If you have a long job title, it usually means you have a lot of important work to do. For Juma Mabor Marial, it’s helping to bring peace to war-torn South Sudan.
Juma is the Peace Building, Justice and Reconciliation Program Coordinator for African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM). As a Tearfund partner it is trying to bring peace from the grassroots level up.
I met with him on a recent visit to the UK.
I began by asking him to explain a little of the background to the conflict:
The most recent conflict broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, two years after independence of the world’s youngest nation. For the last five years people have been back and forth in negotiating a peace agreement. The most recent talks were held in Khartoum, and we hope that’s what is going to hold.*
We have an ongoing humanitarian crisis. So many people have fled their homes to other parts of the country or over the borders to Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
What's the feeling among the people you meet?
For those that choose to stay in South Sudan – although things are not easy – home is home.
There is hope that peace is coming back, people are trying to wait for that to happen, and if it happens, then things will go back to normal.
What are you and ALARM doing practically to try and bring peace to South Sudan?
First and foremost we are arranging for people to talk through issues that are causing conflict. This involves peace-building and forgiveness training with members of parliament, religious leaders, youth leaders, and community leaders, including women.
We are enabling these people to sit together, talk together, and develop ways to resolve conflict. This all helps to bring peace to communities.
We are also teaching them about forgiveness. Whatever might have happened to you, there is room for you to forgive another person and there is also room for you to be forgiven.