KHARTOUM/JUBA, 31 December 2009 – UNICEF Sudan is urging young people to sign up as “peace ambassadors” during this year’s National Schools Competition which gets underway in Darfur today.
Almost 8,000 young people aged between 12 and 17 from across Sudan will be in El Fashir, the capital of north Darfur, for the next two weeks.
The theme of the event, which is being organised by the Ministry of Education with support from UNAMID and UNICEF, is peace-building and reconciliation.
As part of the event UNICEF Sudan will be launching a campaign to sign young people up as peace ambassadors.
UNICEF hopes that the youngsters who become peace ambassadors will then return to their homes and promote messages of peace and reconciliation in their communities.
The young people will be given a certificate and a suggestion list of simple actions they can carry out to promote peace themselves.
“We want every person taking part in this competition to realise that they can contribute to peace in Sudan,” said Nils Kastberg, UNICEF Representative in Sudan,.
“Children and young people are the best asset that any country has and we want to encourage youngsters to realise they are the present and the future of Sudan by helping them act as peace envoys and positive role models in their communities,” he added.
The 11 actions that UNICEF is suggesting include making friends with people from different ethnic groups in a bid to promote understanding between communities as well as resolving problems by talking and listening.
This is the 21st National Schools Competition which is carried out every two years in Sudan bringing students together from across the country. The young people who take part range from 12-year-olds to 17-year-olds.
This year north Darfur is playing host to the event which will include debates about peace and conflict-resolution, quizzes, athletic competitions as well as music and dance from different regions of Sudan.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For more information, please contact:
Amber Henshaw, Media & External Relations UNICEF Sudan,
Mobile +249 (0)912 177 291,
Douglas Armour, Communications Manager UNICEF Southern Sudan Area programme, Juba
Mobile+ (256) (0) 477 256 717, + (249) (0) 913 143 481
Bismarck Swangin, Communication officer UNICEF Southern Sudan Area programme, Juba
Mobile: +249(0) 919 261 580, +256(0) 477 103 390