Catholic Entity in South Sudan Empowering Religious Leaders on “peacebuilding” Initiatives

Credit: Yei Diocese

The department of Integral Human Development of South Sudan’s Yei Diocese, Caritas Yei, is empowering religious leaders with skills on how to foster peace and reconciliation in the country’s Central Equatoria State.

Speaking at the start of a two-day workshop bringing together faith leaders in the South Sudanese State, the Emergency Coordinator for Caritas Yei underscored the important role religious leaders play in local communities as opinion leaders who “people listen to”.

The components of this training include peacebuilding and reconciliation, which (are) very important for the religious leaders working within the communities to prevent violence and promote peace,” Wilson Chapa Denado said during the Wednesday, May 10 session at Christ the King Parish of Yei Diocese.

Mr. Chapa added that the faith leaders are being trained to “lead in conflict mitigation” considering that they are “very important in our communities because people listen to what they say about issues affecting the community.”

The more than 60 participants in the workshop are expected to “impart the knowledge gained to the community to promote peaceful co-existence,” he further during the workshop that concluded on Thursday, May 11.


He emphasized, “We expect the religious to go and disseminate the messages of peace within their communities because there are many people who might not have the chance to attend such training.”

Mr. Chapa expressed optimism that the message of the value of peaceful co-existence will reach the grassroots, saying, “This is the time our communities need to be fed with messages of unity to live peacefully with each other.”

Meanwhile, the Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CODEP), the social wing of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio (CDTY), is also empowering pastoral agents on peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts to end violence in the South Sudanese Diocese.

Speaking at the end of a two-day training Tuesday, May 9, CODEP Project Manager, Benneth Bazia, said participants are to use the knowledge gained to foster reconciliation within communities.

“The violence that erupted in the county has divided the people and it’s important to bring them together,” the CODEP Project Manager said, making reference to the violence between members of the Azande and Balanda communities in Tombura County, a territory covered by CDTY.

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Mr. Bazia said community leaders, youth, and women representatives in greater Tombura came together “to learn more about peace and reconciliation to live in harmony”.

“The people of Tombura, who have chosen peace over conflict, need their leaders to lead by example for peace to prevail,” he said in reference to the two-day workshop that brought over 25 participants.

In April, religious leaders in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State expressed concern about rising insecurity.

In their communique issued, April 27, members of the Inter-Faith Council for Peace Initiative also decried hate speech among politicians, and advocated for constructive language.

On April 25, the Local Ordinary of CDTY, Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussala announced the postponement of the launch of the centenary celebrations of Ave Maria Ngboko Parish that had been scheduled for April 29, citing “ongoing insecurity” in the area. 


“Looking at this unexpected happening and after a number of intensive consultations with the government and the Clergy, we resolved that the Diocesan mutual relations open space, launching, and rededication of the Church of Ave Maria should be postponed until further notice,” Bishop Hiiboro stated.

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.