Assessing the Context of Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership In South Sudan

Coexistence and Tolerance in South Sudan will be achieved through Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership.

A Scholar of the Practice in International Development Management, Governance and social policy,

Author: Boboya James Edimond Barnaba,

A smiling South Sudanese children in unspecified location in South Sudan(Photo: supplied)

A smiling South Sudanese children in unspecified location in South Sudan(Photo: supplied)


June 5, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — This paper is to assess the context of youth in civic engagement and leadership in South Sudan. The paper is written based on review of literature as well as data collected from interviews from key informants who are engaged in the area. The paper was guided by set of important questions. The assessment mainly looked at the youth situation both in rural and urban areas, the kind of policies that drive youth in South Sudan, existence of youth organizations that drive policy on civic and leadership. The paper argues that when youth are equipped to fully participate in decisions that are affecting their lives through access to resources, knowledge, and opportunities for engagement, they become self-confident, strong, healthy, productive, and secure persons. Investing in youth brings about youth political representation and voice. This could promote community agenda which increases community coexistence and social change.

The paper also examines successes and failures of youth policies and what factors made the policies fail. Are these polices successful? Possible strategic recommendations are suggested for increased and improved youth in civic engagement and leadership. Limitations that would hinder youth in civic engagement and leadership are also mentioned.


The Republic of South Sudan gained its independence on the 9th July 2011 from Sudan in line with the arrangement of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). South Sudan is reported to have 70 percent of its population under the age of 30 (Youth at the Crossroads, 2014). The South Sudanese only enjoyed relative peace from 2011- November 2013. On the 15th December 2013 South Sudan was embroiled in political violent and internal struggle which affected the country direly. South Sudan demography indicates that, youth are found to be at the front and center of development struggles. The demography of South Sudan is known to be characterized with young people in terms of population with young people with ages ranging from 15 to 30. This population are said to comprise 40 percent of the total from the ten (10) states population of the republic South Sudan, (UNICEF, 2011). The South Sudan population at the time of the research is put to be 10.9 million (World Bank, 2012). There is a projection population growth over the coming years given the fact that 70 percent of the populations are youth under the age of 30 (Youth at the Crossroads, 2014). The situation of youth in South Sudan has also made them to be idle. If youth continue to be idle and are not able to properly engage in developmental activities there is a possible that youth may be a threat to themselves. Currently South Sudan is facing a real change due to the fact that the social environment is not favorable leading to many youth joining the ongoing conflict (James Edimond, 2014).

The Youth issue is known to be coming an interesting one because of the reality that today youth can play an important civic and leadership roles and they can help in easing existing tensions in South Sudan. Youth organizations can also promote joint activities such as sports, cultural exchange and dialogue across ethnic lines (NPA, 2014). This paper further, highlights that, among some of the critical roles youth can play could be along range of areas like transparency, accountability, inclusivity, fiscal responsibility, rule of law and good leadership. To draw an example beyond South Sudan, one important role of youth has been seen in the political change in North Africa. Evidence has shown that in Africa youth have been at the heart of the many of the recent movements for political change in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The organization and reorganization of youth have resulted to strong movements. Youth have made dramatic revolutions in the places like Egypt, Tunisia and also significant calls for reform in countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine Kurtz, J., & Gomez, R. L. (2012). The debate and the notion of political change are not only felt in Middle East and North Africa but in the republic of South Sudan also. The youth in South Sudan has played a key role in calling for social change during the many decades of liberation struggle. Much as social change has been brought over the years to South Sudan by the majority of the youth, they generally have little say in matters that affect them, it is known that the adults generally having the upper hand in the most public affairs (Youth alternatives, youth possibilities, report 2014).

