July 26, 2013 (BOR) – The youth and sports minister in South Sudan’s Jonglei state on Friday warned youth in the region against being used by politicians seeking personal gains.
In his remarks at the opening of a three-day dialogue in Bor, Baba Medan Konyi advised the youth to be united and actively participate in developing the region.
“Without unity, you will never achieve anything meaningful in society,” the minister told a group of about 40 youth.
At the forum, unemployment, early marriages among girls, inter-tribal conflicts and illiteracy, among others were cited as major problems affecting today’s youth in the country’s largest state.
The youth, according to the 2008 Sudan’s Housing and Population census, accounted for nearly 70% of the population in South Sudan. It however defined a youth as anyone between 18-40 years.
William Garang, the acting director general in the youth ministry challenged the forum organisers to critically define the underlying causes affecting youth in Jonglei state and devise long-term remedies to resolve them.
“For instance, this forum should explore why it is only the youth taking arms to fight against each other. Is it due to poverty or something else?” he said.
The event, organised by South Sudan Youth Participation Agency (SSYPA), seeks to establish Jonglei State Youth Dialogue Forum (J-SYDF), under the theme, ‘united for a culture of peace and dialogue’.
Angelo Diing, the SSYPA board chairman, said the dialogue, which is funded by the Norwegian-based Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, will steer peaceful co-existence among youth.
The three-day dialogue, officials told Sudan Tribune, will tackle youth roles in the constitutional review process, conflict issues, challenges and formation of a youth dialogue forum steering committee.
YOUTH SPEAK OUT
Simon Ochala, a participant at the forum also warned his fellow counterparts against political manipulation, describing it as setback to development in the region.
“The youth should avoid being subjected to political manipulation and instead strive for unity among them,” he said.
On the other hand, Allan Korok advised the youth to serve as goodwill ambassadors in rural communities to which they belong.