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Sports officials witness sport for peace tournament (Photo: ACSS)

“Sport for peace” boosts peaceful coexistence among communities in Juba

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Sport for peace competition is offering a unique basis to foster togetherness and peaceful coexistence among the communities in Luri payam of Juba County, Central Equatoria state. These include in the areas of Mangateen, Mia Saba, Eden and Referendum respectively.  

According to the United Nations, sports contribute to the promotion of a culture of peace, tolerance, and social cohesion, therefore setting the stage and creating an enabling environment for young people to play a critical role in conflict prevention.

However, on June 9th, Active Citizen South Sudan, a youth-led organization operating in the country, led “sport for peace” tournament in Mangateen with an aim of building peace among the communities. The final game featured Sport Club Referendum and Bentiu FC of Mangateen.

The joyous game ended 2:1 in favor of referendum FC making them victorious in the peace competition. The game also attracted different tribes and this tells how the communities were coming together to embrace societal unity and peaceful coexistence.

Nearly 5,000 fans, mostly women, girls and elders attended the event at Mangateen football ground in Juba.

Michael Biphal, the Executive Director of the organization, said the activity was undertaken to foster a sense of unity and togetherness among the locals in the targeted areas.

“It was not just a sport for fun. We wanted to cement peaceful coexistence and unity of purpose through activities like sport. It is something that we initiated to create a pathway for community development and promotion of peace in the neighborhoods,” he explained.

The youth activist revealed that the organization was hoping to see the community getting united and embracing peace and unity in the long run.

“Our primary objective is that we like to see the communities united and we love to see them keeping the spirit of togetherness. This helps the country to build a durable peace,” Biphal added.

He called on the youth and other organizations to replicate the same such that the communities were united.

Gai Deng, one of the elders who was present during the match said he was happy to see young people coming together during such events.

 “I am extremely happy to see young people coming together in one of the rare circumstances. I am overwhelmed and I want to reiterate that it is a better way we can build peaceful coexistence,”

He called on the communities to use the opportunity to boost peaceful coexistence.

“We need them to be more united in our setting as communities. We need to develop the spirit of accepting each other so that we contribute towards everlasting peace in the country,”

Muoch Gatluak, one of the locals at the event affirmed that through sports, the communities would adopt to peace and togetherness.

The event attended by local chiefs, internally displaced persons, and youth leadership was supported by the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).

The organization revealed that the initiative was going to be sustained through frequent engagement of youth in series of the same events or in sessions that discuss sport for peace and peaceful coexistence.

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