See How South Sudanese Radio Drama Is Promoting Peace in Its Homeland | Lifestyle | KenyaBuzz
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See How South Sudanese Radio Drama Is Promoting Peace in Its Homeland

09 Jul 2015 | By Wangechi Maina

South Sudanese Youth Peace Building Initiative

When news breaks, most people react on social media sharing more information, expressing their views and checking up on their loved ones. But that is not a reality for the people of South Sudan as violence continues to grow in the world’s youngest nation.

With limited mobile phones and social networking platforms in the rural areas of South Sudan, many are turning to radio for information about the ongoing conflict.

Enter the Sawa Shahab radio drama. Created by local community members together with members of the Peacetech Lab, it attempts to reach at-risk youth in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states where fighting has been most fierce.

The PeaceTech Lab was created by the United States Institute of Peace as a separate entity to advance its mission to prevent, mitigate and reduce violent conflict around the world. PeaceTech Lab is headed by Theo Dolan who has experience in working with local communities to develop innovative ways to help resolve conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Myanmar.

The radio drama, whose title translates to Together Youth, follows the daily lives of different young South Sudanese as they face unique challenges while learning how to become peacebuilders in their communities. At the end of each episode, listeners are asked to call or text into the program to respond to scripted questions about the storylines and how they think the characters responded to conflict.

The first season aired in 2014 and consisted of 20 episodes in English and Arabic episodes with five in Dinka and Nuer languages. Sawa Shahab is now going into its second season. Its curriculum focuses on three main areas identified as critical to peace building in South Sudan by local experts:

| Co-existence and National Identity to promote mutual respect among youth from different cultural and tribal backgrounds

| Youth Empowerement and Personal Responsibility to empower South Sudanese youth to be accountable, independent and participatory citizens.

| Gender to promote equality and democratic growth.

Sawa Shahab receives hundreds of responses after every episode, proving that you don’t need the latest smart phone or high speed internet to communicate with your peers.

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