The conflict in South Sudan that has been ongoing for the past five years, has created a huge rift among different communities. These divisions are mostly attributed to ethnic differences. However, the division is more often intertwined with other existing struggles related to resources and historical issues that had been buried under the sand for long but now seem to have resurfaced. As UNMISS and OHCHR report, “between October and November 2016, there was a sudden and alarming increase of inflammatory language by citizens, expressing hatred – and at times inciting violence – against individuals or groups, notably based on their ethnicity or perceived beliefs, acts or political views. This occurred in the context of the non-international armed conflict, exacerbating ethnic divisions and violence on the basis of ethnicity, and heightening the risk of mass atrocities. Hate speech was spread through various forms of communication, including private conversations, public speeches, social media exchanges, SMS intimidating messages, images, cartoons published in the press, and threatening letters.”
Although the conflict in South Sudan has affected the general public in various ways, some groups are disproportionately affected. The youth, for example, are affected by the conflict in specific ways that further disenfranchise them in part because the youth are always at the front lines receiving and disseminating information. The actions of young people have a great impact on the current situation in the country as well as the future of the nation as a whole. Situated between a past that they knew very little about and the present conflict that makes them question their very existence and nationhood. We see the youth demographic as a key actor in the spread of hate and creating an atmosphere that will lead to more conflicts in the future. On the other hand, youth are important in meaningful peacebuilding and have the potential to be peace actors in a hate-free South Sudan. To meaningfully engage youth in the action, we will address these information needs and gaps:
- South Sudan has a growing population of youth who are hungry for information about their locality and the world.
- There is a lack of relevant national and local media content to meet the demand for information by the youth.
- The youth are also dealing with the rapid and constantly evolving spread of hate speech and incitement to violence in South Sudan and in the diaspora.
- The youth also face a rapid and mass spread of fake news and misinformation which creates a conspiratory environment devoid of trusted sources.
About the program
Act for Peace is a 3 month paid fellowship that aims at mentoring youth leaders in South Sudan to carry out sustained approaches in their community to tackle Hate Speech.
The program is targeted towards youth leaders, activists, and community leaders who work at the forefront of conflict transformation among communities in South Sudan. Through this mini-grant and the accompanying mentorship and support, we hope to be a spark of hope by assisting in enlarging the scope and adding more visibility to the work of young peacebuilders in South Sudan.
Each fellow will conduct three activities in a span of three months. The fellowship aims at reaching over, 1500 South Sudanese citizens with locally relevant Hate Speech mitigation and Peace Building content.
Each fellow will receive a mini-grant of not less than $ 1,600 to support their outreach activities. The fellows will be guided by the mentors on program development and impact creation in their communities.
- Enhance the work of grassroots actors and bring needed visibility to the work of youth peacebuilders in various communities in South Sudan.
- Work on community-driven initiatives to mitigate hate speech offline and online through counter-narrative and peacebuilding.
- Engage youth with the aim of making behavioural change from conflict to coexistence and sustainable peace.
- Be a South Sudanese living in any of the Ten States or three administrative areas. Applicants outside Juba are encouraged to apply.
- Should be able to relate easily with people from diverse backgrounds
- Must be working on a project that is addressing local conflicts within his/her community.
- Actively utilizes creative and innovative means to combat hate and incitement to violence within the community.
- Applicants who are affiliated to organizations can refer to their work within the organization as evidence of impact.
- Be between the age of 18 and 35
To apply, please send us your Curriculum Vitae/Resume and a brief proposal/concept note (inclusive of budget) outlining the three activities you plan on conducting to [email protected] by 22nd January 2021. Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
Lasting peace between communities
Promoting digital rights and creating a framework for increasing trust between stakeholders and communities in Africa through mobilizing civic action against all forms of hate speech, misinformation, human rights violations, and incitement to violence.
#Defyhatenow is an organization that works on creating frameworks for enhancing trust between stakeholders in Africa through mobilizing civic action against all forms of hate speech, misinformation, human rights violations, and incitement to violence. The organization is considered one of the leading entities that work on providing data-driven solutions to the problem of hate speech, fake news, and misinformation in Africa, working at the nexus of technology, peacebuilding, and human rights. #defyhatenow’s team of researchers, designers, data analysts, and programmers have a wide range of experiences and are currently leading flagship projects in Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Cameroon, and Kenya.
#Defyhatenow was initiated by r0g_agency for open culture and critical transformation gGmbH (Berlin) in response to the sudden and prevalent hate speech on social media platforms in South Sudan at the start of the conflict that erupted in the country in December 2013 and again in July 2016.
In the four years between 2014 and 2018, #defyhatenow South Sudan operated as a project under the supervision of r0g agency. In 2019 #defyhatenow South Sudan underwent a transition and became a registered autonomous national organization run by South Sudanese nationals, this move was in line with #defyhatenow global sustainability and national ownership strategy.
Since the organisation began its work in 2014, the staff have provided extensive capacity-building programs for civil society, humanitarian agencies, the media, the private sector, and government agencies in the region. Through these programs, #defyhatenow has reached over 300,000 people with essential hate speech awareness and knowledge on the impact of misinformation. #Defyhatenow is also invested in nurturing a community of young people through fellowships. #defyhatenow Fellowships provide youth activists and community leaders with resources and expertise that enable them to tackle hate speech online and offline; thereby bringing together grassroots organizations and youth groups to create a healthier public discourse and prevent conflict among communities. #Defyhatenow has had over 50 fellows across its countries of operation.
#Defyhatenow utilizes a partnership-centred approach to program implementation; this model emphasizes the need to enhance collaboration and strengthen the capacity of local and international actors.