The long long-drawn-out conflict between Sudan and South Sudan and the current political struggle over power in South Sudan are both fought primarily and largely by youth. Beside these many years of conflicts youth in South Sudan do still face a number of difficulties in their everyday life and struggles. Demographic data concerning youth indicated that only 22 percent of individuals aged 15 years and above in the rural areas in South Sudan can read and write and that 68 percent have never attended school (South Sudan Centre for Census, Statistics and Evaluation 2010). Some indication pointed out that, 79 percent of households in rural areas in South Sudan are engaged in crop farming as their primary source of income despite this; the majority of households are food insecure. The households that earn a living through wages or salaries in South Sudan are known to be only 5 percent (South Sudan Centre for Census, Statistics & Evaluation 2010). The harmful traditional practices such as cattle-based bride prices have put young girls to vulnerable position. These situation in particularly has caused social isolation of girls at puberty. The harmful traditional practices have also impacted male youth as they in many instances are also assigned to work in cattle camps with limited access to education or recreation, a situation closely linked to increased issues of cattle rustling among tribes leading to deaths.

As indicated above the bulky youth population represents an opportunity for peace building, development, and leadership in South Sudan (Youth Voices in South Sudan, 2012). It is worth underscoring that conversely, young people growing up today face many inter-related risks and vulnerabilities in South Sudan. Therefore, addressing the key development and peace-building priories of South Sudan’s youth is central to ensuring sustainable recovery and peace building. The need to have a comprehensive youth policy and viable strategy for South Sudan is evident and necessary to be highlighted in the paper.

Since there is no considered concept of youth Civic Engagement in South Sudan, the paper adopted the concept of civic engagement from Adler and Goggin (Adler and Goggin (2005), who put the concept of youth Civic Engagement as, “the ways in which citizens participate in the life of a community in order to improve conditions for others or to help shape the community’s future”. (p.1). This term has been used to date primarily in the context of younger people. If youth are actively involved in contributing to positive development of their lives, families, communities, and nation such as South Sudan this can be understood as youth civic engagement (AIYD and Inter Action 2013). Civic engagement and leadership consider both community service activities and political actions as significant driving forces. The paper stressed that civic participation can take many forms: this can be through volunteering in a community service project; being involved actively in an organization working to address a social change issue, like corruption; electoral voting; and joining with others with similar vision and value to raise common concerns, such as through protesting and demonstrating. The paper asserted that, the necessary understanding to effectively participate in civic life should include young people’s understanding of their rights and responsibilities as members of collective society, how decisions are made, by whom why that are made and ways they can enter the process.

Problem Statement

Youth civic engagement and leadership is becoming a real serious concern for many societies today and as it is also the case in South Sudan. The concern is based on the reality that youth are now not benefiting from a number of societal changes. Youth are also not benefiting from the impact on employability, upward mobility and community engagement, especially for poor and at risk youth. As stated earlier in the paper, youth have high expectations in how they would want to see how the governance in South Sudan is exercised to bring about positive and desired change. In South Sudan many Youth have joined conflict to provide labour because they could not get the political space to civically engage. The South Sudan youth situation cannot be detached from other countries in North Africa. Youth have one belief and that they need more equitable access to decent jobs, relevant education, engagement in the public realm, and more responsive and accountable governance. This real belief forms the common vision of youth in many societies today (Khouri and Lopez, 2011).

The situation of youth is linked to the fact that governance in Africa and South Sudan in particular has left a lot to be desired. More so the failure by national governments to make timely and tangible progress in responding, directing and funding youth programs that lead to more equitable access to decent jobs and relevant education. It is anticipated that not allowing youth to continue their Engagement in the public realm, and not opening up more responsive and accountable governance will in the future have some serious setback. As noted from other countries that lack of responsive and accountable governance has risked pushing more youth towards more violence. Youth take violent means to achieve the types of change they seek to move on in society (Mercy Corps, 2011a). As noted by the paper that, the majority of the population in South Sudan is youth, and they have the desire to have a meaningful civic engagement and exercise citizenship. Some scholars have indicated that, members of the younger generation have the potential, motivation and energy to direct the course of events (Boyden, 2008); youth in South Sudan are indeed playing a pivotal role in many of the processes that are taking place in their localities. In South Sudan the realities currently facing most youth are often fraught with adversity and multiple complex challenges, and also show tremendous forthcoming for renewal and locally generated progress.

