The two day workshops took place in June and July and participants were trained in democracy, leadership and good governance. (Angela Hellmuth/Jesuit Refugee Service)
By Yusto Lasuba, JRS Peace Coordinator and Gonda Taban, Assistant Inspector for Religious Affairs, Kajo Keji, Southern Sudan
(Kajo Keji) September 14, 2010 – Jesuit Refugee Service and the Department of Religious Affairs in Kajo Keji County have trained 72 local leaders and government officials on best practices for good governance.
The two day workshops took place in June and July and participants were trained in democracy, leadership and good governance. “We were asleep but we are now awake to do the actual work of good governance to our people,” one of the 13 female participants said, after the group had discussed strengths and weaknesses of leaders.
Other participants mentioned the challenges they encountered during their leadership. “Our community at all levels of leadership needs to know what good governance is,” a local chief said. “I pledge to organize a similar awareness workshop in my area.”
“We appreciate JRS’ efforts to work in collaboration with the government, especially in the area of building capacities of citizens,” said Mr. Benson John Yona, Acting Commissioner of Kajo Keji County, Southern Sudan, when opening the second workshop. “It helps people participate positively in the affairs of their government,” he added, urging all county heads of departments, district directors and police, prison and wildlife representatives to participate actively in the discussions.
The leaders unanimously agreed to organize similar workshops in each of the county’s five payams [administrative districts], beginning in August 2010. They also plan to establish effective ways of revenue collection to support activities at all levels of authority and to initiate awareness programs using local FM radio stations and departments to promote a spirit of collaboration.
The population of Kajo Keji County participated well in the April 2010 national elections, the first after a two decade long civil war. They now hope that peace will prevail in Southern Sudan and that their leaders will govern democratically. “The future of Sudan depends on the people themselves,” says Yusto Lasuba, JRS Peace Coordinator in Kajo Keji. “Their full involvement in all aspects of governance will help them co-exist peacefully and develop their country,” he adds.
In order to contribute to a lasting peace following the peace accord signed in 2005, JRS has supported community education programs in Kajokeji since 2001. To encourage citizens to take part in the nation building process, JRS raises awareness and organizes workshops through its peace building program.