Why education and peace are critical if we need to transform and develop vulnerable communities

Ajwok Classroom 1

Education in emergencies, Global Youth Ambassadors, Refugees and internally displaced people, Sustainable Development Goals

My name is Ajwok Mary Valentino. I am a South Sudanese living in Uganda. I am a Global Youth Ambassador at Theirworld and a peacemaker at Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, Uganda. 

I am passionate about peace and education. As a young person who was displaced from my country for over a decade now, I am motivated to make a difference through peace work in my community. Without peace, there cannot be a sustainable development which is made possible only by availing the right opportunities and investing in the right education of the young people.

Education is very critical for the transformative peace and development of a vulnerable community like Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. Education helps young people to discover their talents and develop their skills for the greater benefit of their communities. The young people in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement through Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative are educating their fellows by providing training in ICT, business and entrepreneurship skills and peacebuilding. I believe that when the right time comes, the South Sudanese refugees may go back home as transformed citizens to ‘correct the wrongs’ in South Sudan.  

Personally, I have never remained the same ever since some ‘good hands’ invested in my education. Today, I am able to contribute to making an impact in my community through the knowledge and skills that I acquired in schools and different platforms of learning. As a trainer in peacebuilding and conflict resolution, I have so far trained over 800 cluster youths, two secondary schools in conflict resolution education, conducted peace dialogues and mediation meetings in my community. I believe that at this critical time in the world, uniting the young people as the force for change is vital for transforming a vulnerable community globally.  

If the world leaders want to make a lasting change, then the right skills and knowledge should be availed to the young people. ​

It is so unfortunate that education is underfunded especially in refugee context. This is evident in this era of the pandemic that for over a year now, the children haven’t been to school which is worst in the refugee context. If the world leaders want to make a lasting change, then the right skills and knowledge should be availed to the young people. 

On this Humanitarian Day, I call upon the humanitarian organisations and individuals to provide the right investment in form of education in the young people to help them unleash their potentials, transform their communities and minimise conflicts in the communities. 

I believe that sustainable Peace and Development cannot prevail without the provision of the right knowledge and skills to the communities that need it the most.

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