Youth have shown a great desire to be engaged in Community based organizations, civil society activities, form networks, and mobilize for common goals and interests, but lack the necessary tools, space and skills to do so (South Sudan Centre for Census, Statistics & Evaluation 2010). This desire can further be an opportunity to initiate positive social change and general community development. Indication have shown that, most government sector policies were formulated in 2007, three years after the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement and the establishment of the government of then Southern Sudan. Most of sector policies say little about youth. However, currently many are under revision. Civic engagement of youth in this process can be a good beginning ensuring policy transparency. The Indication that points to the lack of political space for youth participation by the government of South Sudan is seriously being reinforced by lack of political will from individual government officials not to allow good things to happen. These have and will continue to hamper the ability and the involvement of youth in the process of the policy formulation (Beny Gideon 2013). Youth influence on national, state and local level development and policies are almost non-existent. The practices of politics and governance in South Sudan which are shaped along tribal lines have consequences for youth development in terms of leadership. Tribal politics are the basis for forming the governments and even determining the allocation of basic services.

Despite all these challenges and gaps in policy, youth real civic engagement and leadership in South Sudan needed to be assessed in terms of its context. The paper strongly asserts that, youth civic engagement and leadership at all levels of governance and policymaking is a key. The need for youth empowerment to be actively engaged and participate in communities is crucial to achieving positive development outcomes. The current broad recognition of youth at the international level that investing in youth and empowering enhances skill development, confidence and competency building is a good opportunity for South Sudan opening space for youth to contribute to the peace process, political coexistence and economic development. Youth civic engagement brings about representation and promotion of a community inclusive agenda which increases community coexistence. Civic engagement and leadership through youth community organization brings about social capital.

The Analysis of Youth Context and Civic Engagement and Leadership

The youth in South Sudan is faced with several challenges that place obstacles to their livelihoods and development including the way they engage in civic activities. Among some of the obstacles are cultural and economic problems and lack of access to information. From the data obtained from 15 interviews it was indicated that, youth are divided along tribal lines and that is why majority of youth have no common agenda for nation building and unified plan of action for active and strong civic engagement. From the interviews carried out it was revealed that, few radical youth groups remain helpless and are continuously becoming victims of harassments, killings, segregation and all form of mistreatment. This is because such conscious groups do not follow their fellow youth who stood behind uncles and cousins for political gains, but purely independent and aggressively questioning public affairs. The Interviews results established that, those groups that engaged government on governance issues did not receive an adequate support from their cohorts, and this made their work difficult to achieve good results.

It is noted with concern that South Sudan is one of the countries in which youth are not organized into a youth-governing body that can directly present issues that concern them to the government for consideration, including their direct representation at all levels of government as youth representatives. Certainly, there are youth in some positions of power but they attained such positions on an individual competitive basis. They were not elected by youth. The provisional appointment of the youth leadership by the then Minister of Youth and Sport government of South Sudan, which was implemented singlehandedly, was claimed by the interviews youth as unconstitutional. The paper agreed that, such a youth body therefore lacks legitimacy since it was not sanctioned by the youth. Appointing such a body could have been a ploy to ensure that the youth served the private interests of certain individuals, but not to guarantee inclusive youth leadership.

The paper study found that, in relation to youth legal recognition it is provided under the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan (2011). The constitution article 40 declares that “all levels of government shall: Adopt policies and provide facilities for the welfare of youth and ensure that they develop morally and physically, and are protected from moral and physical abuse and abandonment; empower the youth to develop their potentials.”(p.13) These constitutional statements clearly indicate that national and sub-national government bodies are mandated to formulate and make use of policies, amenities and services to support the development of youth both physically and morally (Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011). This legal provision did not provide youth both morally and physically due to several factors such as lack of political will, weak government capacity and poor prioritization of policy initiatives.

