Building Bridges and Breaking Barriers UNDP is committed to supporting the people of South Sudan through the Peace and Community Cohesion Programme. Here is what we are doing.

With over six decades of fighting, for generations the people in South Sudan have learnt to pick up and build back. Though communal conflicts and lack of trust between communities remain. These deep and longstanding grievances act as barriers to building sustainable peace. Working with communities to build social cohesion and reconciliation is key to ensuring people of South Sudan heal from years of war and shift gears towards sustainable development.

UNDP is committed to supporting South Sudan through the Peace and Community Cohesion Programme. We work with local communities in South Sudan to improve social cohesion and foster reconciliation. This is done through creating and sustaining structures to prevent and resolve local conflicts. The programme focuses on five regions, with field presence in Aweil, Bentiu, Bor, Rumbek and Torit.




Innovating the Future to Bridge the Gender Gap

Sunday believes that her time in GoGirls has helped her improve her skills and realize her passion for science and technology. Today, in her mind, possibilities are endless.

GoGirls ICT Initiative was started by a group of dedicated South Sudanese women. They empower women and girls to expand their skills and knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields while also inculcating a culture of peace. Supported by UNDP, the GoGirls guide computer science students from the University of Juba to mentor primary and secondary school students, ensuring the young girls stay in school.

Meet 26-year-old Sunday Guido, she started as a mentee, since obtained a degree in Information Technology and has now become a mentor herself. A self-starter and learner, she started her journey in technology four years ago when she dropped her phone in water and used her own knowledge and problem-solving skills to fix it. Sunday has plans to start her own tech service center soon.

The main focus of their curriculum is to impart computer literacy and basic programming knowledge, along with essential life skills. The young women learn to use open source technologies like Scratch to create stories using graphics and animation. The young girls use this tool to tell stories of peace.

Enabling Women Entrepreneurs Today, to Build a Peaceful Tomorrow

“I have mentored three women to become entrepreneurs. They worked closely with me and quickly picked up skills, such as, financial management. Through their earnings, each of them started their small business." says Regina Achok.

Meet 38 years old Regina Achok John from Marial-baai. She runs a household of ten members. She used to farm for her family’s consumption like many women from her community. She used to cultivate sorghum, okra and pumpkin.

Today, her story is different. With capital support provided by UNDP through implementing partner Recovery and Access to Commonly Best Optimism (RACBO), Regina now cultivates and produces peanut butter for commercial sale. She also serves as the Secretary General for Peanut Butter Production Women Group in her county, empowering other women. In fragile contexts and in post-conflict situations, the economic empowerment of women secures sustainable and lasting peace.

Creating an Enabling Environment for Open Dialogue

Rahama Belai, 43 years old, comes from the Misseriya community. He is married with four children and transports fuel from Western Kordofan in Sudan to Aweil East region in South Sudan. Insecurity along the border due to intercommunal conflicts between the Dinka Malual and the Misseriya had prevented him from cross-border trade, which made it difficult to meet his family’s’ needs.

The Misseriya nomads depend on Aweil East areas for pasture and water for their livestock. To promote peaceful cattle movements during the dry season, UNDP trained a Joint Border Peace Committee with members from both the Dinka Malual and Misseriya communities in transformational leadership and conflict management and supported pre- and post-migration dialogue that resulted in signing of migration agreements.

Through effective monitoring of the implementation resolutions by the Joint Border Peace Committee, incidences of violence such as cattle theft and killings have reduced, thus enabling traders like Belai to earn a living through cross-border trade of fuel. In turn, the increased access to fuel has resulted in more young people earning their living using motorbikes (locally known as boda-boda).

Uniting People Over Their Love For Wrestling

On asking young wrestler Awuolic Ajuong from Yirol region about his experience, he says, “We lost against wrestlers from Eastern Lakes region today after putting our best effort. But at the end of the day, we respect each other as athletes, so we ended up going back to our accommodation and discussing techniques with each other. We are ambassadors of peace and we need to demonstrate it to our fans.”

Two tall wrestlers clad in traditional attire made of animal skin, dance barefoot facing each other, until one of them knocks his opponent down, leaving a thick cloud of dust. Followed by a loud cheer from thousands of supporters who dance and root for their favorite wrestlers.

Irrespective of winning or losing, the spectators and athletes are there to celebrate the values of mutual respect, inclusion, and equality.

South Sudan loves wrestling and it brings communities together in a peaceful way. Mediums like sports can play an essential role in uniting people, promoting well-being, fostering tolerance, mutual understanding, and peace, and contributing to social inclusion and equality. UNDP works with partners on the ground to provide an environment to grow this sport, reach larger audiences and spread peace messaging through the wrestlers.

Our work with communities has been made possible due to the continued support and funding by the Government of Sweden, People of Japan, Korean International Cooperation Agency and UN Peacebuilding Fund. UNDP works with a diverse group of partners across the country, from civil society organizations to educational institutions to leave no one behind.