Bentiu residents dialogue on ways to tackle problems

By James Atem Kuir

Community leaders and members in Unity State’s Bentiu town held a day-long dialogue to devise ways to deal with social problems such as tribalism, women inclusion, human rights and corruption.

The meeting was organized and facilitated by Action for Conflict Resolution (ACR) with funding from the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), brought together 50 community leaders and members from Bentiu IDP camp and other residential areas to deliberate on issues affecting their way of life over the weekend.

“We want to see the communities come together and talk about their issues of concern and develop mechanisms of addressing them. For example, corruption which has been blamed for recent hostilities and threats by some youths towards aid workers across the country. These hostilities by youth who demand employment opportunities have led to suspension of humanitarian delivery to vulnerable people in the affected areas. So, we hope that bringing different members of the community to talk about these issues will result in devise comprehensive approach towards solving them and mitigate their impact on the community,” explained Peter Gatkuoth, ACR’s program manager in Bentiu town.

Theresa Nyanlatda Mum Yoal, a women leader in Bentiu in IDPs Camp, said women issues were often overlooked and not taken seriously by the society. She said the all-inclusive community dialogue gave her the platform to bring women concerns – including sexual gender based violence and lack of access to education for girls.

“Women face a lot of challenges which are always not considered a big deal. For instance, women are abused when they go to the forest to collect firewood. They end up being raped by unknown people and no justice is served to the victims at end of the day…we demand strong enforcement of law and punishment of perpetrators accordingly…we also demanded equal access to education for both boys and girls, even pregnant girls should not be prevented from continuing with their education,” she said, petitioning the community leaders to double efforts in addressing women concerns.

Peter GatyiekChuol Thot, a youth leader said: “The major challenge facing the youth is lack of employment and this is because of tribalism and lack of transparency especially in the (non-governmental) organizations.”

“You find the one heading the organization has employed all his relatives which is very bad. It cause a lotof  tension and may develop into confrontation if it is not addressed. I strongly believe tribalism has spread in different institutions and organizations and need urgent solution,” he said.

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