February 18, 2015

SPARK IGNITE: Youth of South Sudan unite to shape State Constitution

*Written by Joyce Sebit – Youth Engagement Programme Assistant for SPARKs Juba office, South Sudan

After emerging from decades of conflict South Sudan has put all its efforts and resources into nation building. Given that South Sudan is the youngest nation in the world, it is only fitting that the youth have united to actively participate in the process of drafting the country’s permanent constitution. In collaboration with SUTCO/YouthNow!, SPARK supported and facilitated the Constitutional Review Process Seminar of 2014. The seminar was a 2 day event (25-26 December) hosted by the SUDD institute in South Sudan and was attended by up to 120 young people from all over the country, including 14 international participants who were invited to join. SPARK coordinated with the Secretary General of the National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) to equip and familiarise the youth with necessary knowledge, skills and understanding of the constitutional development process.

The Constitutional Review Process Seminar 2014 created a space for the youth to share their views, opinions and concerns paving the way for them to be able to contribute and pursue their own interests and needs to be included in the final draft of the constitution. The opportunity to actively participate in and shape the permanent constitution of South Sudan is significant in that it mobilises and empowers the youth to improve their own socio-economic standing. It also creates a platform for young members of South Sudanese society to express and achieve their agendas, conduct political campaigns during elections and most importantly allows for their active political participation overall.


Participants of the Constitutional Review Process Seminar 2014 Juba, South Sudan

During the Seminar, 12 members were elected to be part of the Youth Committee that will continue to work hand in hand with the NCRC to represent the interests of the South Sudanese youth. The position of the youth reflects hopes to unite and instill peace and harmony in their communities. Since gaining independence in 2011, unfortunately conflict erupted again in December 2013 between warring parties President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar. This 15-month conflict has led South Sudan down a familiar path of internal conflict. Despite being on the brink of civil war, the Constitutional Review Process continues and the youth of South Sudan are determined to promote peace in their country. The Youth Committee was designed to further pursue the progression of the youth issues agreed upon during the seminar. This seminar serves as a vital first step towards the youth becoming key players in the political arena. It has given them the tools and confidence to participate more in leadership and decision-making in the future. SPARK is optimistic that the youth involved in the review Youth Committee will be able to voice and raise their concerns and views as well as contribute to the final draft of the permanent constitution of South Sudan.

SPARK IGNITE is SPARK’s blog of stories, updates and opinions by SPARK staff, on relevant topics in the news, stories from the fields, and what inspire us to do what we do.  We welcome external contributions; to contribute please contact media[at]