Children take center stage in promoting peace

By Morris Dogga

The school girls draped traditional “lotuko” beads around their waists and breasts, the boys had the beads on waist; faces, hands and bodies painted with words of peace and symbols was the scene at Torit One primary school during the preliminary “Arts for Peace” club competitions between 12 schools from Imatong state on the 11th of October, 2017.

Arts for peace is a pilot project engaging school children from twelve schools in Torit municipality and eight schools from Juba in peace education. It is targeting about 13,723 children and 202 teachers in 12 schools.

The art for pace is being implemented project in both Torit and Juba by a local organization- Basic Education and Training Association, (BETA) for community development.

The Executive Director for BTA, Gerald Kabuye said there was a notable increase in the number of enrolled students in Torit Municipality resulting from families and children running away from the villages pierced with insecurities.

Kabuye said “the school environment provides fertile ground for young, creative, brilliant minds, yet uncorrupted by the stereotypes and ills of society.”

“School going children interact freely among themselves without distinctions of cultures and ethnicity which have greatly riddled the society of the young nation of South Sudan,” he added.

Robert Leju a pupil of Illuhum Primary school in Torit said “It is important that we learn and talk about peace in school because many young people drop out of school and end up taking up arms and joining the armed struggle.”

“If we receive messages of peace and diplomacy and learn that this is a better way of resolving conflict rather than fighting, then the young nation can attain sustainable peace and development.” Leju added

For Anna Kasimiro of Supiri Secondary school their learning is always disrupted and children are always forced to drop out of school when conflict erupts.

“When conflicts erupt, our schools and the children are among the hardest hit, schools end up being closed or turned into settlements by those fighting or internally displace persons,” she said when addressing her peers during a peace club meeting.

The ‘Arts for peace’ project works in such a way that all the schools that are part of the project form peace clubs.

The members of these clubs then come up with peace messages to be delivered through poems, drama plays and songs that advocate for lasting peace in homes, communities and the whole nation.

Through the school’s peace clubs, the school children play an active role in creating peace awareness in their schools, communities as well as through outreach activities in other schools. The children also engage in peace dialogues, poems, songs, drama, storytelling and debates as well as radio talk shows.

The schools included; Dumak, AIC, Torit East, Illuhum. Participating schools in Juba include, Supiri Secondary, Juba Boys, Juba Nabari and five others.

Speaking at the event, ‘El Amin Amanya, the director for curriculum development in Imatong state called upon the community not only to talk about peace but rather practically put peace in their daily lives to guide their actions.


He further advised that such peace and reconciliation ceremonies should be recorded so that they are broadcast for other states to see how far Imatong state has gone in a battle to bring about lasting peace in South Sudan.


The Director for Basic Education and Secondary Education, the Director of Gender, Equity and Social Change; the Director for Curriculum Development, Director General Ministry of youth culture and sports and the Director for culture were among the government officials who attended the event.


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