Reprinted with permission from Peace News Network

Since South Sudan’s civil war began in 2013, over one million citizens have fled to neighboring Uganda.

Refugees continue to face tension—both between ethnic groups and with host communities—but in the Bidi Bidi refugee camp, one group of refugee reporters are behind a radio program that is broadcasting hope.

The reporters, all of whom are from various refugee camps across Uganda, have been transmitting 30-minute weekly radio programs on peacebuilding between refugees and host communities.

The program, which is broadcasted for Morobo Broadcasting Services (MBS), often focuses on stories that deal with religious harmony, women in peacebuilding, and youth.

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“The kind of peace messages that we broadcast are unifying and reconciliatory peacebuilding messages,” says Juruga Samuel Andrew, MBS program manager.

“Looking at the current crisis we have in South Sudan, looking at the population that is involved in this crisis, you’ll find that the greatest number is the youth,” says Andrew. “So we also go to the youth, we ask them what message they want to pass to their fellow colleagues concerning peace.”

As well as broadcasting stories of peacebuilding, the reporters’ movement through the camps has also helped refugees connect with each other.

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“They’ve been able to locate their lost ones,” says Doreen. “Some of them have been coming to us saying that: ‘It has been good the radio has given us the opportunity to reunite with people.’

“When the conflict, started some of them went different ways, separate ways. Others went to Congo, others came to Uganda, so it has given them the opportunity to reunite.”

MBS staff hopes that their stories will continue to impact the communities they reach and eventually spread to neighboring regions as well.

“When we build [unity] here, we believe that this unity will be taken back home to South Sudan, which can make people live peacefully,” says Andrew. “Because we start it with ourselves as individuals, then it extends to our neighborhood, then the neighboring communities, then the leaders. And you’ll find it goes to the highest level possible.”

(WATCH the video below)

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