The interviews results pointed out that, one major factor hampering youth civic engagement and leadership in South Sudan relates to youth Socio-economic status. The majority of interviewed members of youth groups  reported that, the government of South Sudan does not have a single youth economic empowerment policy which could help youth to earn their income and improve on welfare. Lack of income for youth means that youth cannot actively engaged in community process. The paper strongly observed that, young women and male youth who are less educated, unemployed, and from rural areas are the least likely to be civically lead and engaged. It was noted that often these very groups, whose voices are underrepresented in public debates and decisions making process, contributing to their further marginalization in South Sudan (Youth Baseline, 2012). Civic associations are known to be acting as essential intermediary bodies between the individuals and government. As researcher De Tocqueville (1945), has explained that, healthy voluntary sector has long been thought to be vital to “participatory democracy”. The paper argues that given the South Sudanese current situation volunteering can be something to consider. Volunteering among young people in other countries with similar situations like South Sudan is seen as something that can foster social responsibility and increase young people’s trust in their government institutions (Putnam, 1995). If the economic situation continues to persist in South Sudan as it does now, then it is better for the youth to continue volunteering in societal issues in order to deepen their civic participation and increase their advocacy on democratic governance reforms The paper admitted that, volunteering will not bring about economic opportunities for youth as hoped, at least not immediately, but putting in place democratic governance reforms may bring the necessary policies that could pay off in the long run and facilitate economic growth leading to economic opportunities for youth in South Sudan.

There is high illiteracy rate of youth in South Sudan, put at 91 percent according to the population census, 2008 and this extreme situation has not very much changed as hoped for by many in the new country. This high illiteracy rate cannot allow youth as the majority in this category to participate in democracy and good governance, because democracy is rights and it is much more connected with critical thinking, knowledge and skills in order to know what your rights are and duties in a democratic governance spelled out under the constitutions in the South Sudan and its ten states and the laws under them (South population census, 2008). The lack of educational and economic opportunities for youth, coupled with fragile and deteriorating markets and weak governance, are the legacy of a protracted conflict with Sudan and continued political uncertainty in South Sudan. This uneducated, unskilled and underutilized population of young people, combined with politically motivated ethnic tensions, threatens to prolong conflict in South Sudan and further isolate its young people from pursuing productive and non-violent futures. The paper strongly asserts that, the alarming lack of educational and economic opportunities for youth in South Sudan will only be addressed when the bulk of the youth are actively engaging with policy and legislative officials and calling for reforms and overhaul of the educational and economics systems in South Sudan to bring about increase youth access to quality education and economic opportunities.

The reality as pointed out by this paper is that, civic engagement of the youth does not appear to contribute to greater social capital in the forms of political trust, tolerance of others, respect for pluralism and diversity, or a sense of shared identity. The reported issue that, youth continue to be divided along tribal lines and the majority of youth have no common agenda for nation building will continue to impact South Sudan (Beny Gideon 2014). The on-going youth frustration with government institutions, especially their performance around employment creation, was found to be a key driver of unconventional forms of participation. Frustration is suggested as a factor inciting youth to join conflict both at national and tribal level (James Barnaba, 2014). Logically, youth participation in local and national civic actions is a natural stepping stone to other forms of civic engagement. It is very important to highlight that even past studies have shown  youth engagement lead to higher electoral and political participation later in life. A report by Kurtz, J., & Gomez, R. L. (2012) indicates that. Youth social capital is also possible. “If young people are civically engaged, they will be more likely to develop and exhibit forms of social capital that are conducive to the functioning of democracy, and to peaceful co-existence” (p.56)

An outline of recommendations from a governance and youth participation training organised by Community Empowerment for Rehabilitation and development indicated that youth need to go to school in order to change their attitude, youths need to organise community policing to address internal conflicts, that youths need to carry out awareness to the community about the importance of peace and the dangers of conflict through the media such as radio talk shows as a means to public attention and review state education policy to promote quality education and making education attractive (Community Empowerment for Rehabilitation and development, 2014). It was emphasised that such training is limited from being accessed by many youth though they are meant to increase youth civic engagement as community service, collective action and a tool for mobilization for social concern.

