Skip navigation

Kerida McDonald's blog

South Sudan - Communication and education for peace - UNICEF

To: The Children, Equity Network within The Communication Initiative

From: Kerida McDonald, UNICEF Senior Advisor, Communication for Development - New York

Last month, traveling on roads punctuated by armed soldiers, I attended a workshop on Conflict Sensitive Programming and Peacebuilding Message Development in Juba coordinated by the UNICEF South Sudan Communication for Development (C4D) and Education Sections, together with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology as well as the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

South Sudan - the youngest independent nation in the world - recently emerged from decades of conflict only to erupt in an unprecedented outbreak of violence starting in December 2013. Since then, ethnic power struggles and heavy fighting have contributed to the displacement of more than 1.2 million people, including over 900,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and another approximately 300,000 people who are seeking refuge in neighboring countries.

Within this precarious context, education is pivotal to mitigate further conflict and promote lasting peace. UNICEF is supporting Communication for Development in peacebuilding as a social process that facilitates dialogue and meaningful conversations to reduce and prevent the risk of conflict or relapse into it.

Developing messages on peacebuilding

To generate themes for peacebuilding messages, workshop participants identified both drivers of conflict and possible "connectors" that might help to motivate people to put aside differences and work together. The group brainstormed on how to apply these elements towards development of a comprehensive Vision for South Sudan. Many children from neighboring schools participated actively in the discussions.

Children and Equity