Sawa Shabab (Together Youth) Returns to the Radio in South Sudan

The new season of the popular radio drama for youth promotes peace amidst violent conflict

FEBRUARY 2, 2017, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN- Sawa Shabab (Together Youth), a peacebuilding
radio drama produced locally by Ammalna in partnership with PeaceTech Lab and the United States Institute of Peace, returns this week for Season 3 on Radio Miraya, Catholic Radio Network, and Internews community radio stations, among other local stations. The season premiere comes at a critical time, as reemerging violence, dire economic conditions and increasing displacement threaten to upend the world’s newest nation.

“Youth are bearing the brunt of the conflict right now, much of which is being inflamed by online hate speech. Sawa Shabab gives them space to wrestle with issues like unity and identity, while still expressing a positive vision for their country. We’ve been amazed by the response through SMS, social media, and community groups forming around the show’s key themes,” said PeaceTech Lab Africa Director, Theo Dolan.

Sawa Shabab’s storylines, which confront everything from intra-community conflicts around cattle raiding to forced marriage as well as reconciliation and healing, clearly resonate with the youth audience, particularly on the show’s Facebook fan page:

“hello sawa shabab listeners.... it’s my first time listenin to thz drama series and i love it”

“Mother Teresa once said that if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that
we belong to each other. Let’s play a great role of reminding our diverse communities
that we are one and belong to each other. One love, one family sawa shabab…”

“Sawa Shabab will bring peace if we stand with its team together with peace and

Audience research also indicates that the show is resonating: 99% of listeners like the program. Additionally, the educational goals of the program are demonstrating positive change. For example, active female listeners who consider themselves to be equal citizens in society jumped from 40% prior to listening to Season 2 to 62% after listening to the series, according to the most recent research by Forcier Consulting.

Sawa Shabab is based on a peacebuilding curriculum that provides the educational foundation for the program. The curriculum seeks to promote co-existence and national identity by empowering South Sudanese youth to be confident, open-minded and participatory citizens in a diverse society. Given the most recent outbreak of violence in the country, a reconciliation theme is now part of the curriculum. Season 4 is confirmed and due to air in late 2017. Past episodes can be found on SoundCloud.

About Ammalna Ammalna was established in 2016 in Juba to promote a culture of peace and reconciliation in communities by supporting inclusive dialogue, drama, street theater, outreach activities, radio, art, music, culture and capacity-building.

About PeaceTech Lab PeaceTech Lab works for individuals and communities affected by conflict, using technology, media, and data to accelerate local peacebuilding efforts. An independent non-profit organization, the Lab’s mission is to amplify the power of peacetech to save lives through earlier warnings and smarter responses to violence. The Lab’s programs emphasize a data-driven, cross-sector approach, engaging everyone from student engineers and citizen journalists to Fortune 500 companies in scaling the impact of peacetech.

About the United States Institute of Peace The United States Institute of Peace works to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict around the world. USIP does this by engaging directly in conflict zones and by providing analysis, education, and resources to those working for peace. Created by Congress in 1984 as an independent, nonpartisan, federally funded organization, USIP’s more than 300 staff work at the Institute’s D.C. headquarters, and on the ground in the world’s most dangerous regions.

View and download press release here.