Engage Youth “in productive activities” to Curb Violence in South Sudan: Catholic Priest

Fr. Mbikoyo Charles. Credit: CDTY/Facebook

A Catholic Priest in South Sudan has emphasized the need to engage young people in the East-Central African nation “in productive activities” to address the challenge of violence in the country.

In an interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Charles Mbikoyo said, “We need to support our young people who are jobless because when we support them, they will not focus on violence and conflict in our communities because they are kept busy and that’s one way of bringing peace.”

“We need to engage our young people in what can help them in productive activities like vocational training, good education and creating jobs,” Fr. Mbikoyo said during the August 4 interview.

The member of the Clergy of South Sudan’s  Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio (CDTY) who oversees the Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CODEP), which is the social wing of the South Sudanese Diocese regretted the fact that the youth involved in violence have nothing “to spend time on”.

“If you can see from the violence and the conflicts that are taking place in South Sudan, the majority of these people are young people because they have nothing to do or to spend time on,” he told ACI Africa.


The South Sudanese Priest lamented, “Currently there are youth gangs all over the country because of unemployment. If we keep these young people busy our communities or societies may have no problems as far as peace is concerned.”

In April, the Auxiliary Bishop of South Sudan’s Juba Archdiocese called on the government to work toward implementing proper laws and policies that will contribute to ending massive youth unemployment in the East-Central African nation.

“The government should implement proper laws and policies to regulate employment to end youth unemployment in the Country,” Bishop Santo Loku Pio Doggale said during the 13th graduation ceremony at St. Vincent De Paul Vocational and Community Development Center in Juba on April 28.

Bishop Loku added, “Government needs to create laws and orders that there are things every citizen should do in a different field of work.”

In the August 4 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Mbikoyo proposed ways to engage young people in the world’s youngest nation, saying, “We need to keep our youth busy by creating jobs for them through building industries in the country.”

More in Africa

“Much attention needs to be put on the demand of the youth because they will be the ones to succeed the old ones when their time comes,” the Director of CODEP, the social wing of CDTY, said, and added, “We don’t need to empower youth for white collar jobs but for practical ones for them to create jobs for themselves.”

Fr. Mbikoyo also proposed the creation of additional vocational training centers in the country that gained independence from Sudan in July 2011. 

He went on to say, “My advice to the government, investors and organization is that if we want to reduce the problem of employment for our youth, let us build industries because it will create job opportunities for our young people.”

“I am calling on the investors to come to this country to build industries, to create jobs for the youth especially in the field of agriculture because if we leave them redundant, they will get what they want and may start engaging in bad behaviors,” Fr. Mbikoyo said, adding, “An idle mind is the workshop of the devil.”

The member of the Clergy of CDTY appealed to the international and national organizations “to work hand in hand to push this country forward in terms of development because when we are divided, we shall not achieve our goal.”


As organizations we have only one goal that is bringing development to our people to make them feel as human beings,” Fr. Mbikoyo told ACI Africa August 4.

Patrick Juma Wani is a South Sudanese journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. Patrick holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from Makerere Institute for Social Development (MISD) in Uganda. He has over 7 years of extensive experience in leading the development and implementation of media, advocacy, communication and multimedia strategy and operations, with an excellent track record of editorial leadership, budget management, and stakeholder outreach. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.