“By participating in the Radio Miraya Spelling Bee competition, we are negotiating our own differences as South Sudanese youth,” says Mawiya Yoal from Juba, who spelled the winning word ‘harmony’ perfectly. “It’s an innovative means of conflict resolution that brings young people together, enabling us to match wits instead of weapons.”
Organized by the UNMISS Community Outreach Unit in partnership with the Civil Affairs Division, the radio show, which airs on Radio Miraya, is not only aimed at disseminating peace messages to young listeners but also to create a platform where youth from across different communities can discuss issues impacting them and understand that young people have common struggles in the world’s .
Under the theme “Understanding social cohesion in your community,” the spelling contest featured as a segment within the popular UN radio station’s Youth Forum Show. Participants received information materials related to durable peace in South Sudan as well as other promotional items.
Years of civil war has led to a situation across this new nation where young people are beleaguered by intercommunal violence, lack of education and employment opportunities.
Civil Affairs Officer, Victor Fasama, acknowledges that by spelling out words indicative of a sustainable peace in South Sudan, youth participants uncover their various meanings, incorporate them into their vocabulary and use them in their social interactions. “It creates a moment of encouragement for young people, many of whom have known nothing but war during their lives.”
Public information Officer, Shantal Persaud, reveals that the rationale behind the event is to enable people to grasp key concepts and answer questions on social cohesion aimed to promote and uphold unity in the diverse communities of which they are a part. “The Radio Miraya quiz provided a wonderful opportunity to really test the knowledge of youth across the country on their understanding of what it means to foster dialogue and build an all-inclusive community,” she states.
“We look forward to designing more contests enabling young South Sudanese to express their views.”