South Sudan: Fostering Peace through Sports in Yambio
25 July 2018

Students from two secondary schools in Yambio, South Sudan, gather after the Peace football game (JRS)

Yambio, 25 July 2018 - Imagine a world where sports is used to settle conflicts instead of violence. Wishful thinking? Not at all. JRS Yambio project, South Sudan, made this a reality.  Yambio town and the areas that surround it have witnessed conflicts and violence from late April to late June 2018 due to fighting between the armed rebel groups and government forces, which has led to displacement of the population. Currently, there are 178, 600 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in greater Western Equatoria.

On 22 June 2018, a large crowd of about 1000 people, old and young, girls and boys gathered at the St. Mary’s Park in Yambio town to enjoy a football game between the town’s two secondary schools, Abangite College and King’s College, in a march dubbed Unity F.C Vs. Peace F.C.

Even though the event was designed to bring the youth and communities together in an entertaining event, it was not all just fun and games. During half time, participants were engaged in a specially designed messages of peace from different Peace actors and agencies in Yambio. The participants were taken through topics like causes of conflict, theories of change and the importance of listening and effective communication, to the challenges in their own communities as well as core values such as love and forgiveness. Furthermore, young people were asked to be peace ambassadors carrying the message to their communities.

After the game, the response was overwhelmingly positive. “I am happy to have come to listen to the message of peace. As youth, we need to be at the forefront to bring peace in our communities. We should also shun criminal behavior and participate in developmental activities for the growth of our country”, said one of the participants.

The JRS Peace Program Coordinator, Mr. Benjamin Matondo said the tournament was organized in collaboration with Arise Social-cultural Foundation organization (ASF), a local NGO, adding, “[t]he gathering here today shows that we are committed to bringing peace in Yambio and to South Sudan. This event also shows how young people can mobilize and promote peace in the community.”

JRS Yambio recognizes Sport as a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and networks, and to promote ideals of peace, fraternity, solidarity, non-violence, tolerance and justice. Sport has the ability to bring people together and can make it easier to tackle problems in post conflict situations.

The realization of a peaceful nation can start with a small step such as a football game and a lot of determination to create a brighter future for all.

Press Contact Information
Endashaw Debrework SJ
+254 20 3874152