My serendipitous encounter in Japan (Mayen san,South Sudan)

Mayen san

Name: Mr.ZIATH Mayen Muorwel Mayom (South Sudan)
Position: Program Director, Executive Team, Helping Hands (NGO)
Program: Participatory Community Development for Practitioners for
Reconciliation and Creation of Society for Coexistence
Duration: October 10 to November 26, 2016

Japan has risen from the ruins of war to be one of the most developed nations on earth. Through JICA program I have learnt that the history tells the spirit needed for the community development. Besides the program, I had a serendipitous encounter which is really inspiring to move forward. Here is the summary of my activities and wonderful exchange program.

Activities of Helping Hands in Republic of South Sudan.

Youth on Cultural Dance

1.Peace building
Helping Hands uses the cultural education approach in peace building, which is proven to be instrumental in bringing youth from different tribes together to compete for the best cultural dance group award or best wresting award.
In the process, they promote cultural education and reconciliation through the created platform and radio/Television talk shows. The tribes learning about each other, is the first step in the reconciliation process and cultural activities provides this opportunity.
The substantial number of youth played a key role in the spread of violence. These cohesion activities provided a platform through which they could share and reflect of their role in developing their tribes.

Helping Hands is working with Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport and the University of Juba to promote International Cultural Exchange.
The aim of this activity is to afford youth with opportunity of learning new culture that may alter their global prospective and inspire them to be global peace loving citizens.
The South Sudanese youth who is accorded an opportunity to visit developed country can be inspired by the experience of a better standard of living in developed countries, learning the history of modernization of the developed country and the work culture can be an inspiring experience.

After training of local leaders

Promotion of communal conflict mitigation through Peace Committee:
Since the conflict in South Sudan runs along ethnicity, forming peace committee from various ethnicities is significant to faster healing and reconciliation.
The peace committee members go through capacity building on conflict and peace trainings such as; conflict mapping, mitigation and resolution.
The trained peace committee members act as the agent of peace in their various societies by preaching peace and helps in conflict prevention.

Inter-ethnicity dialogue:
The peace committee members and other prominent figures such as chiefs plays a central role in inter-ethnic dialogue to discuss issues that affect them,
lesson learned from the conflict and to map the way forward for peaceful coexistence.
Sustainable peace is built when people, communities and institutions work together to address the problems that cause, result from violent conflict and resolve conflict without recourse to violence.
Peace building must therefore address development needs and seek to build trust between communities.
The inter-ethnic dialogue helps in initiating and designing the development programs with consideration of the conflict context.

2. Protection
Prevention of the use and recruitment of children into armed groups is always core principle that Helping Hands strengthened through a focus on family strengthening, attitude change and closer work with influential community members and leaders.
Response to recruitment involves advocacy, interim care, family tracing and community-based reintegration. Through the live experience of the key executive of Helping Hands as child soldiers or children associated with arms, the prevention and advocacy against children recruitment takes a top priority.
We work closely with local authorities and the community to foster positive relationships that will continue to support and sustain the expected results to end child soldiers? recruitment and use.

We work with those affected by conflict in the project locations to ensure the children are protected from violence through a focus on psychosocial support and resilience building activities with children and their families.
This include the establishment of community Child Friendly Spaces, training and support to social workers and Para-social workers to ensure communities are better able to respond to and recover from psychosocial distress, and resilience building activities aimed at affected children and families in order to support the development of positive coping mechanisms.

Women Network on food security

3. Food Securities and Livelihood
Helping Hands support families and children to accelerate recovery of productive assets and livelihoods for target families.
We provide appropriate livelihood productive inputs (seeds, tools, livestock and fishery inputs) and trainings towards meeting the special needs of children, women and girls meant to reduce critical intra-family food and nutrition deficits, and increase incomes and food production to contribute to livelihood recovery and resilience.
Market-based solutions is leveraged where and when possible in order to revive local markets and improve incomes and local food production and productivity. Helping Hands document best practices and lesson learned to share with other partners on child sensitive livelihood programming.

Continuous outreach for women leaders

Helping Hands protect the immediate food security and livelihood needs of vulnerable disaster-affected households in the targeted areas.
In an emergency, their immediate food needs is fulfilled during a relief phase, followed by more sustainable approaches such as animal care, improved agricultural practices, rehabilitation of agrarian infrastructure and cash-based programmes during early recovery and rehabilitation phases.
The emphasis is to increase local capacities in assets growth and sustainable development through advocacy and community engagement. Helping Hands is gender sensitive in promotion of food security and livelihood; hence, we work with women self-help group to close the gap in the livelihoods.

