The Peace Village also started people talking. Peace committees were
organized in every settlement over a large area in the southeast of
the nascent country. Regular meetings provide an early warning system,
identifying tensions before they lead to violence.
“The committees work hard,” said Albano Louis, a Toposa chief in
Korokochom. “People share their grievances, and we work hard to make
life better. Instead of just carrying guns and being afraid, we deal
with problems, like hunger, that affect the daily life of the people.
We pray for peace, and we think it’s going to work. There is nothing
better than peace.”
When talk breaks down and cattle raids do occur, members of the peace
committees work to get the stolen animals back, with the raiders often
penalized an equal number of animals. In a region where national
police seldom tread, the Peace Village has essentially created its own
The introduction of cell service in 2021, after years of lobbying by
Taban, has facilitated communication among villagers and Peace Village
staff. It has allowed them to communicate — and resolve conflicts —
much more quickly.
Although it receives international support, the Peace Village is a
thoroughly South Sudanese project. This makes it even more important
for the country, says Jonas Halvorsen, a Norwegian Church Aid official
who has worked with the Peace Village for years.