Over 150 grassroots church leaders from war-affected communities in South Sudan’s Bentiu and Juba have attended a two days training in three different workshops. They were instructed how to use a Justice and Peace Manual and how to establish a Justice and Peace Committee in their communities.

The three training workshops were conducted in the period of 04-13 May 2017 in the parishes of St. Martin de Porres in Bentiu, St. Mary in the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site of Bentiu and Holy Trinity, in the PoC of Juba.

Workshop in Bentiu town – St. Martin de Porres Parish (Diocese of Malakal)

This pastoral activity with grassroots church leaders is part of a peacebuilding programme of the Comboni Missionaries in South Sudan. Basically, grassroots church leaders are trained to become peacebuilding actors and to establish justice and peace committees to promote peace and reconciliation and to seek justice at the grassroots.

The Justice and Peace Manual offered to participants at the training is a tool for formation, reflection and action. Trainees received a copy of this Manual, which is translated into their own language, to be used as an instrument to improve the ministry of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) in their communities.

Workshop in PoC Bentiu – St. Mary Parish (Diocese of Malakal)

The 54 participants of Bentiu workshop, as well as the 50 participants of the Protection of Civilian Site (PoC) of Bentiu, have already established a Justice and Peace Committee in their parishes. They found the Justice and Peace Manual very useful to continue their efforts to promote justice, peace and reconciliation at the grassroots.

In the PoC of Juba, however, the 53 grassroots church leaders who attended the training are in the process of establishing a Justice and Peace Committee.

All participants have in common the fact that they are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and live in the Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites of Bentiu and Juba, except those resending in Bentiu town. They have been displaced by conflicts and violence and suffered great injustices.

Made aware of the issues that are affecting their communities, they now turn to their faith and are empowered and encouraged to take action to contribute to build a more just and peaceful South Sudanese society.

Workshop in PoC Juba – Holy Trinity Parish (Archdiocese of Juba)

This kind of training workshops will be facilitated in all seven dioceses of South Sudan to train grassroots church leaders to become peacebuilding actors.

The expectation is that they will help their communities to recognise the social implications of faith and to contribute to conflict mitigation, restoration of peace, stability, development, as well as to fight all forms of injustices and gross human rights violations.