It is confirmed that sport activities are already occurring in some rural communities in South Sudan. The concern that should be pointed out here is that the power of harnessing public attention and youth groups for community development has overall been underutilized. Youth need to have required spaces, both physical and metaphorical, which facilitate their engagement in civic and political affairs in their respective communities. As reported by the interviewed youth the lack of sufficient institutional mechanisms, structures, policies and societal norms are serious issues that require attention. In other parts of the world similar issues can be a threat and blockage for youth involvement and encouraging them to utilise their capacity to be civically engaged and assume leadership roles in society (Camino and Zeldin 2002). Establishing facilities and physical infrastructure will provide available spaces for youth to come together. However, the presence of a physical meeting place does not ensure that young people have institutional and societal support that encourages their participation and engagement.

A report from UNESCO on Arab Youth Civic Engagement and Economic Participation (2011) has explained that, young people have shifted and rightly so from an emphasis on young people as problems to young people as assets. This paper takes the types of social capital of interest as those values and attitudes associated with being a good citizen, including social and political trust, and tolerance of others, respect for pluralism and diversity, and a sense of shared identity. The emphasis that the paper puts to promote is based on the significant supply of these forms of social capital within a population such as South Sudan is believed to be necessary for a functioning civil society, good governance, and to peaceful co-existence. For South Sudan, the paper argues that the theory should points to the direction where its political system needs to establish a threshold of trustworthiness in order to foster civic and political participation among youth. The paper believed that, through constructive engagement, accountability and transparency, the threshold of trustworthiness will be cultivated. Peaceful co-existence in South Sudan will be brought about by the youth as they represent 70% of the population their contribution in many and any effort will bring about a huge social capital.

The issue of human rights is noted to be one that requires attention. Currently youth still have their rights unfulfilled and they continue to experience violence. This situation is regarded by many interviewed youth as disturbing. This situation is also affirmed by some finding of a youth baseline study which was carried out in some parts of South Sudan such as Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei and Upper Nile. The effect of this situation has and will continue to draw youth from contributing towards the development of South Sudan (South Sudan Youth Baseline, 2012). The data obtained from the baseline study indicates that youth denounce violence, and they demand educational opportunities friendly spaces for youth and they further express their desire to contribute towards the development of their communities and country. This is a good indication that the leadership of South Sudan need to promote as they will contribute to chances of reducing the current violence. As also pointed out, a large number of youth in South Sudan grew up and survived in a hostile environment without protection due to the many years of war that took place between the North and South Sudan over 21 years. Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, the Government of South Sudan has been focusing on peace building, conflict prevention and recovery. These efforts never brought positive change.

As reported by most youth that due to a pervasive lack of care, the youth have developed negative attitudes towards themselves, leading to high consumption of drugs and alcohol, which makes them become violent and commit crimes in many towns in South Sudan. Despite this situation there is an indication that most youth in South Sudan are brimming with vibrant ideas (Youth alternatives, youth possibilities, 2014). Properly motivating and sufficiently guiding them would solve many of the problems faced by South Sudan. Without access to opportunities for participation, the youth cannot develop their potential to the full. As a result, it has reduced their commitment to educate themselves and some with relative education have no interest to participate in the advocacy of pertinent issues such as democracy and good governance. The paper contended that the above factors hinder the way youth bring out their issues to the elderly. Such factors can make youth not to develop a sense of competence, purpose and empowerment. (AIYD and Inter Action 2013). The paper confirmed that often, social norms prevent or prohibit youth viewpoints from being taken as seriously as those of adults. Particularly for youth under the age of 18, who are still legally considered children, structures may not exist wherein they can express and advocate for their needs or improve their communities. This confirmation has been validated by the interviewed youth who claimed that in South Sudan youth views are sometime not taken seriously by the adults in position of authority.

