|Photo by Jay Wittmeyer|
|An RPI poster hanging at RECONCILE offices in South Sudan. The program offers training in peacebuilding and reconciliation skills. The Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service office seeks donors to help provide scholarships that will enable faith leaders and community leaders attend the training.|
Although South Sudan is a new country, decades of war have left traumatic scars that today manifest themselves in re-occurring clashes, conflicts, and challenges, which all witness to the need for relevant, practical, and sustainable peace efforts in the country.
The RECONCILE Peace Institute, or RPI, seeks to actualize the full potential of this great new nation by providing comprehensive three-month training to a select group of faith and community leaders who are already connected and active in peacebuilding efforts. By building the capacity of the community through these leaders, RPI as a program and RECONCILE as a whole hope to contribute to nation building and achieve the vision of harmonious and caring communities in South Sudan. The vision is for communities that realize their full potential, and live and work together in justice, peace, truth, mercy, and hope.
One graduate of the program has become an active peace advocate, mobilizing his community’s pastors to encourage the peaceful release of women and children who were wrongfully imprisoned.
Another graduate has worked in his community to re-integrate former child soldiers by talking with families about the issue, saying, “Families are broken and I help them to reconcile.”
A 2012 RPI graduate stated at the end of her training that she planned to tackle problems in her village by facilitating meetings and awareness trainings with local elders, cattle keepers, and women’s associations. She said that because of RPI, she was equipped with the knowledge and skills to be an “ambassador for peace in [her] community.”
The $4,200 scholarship will allow a leader from a community in South Sudan to receive training so that he or she may become another “ambassador for peace” and begin the work to transform conflict in the country and the region. Contact Global Mission and Service at 800-323-8039 ext. 363 or firstname.lastname@example.org to sponsor a full or partial scholarship.
— Anna Emrick is program coordinator for the office of Global Mission and Service.