Promoting peace and cohesion through sports in South Sudan

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[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] ---The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) together with other development partners deeply expressed that sports have potential to bring peace in the conflict-stricken east African nation.

Kyosuke Kawazumi, Chief Representative of JICA South Sudan office said on Wednesday in Juba during the launching of the country Third National Unity Day (NUD) that sports have potential to create and promote social cohesion.

“We believe in the tremendous potential of sports, which can bring people together, regardless of tribal, political and cultural differences,” Kawazumi said.

The day was marked under the theme, “Sports for Peace and Social Cohesion.”

Kawazumi added that the theme resonates with JICA’s goal of promoting peace in South Sudan.

“We are hoping that the event will provide an opportunity to appreciate the diversity of South Sudan to be inspired by the sportsmanship and the fine play by the youths, and show support for and reaffirm one’s commitment to bringing peace to the nation,” he said.

The Japanese envoy emphasized that the key feature of the National Unity Day is to bring over 400 youths together from across South Sudan to Juba, to learn from one another and get to know each other a little better during the nine days of the program. In nine days, the youths will be involved in various sport activities in Juba.

“The youths, who would have never met otherwise, get to know each other during the nine-day program in which they will dine and sleep together, and participate in educational and recreational activities,” He stressed.

The official underscored that the program was designed to promote unity and love among the young people who are drawn from all parts of the country to build national cohesion.

“Let’s promote participation in sports for girls and boys. Let’s make South Sudan a safe place…[and] let’s maintain peace and order during the NUD to show support for peace.” He noted.

According to JICA, the previous two National Unity Day programs were a great success. He added that this will be the third successful National Unity Day, and it is getting better each year.

“Your active role in disseminating a call for peace at this occasion is an indispensable part of this initiative to contribute to peace building. We count on your valuable collaboration in reaching out to the people through your network,” he said.

Kawazumi thanked the line Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports for helping JICA and partners in ensuring the NUD be an inclusive, and fair event.

The event was organized through the support from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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