out of school due to financial reasons but managed to beat all contestants. He was cheered by both refugees and Ugandans. What a perfect way to show effects of peaceful coexistence!
We have offered a full scholarship to Deng (Black Diamond), the winner of the talent search to help him realize his dream of going back to school.
We have created a culture in the people to meet and discuss issues affecting peaceful coexistence every weekend in MACI Compound, Adjumani District. During this activity, people gather to associate, play together, send messages of peace, and later dialogue. It’s an effective way of bringing Adjumani Youths together. The day is always filled with lots of fun, laughter and knowledge.
We have particular topics discussed on radio to address issues of peaceful coexistence.
What we have planned to do
We have planned an Inter secondary schools debate and essay competition across all secondary schools in Adjumani district. This is to create a platform for students both refugees and citizens to sharpen their intelligence and also associate among themselves. Topics to be discussed are purely those which affect peaceful coexistence.
We will continue with our community outreach programs like the community dialogues and our weekend activities. This is where we address real issues directly to the communities.
We have organized a talent search to be conducted in all the camps. This will be a platform for majority of unemployed but talented youths to discover their talents and learn how to use their talent to be self-reliant.
Produce radio drama series designed and acted in a way that it addresses issues which create division in the society.
We have also planned a mega festival at the end of the year to bring both South Sudanese and Citizens together. This is intended to showcase cultural diversity across all communities hence, letting them realize how common the cultures are which therefore fosters peace and unity.
The ‘I AM PEACE’ project team would like to call upon everybody to embrace this project in order to support the hopeless and traumatized individuals in the refugee community so they can peacefully learn how to coexist with the host community.
Peace is not color,
Peace is not race,
Peace is me,
Peace is you,
PEACE IS US ALL.
I AM PEACE
Lupai Samuel Kenyi (Sambro)
‘I AM PEACE’ Ambassador and Team Leader