The Assessment established that, over 30 percent (31.9 percent male and 27.1 percent female) of youth is unable to find work. Those looking for work account for 19 percent (19.6 percent male and 17.5 percent female) while the remaining 11 percent are discouraged workers. The reason for the high unemployment rate is due to lack of adequate education, an issue also raised in the paper before. Changing the situation in South Sudan requires youth with skills as they are crucial. Life skills are the capabilities that young people need to make informed decisions, develop relationships, and solve problems. Important life skills for youth to engage in civic activities should include: Leadership, critical thinking and analysis, communication, and negotiation. As also observed from many experiences that educational background of youth themselves and their parents have an effect on the level of engagement; participation as known usually increases with higher levels of education (Mercy Corps 2012). Further for youth civic engagement to be successful the paper argues that, youth requires mobilization skills. Skills that increases mobilizing can contribute to capabilities for identifying priorities, resources, needs and organizing solutions as needed in South Sudan. . A Mercy Corps report (2012) noted that educational institutions, especially “schools, are key mediums for promoting civic engagement through the transmission of civic knowledge and by involving students in programs and activities that stimulate community involvement, such as service-learning projects”.

A meaningful role of youth can be promoted by increasing awareness through the use of the media. A good opportunity is the increase in the number of community radios in South Sudan. The South Sudanese media can play an important role. The Media role can be directly in transmitting negative perspectives of youth, and as such can be engaged to communicate more positive images (O’Donoghue and Kirschner 2003). South Sudan Information Communication Technology has begun to support the access to the internet and the rise of social media. Access to the internet and the rise of social media have introduced and encouraged a new true youth-led and youth-decision making space in other places (Raynes-Goldie 2008).

Given the gap between elderly people and the youth in South Sudan it is necessary that programs that emphasize collaboration, particularly intergenerational collaboration, as a problem solving methodology and reported gains in perceptions of youth can be key. The paper also points out that, the recognition of both youth and adults is essential in order to achieve effective and sustained social change and development. Youth civic engagement in South Sudan is supposed to support building organizations that became the platform for addressing conflict and violence and bring about social change.


To address youth civic engagement in South Sudan as community service, political involvement, collective action and mobilization for social concern, the paper offers the following recommendations.

Youth activism in South Sudan, particularly among female youth, is imperative to ensure that young people have full representation in all the ten (10) states and can mobilize to create positive social change. Basic advocacy and lobbying skills combined with youth media outlets are important key to mobilization of young people and increasing the membership base of these youth organization.

Education as a basic human right and the foundation of knowledge is the basic key to level of participation in democracy and good governance. The government of South Sudan has already adopted an alternative education system which is quick learning package but a lot needs to be done to ensure that education situation is addressed fully and this can be an alternative to formal schooling.

It is very vital for the youth in South Sudan to consider social awareness: sensitizing the South Sudanese youth about the social issues that need to be dynamically tackled in order to create a culture of equity, justice, and democracy make them embark on the exciting journey of claiming their rights. The current peace process in Addis Ababa provides a good opportunity for youth to increase joining hands.

It is also important to create youth structures in different counties and states in South Sudan to support differences and establish safe, supportive learning environments, ultimately recreating the climate and culture in all level of communities. This requires conscious commitment by all participants in South Sudan to overcoming all barriers that could hinder structural success.

Considering organizational skills of youth: there is a functional need by civil society organization and those supporting youth to set specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic and time bound social objectives inspired from an overarching social strategy, based on a solid system, centered on a hierarchically well delineated structure in South Sudan. This organizational clarity will mobilize the motivated youth and make them share the same values. Youth endowed with the necessary social skills and adopting a style of participative decision-making and agenda setting will make the desired social change sustainable.