What I have learned through the exchange with prof. Nakamura Koji

Exchange with students

The exchange program with Prof.Nakamura Koji of Konan University has been a learning experience that was educative and inspirational.
I had a chance to learn from students of diverse background engage in analyzing the global issues without emotional attachment to one's nationality.
The global citizenry through education is so much reflected in the class composition and discussion of global issues, in my opinion, prof.
Koji has built students that are global citizens who can partake and promote global peace. The students have broken the imaginary walls of states and rise above the nation-states' egoistic principle to stand as the global citizens who value humanity and global peace.
Though this exchange, Helping Hands is planning to include global citizenship education in our advocacy to promote international security and peace at our regional level.
The international Cultural Exchange for youth will also focus in promotion of global citizenship and education.

For a long time, I have been a very lone fighter, fighting for the great cause for humanity, a cause to see the prosperous generation to come after, a cause of life community, a cause for peace.
Now I met Prof. Nakamura and his students, I have a comrades-in-arm, fight the same cause for humanity, the cause for peace.
After my presentation and exchange, One of the students, Satoko rearranged my thoughts into such an awesome piece of writing.
The writing, which is of great importance, someone like his students who are living in the most peaceful country on earth, have never experienced an arm conflict in their life and are blessed with opportunities for education-standing up for the less privilege, those trap by violence and conflict, who's future is uncertain due to lack of education and advocating for education to be a tool that can bring peace to the trouble societies is a mind changing advocacy.
I can change the perspective of individual who might influence government to consider the fate of the children in trapped in conflict in South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Nigeria, etc. Those who's opportunities for education are threaten by conflict.
It might start as a small analysis of my story, but it can have a global impact.
Most of my friends (the students) are equipped with sophisticated weapon-the art of writing, that is a valuable weapon that can be used to change the world. They have the potential for their voices being heard across the globe.

Message from Prof. Nakamura Koji

Thank you for your active participation and valuable opportunity for students. You participated in my class on “Japanese History and Culture” of General Orientation Program prepared by JICA for newly arrived participants. You expressed your interest in my research on peace education, and consequently this encounter brought such a valuable opportunity for my students. When you had no program at JICA on weekends, you visited a series of my classes on Global Topics as a guest speaker and exchanged views about your story and dream with my students. South Sudan is the youngest nation in the world, with population of 12.3 million in 64 tribes. Even after her independence in July 2011 in consequence of Civil War, which lasted for more than 20 years, it is constantly at conflicts between tribes supporting President and those for former Vice President.
Mayen san was not blessed with an opportunity for basic education at elementary school because of the Civil War, and he wishes no any other child or human being will go through such pain. He narrated the scenario for realizing his dream to achieve solidarity as a nation beyond intertribal conflicts and hatred.
Satoko, one of the students who participated in the exchange of opinions, wrote a report about her learning from him. She wrote that the power of education plays a great role for building peace in South Sudan, and that learning the importance of diversity and cultural relativism at school is indispensable. She emphasized that knowing each other in person will be the first step to avoid conflicts among tribes and build peace in South Sudan.
Thank you once again for bringing such a priceless opportunity for our students.

My Mission

Being born during the height of the Sudan Civil war in late 1980s, as child, I have seen and experienced horrible things that I wish no any other child or human being will go through.
I have lived my childhood life on a run, being displaced by war from one place to another.
I grew up living a life without hope and I know how painful it is to live such a life, although I had received some assistance that gave me hope from strangers, that is, Catholic Mission school, runs by Comboni's fathers, were I did my elementary education in Mapuordit -South Sudan and UNHCR during my stay as a refugee in Kenya and where I did my Secondary school.
The assistance from strangers taught me the value of humanity, and it is my mission is to give little hope to people who seem to be living life without one. To help every child, in all ways possible to avoid falling in my footsteps.
My experience is my driving force, although I am living in the illusion of giving hope to people who are hopeless, I am so determine to surprise myself that I can make it, for I lack the strong financial capacity to give hope.
This has made me to support the former child soldier in school for him to pursue his education.

Edited by NISHIOEDA Nozomi, Training Management Division, JICA Kansai