September 26, 2013

‘Youth Now’ Hosts Youth Dialogue

Written by Moses Wawich
Programme Officer for SKILLS South Sudan


The First ‘Youth Now’ Dialogue

The first ‘Youth Now’ dialogue, spearheaded by SKILLS for South Sudan and Matmedia, took place on July 23-24, 2013.

With emphasis on encouraging youth to youth dialogue, 35 young people participated in a dialogue that focused on identifying key capacities and potential young people in South Sudan, with the aim to apply their skills to the rebuilding of South Sudan.

The main theme for the afternoon was economic opportunity and what is available to young people in South Sudan.  Participants recognised that there are many opportunities available, but the issue remains with the fact that too many young people are not benefitting from these opportunities, and many participants remained sceptical as to whether their voice would actually be heard in any decision making process, if given a platform.

To end the day, participants were shown a movie that exemplified the power the initiative of one person can make, with the aim to inspire and mobilise the group to realise their own individual potential.

The following day the events were called off due to a decree made by the president, dissolving the government until further directive.  Regardless of the political instability and rising tensions, the meeting reconvened, with the focus on the challenges that hinder youth from economic opportunities.

Some of the challenges raised by the participants were:

  • Lack of networking
  • Lack of commitment from youth themselves
  • Lack of relevant policies from the government
  • Lack of political representation of youth at a decision level
  • Lack of unity amongst youth

To conclude the dialogue was very interesting to youth to the level that they wanted the dialogue to continue. But what I saw as immediate output was that youth started to put into action what they identified as hurdles to their economic progress. For example the issue of networking was identified as a major issue that hinders youth from getting valuable information.

At the end of the dialogue the participants used this opportunity for networking.  As a result of the dialogue opportunities were announced in the forum and followed up with friendly level of interaction.  Secondly the participants agreed that they want to take a practical step by forming a volunteer youth committee who will start organizing events to campaign and rally the public on youth unemployment.  A motto has already been drafted for the upcoming campaign: SOUTH SUDAN YOUTH TO WORK! with a participant creating a campaign song to inspire young people for years to come.

youth on youth2