The socially empowered youth in many parts of South Sudan acquire disciplined civic practices that help them formulate constructive strategies for action (service, advocacy, policy change) to accomplish public ends/purposes. The civic culture will raise the public morale, and elevate the capacity for planning and carrying out public action especially in the affected states and discourage the issue of youth groups forming based on tribal lines. It goes without saying that the society, at large, will then witness social entrepreneurship in the sense of building up the moral and political courage to take risks for the public good.

The traumatized culture of the youth in South Sudan requires a concrete action. A holistic mindset means adopting a rights-based-approach that can ensure equitable access to employment, knowledge, social services and markets for young South Sudan citizens.

A political reform should be based on South Sudan youth and the general citizen’s civic and political rights and economic reform must also follow a rights-based approach. This can guarantee stability and responsiveness in new governance systems being proposed in South Sudan, and to pave the way for transitions towards democracy and rule of law, while improving the quality and well-being of South Sudan citizenry lives.

While the government is building its capacity and considering political reform, it should go hand in hand with economic reform that can free citizens and youth from favoritism, and unfairness in the distribution of services, wealth, and knowledge. A careful and transparent distribution if economic resources may mean supporting national service and programs where youth are benefiting and impact them positively where youth will be able to access employment leading to upward mobility and community engagement.

When referring to economic and fairness it is good to consider that economic justice refers to equity and fairness not only in the distribution of resources but in the access to these resources. In order to claim a level of justice, South Sudan needs to ensure that youth everywhere in South Sudan, regardless of class and personal backgrounds and political affiliation have the same chances to enter the public sphere and have a say in the economic policies that shape their lives.

Establishment of National Youth Policy will be necessary and the policy should be developing in a participatory manner. Youth need to be vigilant in ensuring that the process is not hijacked by political entities.


The preceding recommendations are ambitious, and their implementation is dependent on political will from national and local governments in South Sudan. The author of this paper understands that there are obstacles to the implementation of youth civic engagement programs. The current limited democratic space in South Sudan will not motivate youth to actively drive positive change through political engagement attitudes change for youth. Some of the youth engagements are left underway because they are sometimes confused by the politicians and political parties.


The youth civic engagement in South Sudan should be activated to bring about processes of change in building democracy, governance at all level of society, support the enhancement about civil dialogue and leadership and political voice. Engagement should translate to representation and promotion of a community agenda which leads to increased community coexistence. The unity of youth in community organizations through engagement and leadership should bring about social capital and built organizations should become the platform of addressing conflict and violence which bring about social change and improve political engagement attitudes for youth.

For civil engagement to take place it is necessary to have more democratic space which the government and the entire society in South Sudan need to create. Empowerment through the active civic engagement and leadership by youth will contribute to acceptance, tolerance in South Sudan and achieve positive social change.


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  3 comments for “Assessing the Context of Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership In South Sudan

  1. June 5, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    It appears there is repeated problem statement. The editor for this publication would have read through the texts and how its structure prior publication or making it public.

    How ever the content of the paper is clear and encouraging. It describes a real life scenario in South Sudan and I commend its policy recommendation be absorbed by our national government as part of its scholar member’s contribution for South Sudan.


  2. Abuchook
    June 5, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    This article should be send to the Primitive youths of Lou, Jikany, and Gawaar and Adok.
    These youths need civics engagement and coexist attitudes rather than Tribal mind-sets Ideology and Hatred Influence.


    • June 6, 2015 at 4:32 am

      Let not blame others for an individual error. Why are disturbing, stalking those people that don’t even know the term republic of south sudan.Yet, they pay an ultimate price .It’s so shamefull to have a premitive cow boy in a place like south sudan. It not supprised all to see that comment.”tribal mind -sets ideology” You have a thick minded as your killer(terrorist) kirr. In which his remote control all dinka ass a evry where. sorrow will start soon in greater bar el ghazal mr.


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