Our Communications Officer Hawa Rebecca had a brief interview with John Dor who is one of the student beneficiaries of the Building Transformative Youth Leadership project supported by Democracy International through a fund provided by USAID. The main objective of this interview was to find out the impact of the IDO engagement with the 3 selected universities (University of Juba, Upper Nile University, Catholic University) impacted his life; this is what he had to say.
Hawa: Can you briefly tell me about yourself?
Dor: My name is John Dor, a 4th year student at Upper Nile University, faculty of education, doing Physics and Mathematics.
Hawa: Originally, Upper Nile University was based in Malakal, can you tell me what led to the relocation of Upper Nile University from Malakal to Juba?
Dor: Yes, it is true Upper Nile University was originally in Malakal. This university was relocated to Juba in 2015 together with the students from Malakal. This was basically due to the crisis in 2013 that led to the insecurity in most parts of South Sudan, Malakal inclusive. We did not leave the main campus in Malakal for nothing; it was because of the crisis. You can even see now, this campus is not a university but a temporary training space. You can see we do not have a library; computers and so many other things are missing here. These are the challenges of being a displaced university.
Hawa: How did you relocate from Malakal to Juba?
Dor: The University instructed all students in Malakal to relocate to Juba saying that the main campus will be left for some time until security normalizes. In Malakal things are not okay because the university was looted, the whole university infrastructure destroyed which left us with no place to study back in Malakal.
Hawa: So now, you were relocated to Juba from Malakal because of insecurity and insecurity comes in because of lack of peace in the country. What can you say about the importance of peace?
Dor: Peace is everything; peace makes people to live in harmony, to co-exist with one another. I am urging our people, all South Sudanese to embrace peace and not to support senseless war. I like peace and I believe every South Sudanese and every human being loves peace. The question is, how can we get sustainable peace now? True peace comes from the top leaders. I will only support leaders who love peace.
Hawa: Can you briefly describe your engagement with IDO from May to October 2016?
Dor: I have been trained by IDO for a period of 6 months. I passed through several trainings, youth forums, youth festivals, networking meetings. In the first training, we were trained on leadership, good governance and many others. I acquired extra knowledge which could not be given to me at the university. I attended several forums; the forums used to focus on how to connect with colleagues in the universities.
Our training focused on three universities, i.e. Upper Nile University, Catholic university and university of Juba. As an individual, I have connected with almost 100 students from the 3 universities and I know them name by name, for example William Sunday Mayor of Catholic University, Lul Duk of university of Juba. We also learnt the types of leadership and the characteristics of good leadership. In the second training we learnt about conflict solving.
Hawa: Out of all the activities that you have mentioned, how have they impacted or changed your life?
Dor: We have benefited a lot in terms of leadership skills because as a leader, you have to listen to the problems of your people. I have learnt that for you to be a leader it is not about the title but it is by how you connect with the people and how you are solving their problems.
I have acquired extra knowledge of problem solving within the campus especially problems affecting students within the university, problems affecting me as an individual; I am able to solve them all because of IDO training.
We are eager to get more training from IDO especially on topics we did not cover, for example trauma healing and reconciliation among others.
Hawa: Do you have anything that you want to add?
Dor: Yes, I want to extend my appreciation to IDO, the administration for facilitating the two trainings, networking meetings, youth forums and youth festivals. Services rendered to us by IDO during the activities were sufficient. Truth be told, we gained so many things from IDO,
I am recommending IDO to make so many trainings on areas of leadership, nation building, conflict & conflict management especially to those who did not get the first opportunity.
The Project Officer Mr. Gai Makiew said, “The leadership activity has made a great impact among the students in the sense that students have become more creative and successful practicing leadership and democracy at their unions and performing different initiatives. But the target beneficiaries’ number was very small compared to the statistics of students at the three universities, that means few students have benefited from the activities and there is a need to extend this project to those who did not get the chance to participate in the past project activity.”
Building Transformative Youth Leadership is a six-month project that IDO implimented with Democracy International (DI) funded by the USAID aiming to build the skills and knowledge of student youth leaders within Juba based Universities on leadership, good governance, peace building and advocacy.
IDO built and enhanced active participation of student youth leaders in political and democratic processes and increased networking with other key stakeholders to support them to better contribute to the South Sudan’s future.
By Hawa Rebecca