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CEPO Works for Peace in Conflict-Ridden South Sudan

Every two minutes another child becomes severely malnourished as a result of the conflict in South Sudan, according to the United Nations. The organization has estimated that 2.25 million people have been displaced by the conflict in South Sudan, half of whom are children.

The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) has been working at the local level to mitigate the situation and quell the violence.

One of CEPO’s approaches to reduce violence is to research factors that may trigger violent conflict between communities.

“CEPO also do conduct risk awareness and share knowledge of likely risks that the communities will face,” CEPO spokesperson James Bidal explained. “CEPO has the capacity to analyze, anticipate, and monitor the political will to respond to the divers of conflict.”

By mapping factors that may trigger violence, such as cattle raids, land grabs and competition over resources, and reporting them to stakeholders, CEPO has been working to keep the peace among neighbouring communities.

As South Sudan continues to move through the peace process, CEPO has also been working to assist the development of democracy. The group has been educating and engaging both citizens and political parties to facilitate dialogue between the two, in the hope of expediting the process.

According to Bidal, CEPO has been “organizing civil society and political parties dialogues on the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development-led peace mediation process.” Initiatives have included ‘Walk for Peace’ and public debates on the peace process.

Unfortunately, recent developments threaten to stall progress, including a decree by President Salva Kiir that would create 18 new states and news of the ruling party’s dissolution of its leadership secretariat. President Kiir remains chairman and is planning to appoint new leadership soon.

As the process moves forward, CEPO has been on the ground demonstrating the importance of civil peace-builders and uniting the groups and organizations that will be able to ensure safety and security for South Sudan citizens.

CEPO strives to “mobilize all civil society organizations, faith based organizations, pressure groups, interest groups, political parties, [and] the South Sudanese people to have a common position and pressurize IGAD, AU, EU, Trorika, UN and the international community to accept an inclusive strategy of reaching peace and impose on the warring parties.”

Media reports as of October 19 indicate South Sudanese residents may soon see peace in their country as the rival parties have agreed to resume talks regarding security arrangements.

Whenever peace comes to the country it will be up to citizens and groups like CEPO to help it succeed in the cities and towns in South Sudan.

For more information on CEPO visit their website.