Opened in April 2017, the Hope Secondary School in Lietnhom, South Sudan is the first of it’s kind in the region. It provides what was previously unavailable: opportunity for a high school (secondary) level education. The people of Lietnhom have enjoyed a strong primary school for many years, but education ceased in the 8th grade with no further schooling resources available to them. SMARD is delighted to be able to bring a quality secondary school to the area! This will allow young people the opportunity to develop their minds further so that they can contribute to their communities in new ways.
Many years of war and fighting in South Sudan has eroded the social fabric and destroyed trust among the 64 indigenous ethnic communities. Widespread tribalism combined with self-serving leaders and unequal access to resources has left many communities feeling marginalized. This has resulted in numerous conflicts which quickly escalate into cycles of hatred and revenge.
SMARD has a heart to actively heal this situation through practical, grassroots peacebuilding projects.
In 2015, SMARD was awarded a grant for funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Sudan. With the funds from UNDP, SMARD implemented a region-wide peacebuilding project in the Greater Yirol Counties of Lake State. The project facilitated dialogues between community leaders to identify their interdependencies and develop cooperation agreements around them. Additionally, wrestling (the most popular sport in the area) was identified as a sport for peace, and inter-community wrestling matches were conducted. The project was named “Accelerating Peaceful Co-existence Through Strengthening Community Interdependencies” and specifically implemented in Yirol West, Yirol East, Awerial Counties and Tali Payam of Terkaka County.
SMARD’s Peacebuilding & Reconciliation Program is aimed at promoting forgiveness, reconciliation and interdependence between communities. Through forums, work-shops and inter-community dialogues, SMARD equips civic officials, church leaders, tribal elders, as well as women and youth to embrace their role in establishing and maintaining peace. Skills such as peace building, conflict resolution and mediation are taught and role modeled. SMARD believes that any efforts at peacebuilding must focus on Biblical forgiveness as a foundation for reconciliation of relationships. It is our belief that God’s initiative of reconciliation through Jesus Christ calls us all to a ministry of peace building with our families, our communities as well as other tribes and people groups.
Creating a culture of peace. Tribe by tribe. Nation by nation.
In partnership with International Organization for Migration (IOM), SMARD implemented a peacebuilding and community reconciliation project among the communities of Gogrial West and Gogrial East Counties in Warrap State in 2016.
The peace building project specifically attempted to resolve conflict among the Apuk and Aguok communities by identifying root causes of the longstanding conflict between these two communities. The project also supported livelihood activities including provision of fishing nets, construction of cattle markets and capacity training for fishermen and cattle traders.