As we reach the end of a tumultuous 2016, UNESCO caught up with Hidita Scovia, a young peacebuilder from South Sudan, to find out more about how young women and men are paving the way for the creation of peaceful societies in post-conflict countries.

Hidita Scovia is a member of the Youth Peacemaker Network, a flagship programme of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, an organization founded by UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, Forest Whitaker.

“I was born during the conflict between the north and south of Sudan. At the age of four, my family was forced to seek safety in a refugee camp in Uganda. I remember how tough the journey was, especially for my mother, who walked all the way to the camp carrying both me and my younger brother. I eventually returned to South Sudan to complete primary school, but as there were few education resources there, I moved back to Uganda to study agriculture at university.

When I graduated from university, I joined the Youth Peacemaker Network. The Youth Peacemakers are trained to mediate conflicts and resolve disputes in our communities. So far, I have worked as a mediator on land and territorial issues. One issue in particular focused on a conflict between two communities that began after a young boy was killed by an armed group. The mediation process is still underway but thanks to our work, we managed to stop the fighting. Mediation and dialogue is such a vital part of putting an end to bloodshed.

I have always wanted to become a peacebuilder and am so grateful for the opportunities I have been given. The skills I have learned have given me so much confidence and, as a young woman, it is so important for me to become both a resource to my community and a role model. It is vital that youth are involved in promoting and practicing peace and intercultural dialogue. If we engage in violence, people will not listen. Problems can only be solved through forgiveness and sharing ideas.”

UNESCO’s  Social and Human Sciences Programme is working to engage youth in peacebuilding initiatives and the promotion of civic engagement and intercultural dialogue all over the world.

Source: UNESCO