Philip Hakim Bongomin, from Magwi in Eastern Equatoria, was born in 1944. On the last evening of the September 2015 training in Torit, we sat down with him to hear some of his life story, spanning 71 years of South Sudanese history.
[apologies for some distortion of sound, which was needed to cancel out the loud music in the background!]
You can see a bit more of David's story here, and he brings to Inside Change a wealth of local experience, insight and connection. The story together with Rob and Bhav kicks off in Juba at the beginning of 2013, when they worked together with the Journey of Healing for National Peace and Reconciliation, under the Government Committee, chaired by the former Vice-President. That was before Inside Change, when all three were working with Initiatives of Change International, whose extensive network has had links with (South) Sudan going back several decades, and also have ongoing diaspora initiatives in Australia and Canada, as well as Horn of Africa work, particularly out of the UK.
Following the dissolution of the first National Committee for Reconciliation, Initiatives of Change International continued supporting the development and implementation of plans with the newly established Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation (CNHPR). They joined the Committee's retreat in Kuron in December 2013 and, following the Crisis, continued building towards a further training program in Yei in October 2014, which brought together 70 people drawn from all 10 States. This was the first program delivered by Inside Change, partnering with the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation and the international network of Initiatives of Change.
Amidst various challenges and imperfections, Inside Change has continued to support the Committee, coordinating the training of peace mobilisers in Warrap State and the subsequent training in Torit, Eastern Equatoria. We have also maintained a strong connection with the South Sudan Support Group within Initiatives of Change International, as well as with local NGO Youth in Solidarity. Further afield, our Associates support a wide range of initiatives elsewhere, including at the International Centre for Initiatives of Change in Caux, Switzerland, in Geneva, in Eastern Europe, and in more development-oriented work in South Sudan.
Our involvement in South Sudan is based on the assumption that we have something to contribute, but only alongside and in partnership with the many organisations and individuals who are committed to a lasting peace in the country. We have met a number, but if we haven't met you, please do be in touch!