The project “Promoting Reconciliation” helps people to heal from inner wounds after a history of war and violence in South Sudan and enables civilians to apply peaceful conflict resolution strategies.
For about 25 years, South Sudan fought for independence. During this time, a generation grew up who learned to resolve conflicts with arms. In 2011, the country got its independence and the vast majority longed for peace. However, conflict resolution strategies between clans and tribes do not simply change by signing peace agreements.
Faith based institutions are able to promote healing and reconciliation in a multiple wounded society, since they are accepted and trusted by local people. Network East Africa supports the Diocese of Gogrial, as well as the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, in their commitment to reconcile and to build peace.
This task deals with questions:
- What words can be used in tribal languages so that forgiveness and reconciliation are not understood as weakness, but as an inner strength?
- What cultural stories do exist for healing and reconciliation?
- If society does not work on trauma, it can easily trigger further violence. How can pastors help civilians to deal with traumatic experiences in a culturally appropriate way?
- What can the Church contribute towards transforming historical harms so that the young generation is able to overcome common thought patterns of victim-perpetrator relationships?
- How can culturally appropriate conflict transformation look like that respects people’s cultural identity?
- How can the message of reconciliation be transferred into convincing thought patterns of traditional languages so that it circulates in villages?
To promote healing and reconciliation, those questions need to be discussed together and suggestions tested in communities. In this communal task, we have experienced the Christian faith as a great potential to reunite people. Through Christ’s forgiveness, people experience forgiveness physically. This enables them to forgive others. In addition, faith in Christ creates in people self respect and dignity, which enables them to see even in enemies an “image of God” (Genesis 1:27).
For about 25 years, South Sudan fought for independence. During this time, a generation grew up who learned to resolve conflicts with arms. After the country got its independence in 2011, old conflicts between tribes and clans sparked off again. In December 2013, a power struggle broke out between the President and his former deputy that caused further ethnical division and a civil war. Hatred and helplessness weakened people’s strength and contributed towards destruction. In addition, traumatized people often traumatize others. After years of conflict, a peace agreement was signed in September 2018. To implement the agreement, trust between people groups must be rebuilt. Together with our partners, we are committed to promote healing and reconciliation. This prepares the ground for reducing famine caused by displacement and any sustainable development work.
Diocese of Gogrial
Episcopal Church of South Sudan
Diocese of Wau
Episcopal Church of South Sudan
(Coordinator Network East Africa)