Zain, Ericsson join Sudan peace programme
Juba (South Sudan), June 26, 2014
Unesco has joined hands with leading telecom groups Ericsson and Zain Group for the expansion of the Youth Peacemaker Network (YPN) in South Sudan’s Equatorias region.
Unesco Special Envoy, Humanist and Artist and Forest Whitaker unveiled the peace-building program developed by The Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI).
Whitaker is on a visit to South Sudan with Irina Bokova, the director-general of Unesco and Leila Zerrougui, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, and project partners.
Despite a recent escalation of conflict in the world’s newest nation, Whitaker remained optimistic that peace was possible.
“I have always believed that when given the right tools, youth have the power to create ripples of change through their communities that will ultimately lead to lasting peace,” stated Whitaker. “This belief was reinforced during this trip to South Sudan, where the youth I met with are determined to build a better future,” he added.
The expansion to the Equatorias region is a continuation of WPDI’s five-year commitment to the region. In 2012, WPDI initiated a peace-building and life-skills training program for young women and men from 11 counties and multiple ethnic tribes in the Jonglei state.
The peace program will directly impact hundreds of youth in the region, and indirectly impact thousands in their local communities through a series of programs including peace-building, conflict resolution, life-skills, technology and vocational skills trainings.
Additionally, the program will empower local communities through a series of peace-building initiatives including community projects, the establishment of computer centers, radio messages, film screenings and sports.
“Education is the most powerful tool to give young people a voice and the skills to be active change-makers,” said Irina Bokova, “I fully support this innovative initiative by Unesco Special Envoy Forest Whitaker. I believe it is of crucial importance to South Sudan. It is also a message of hope for Africa’s youth”.
Zain South Sudan CEO Basel Manasrah said: “Our partnership aims to enhance the prospects of young people in the country by bringing them together and motivating them to become agents of positive change. Through telecommunications, we are all jointly focused on narrowing the digital divide, capacity building and empowering the South Sudanese youth with the necessary skills to develop a more productive future.”
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Ericsson’s VP (Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility) said: “Ericsson advocates using technology as a force for good, and we are committed to empowering change-makers in the Youth Peacemaker Network through mobile technology."
"By enabling the youth from South Sudan to be connected to each other and to the world around them, we hope to further their peace-building efforts," he added.-TradeArabia News Service