Kajo-Keji Peace and Reconciliation Conference: Advancing Towards Sustainable Peace

A group photo with Government officials, religious leaders and community members at the conference in Kajo-Keji. Photo: IOM2024/Joseph Aloro

[Kajo-Keji, South Sudan, March 7-9, 2024] – Around 500 participants, including religious leaders, government representatives, civil society organizations, and community members, came together for the three-day Kajo-Keji Peace and Reconciliation Conference held at St. Emmanuel Church in Romogi from March 7-9, 2024. 

The conference, themed "Our Ambition for a Peaceful Community, ‘’ …come let us reason together…’’ provided a platform for constructive dialogue, reflection, and collaboration towards sustainable peace and reconciliation in Kajo-Keji.

The event was organized by the consortium led by International Organization for Migration (IOM) consisting of Finn Church Aid (FCA), Support for Peace and Education Development Program (SPEDP), Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) and strategic partnership of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) under the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Reconciliation, Stabilization and Resilience in South Sudan (RSRTF)’s area-based programme in Central Equatoria state. 

Peace Conference in Kajo-Keji
The Minister of Presidential Affairs arrives at the venue of the conference in Kajo-Keji. Photo: IOM2024/Joseph Aloro

“We're thrilled to announce the successful conclusion of the Kajo-Keji Peace and Reconciliation Conference. The event marked a significant step in South Sudan's journey towards lasting peace in Kajo-Keji. The consortium is committed to continue supporting peace efforts throughout phase II of the RSRTF programme and beyond,” emphasized Gregoire Goodstein, IOM South Sudan Acting Chief of Mission. 

The collaborative effort, organized six years after the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), led and convened by the Church and bolstered by strong governmental support, represents a significant milestone in South Sudan’s long-term commitment to fostering peace and reconciliation in Kajo-Keji. 

“Additionally, we are grateful for the active engagement of the Kajo-Keji community, government, and the Church. As we shift our focus to implementing an exit strategy in the second phase of our project, we remain hopeful that the momentum generated by this initiative will be sustained over time by the communities and authorities on the ground”, he added.  

The conference was built upon the achievements of Yam I and II, and the Phase I of the RSRTF programme “Locally Driven Solutions for Social Cohesion and Promoting Early Recovery in the Country’s Former Breadbasket”.

“We are deeply encouraged by the progress achieved during the Kajo-Keji Peace and Reconciliation Conference. We want to thank all the participants for their continued commitment to constructive dialogue, reflection, and collaboration towards sustainable peace and reconciliation,” Pien Offerhaus, programme officer of the RSRTF secretariat, said.   

“Let us continue our united efforts towards a brighter, more peaceful future for Kajo-Keji and beyond. RSRTF extends its appreciation to the Governments of Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the European Union for their continued support to our efforts for a peaceful and stable South Sudan," she added. 

Peace Conference in Kajo-Keji
Religious leaders address the participants during the conference. Photo: IOM2024/Joseph Aloro

It was an opportunity to encompass various aspects vital to achieving lasting peace. The first day featured opening remarks from key stakeholders, including religious leaders, government officials, and consortium representatives, guiding participants to navigate the discussions with efficiency and relevance during the conference. Participants engaged in group deliberations to identify obstacles to peace, address lingering concerns, and propose mechanisms for resolution.

Day two delved deeper into truth-seeking processes, breaking the culture of silence, and envisioning a peaceful future through facilitated reflections and thematic group discussions. These sessions generated actionable insights and recommendations to inform the development of a peace and reconciliation charter for Kajo-Keji. 

On the final day, participants focused on sustainability planning, outlining the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders, including the community, peace structures, government entities, civil society, and development partners. The conference culminated in the adoption of peace a resolution, reaffirming the collective commitment to peace and reconciliation in Kajo-Keji. 

“Amidst this significant milestone, we aspire for this accomplishment to bolster all ongoing stabilization endeavors in Kajo-Keji. It's important to take a moment to respectfully remember the 27 lives lost during the unfortunate conflict with cattle herders on February 1st, 2022 in Kajo-Keji," emphasized Gregoire Goodstein, IOM South Sudan Acting Chief of Mission.

Throughout the conference, thematic groups addressed critical issues such as civil-military relations, the role of religious and traditional leaders, inclusive governance, and the empowerment of women and youth. The peace conference ended with the Kajo-Keji Peace and Reconciliation Resolution.

Peace Conference in Kajo-Keji
Participants engage in group discussion during the conference. Photo: IOM2024/Joseph Aloro

The UNMISS Head of Field Office, Central Equatoria State, Njoki Rahab Kinyanjui intimated that “Kajo-Keji County has witnessed the birth of a new era after suffering setbacks in the aftermath of the 2016 conflict that divided the community and stalled every aspect of cohesion and development. UNMISS as a peace partner is very happy that the just concluded reconciliation has brought healing and has provided the pathway for the revitalization of social cohesion and harmony among the people of Kajo-Keji County. More besides, UNMISS, as the facilitator of the first forum at the Yam Hotel (YAM – One) in Juba, will remain seized of the issues in Kajo Keji and thus support all follow-on processes and or initiatives”.

The RSRTF Consortium extends its gratitude to all participants for their unwavering dedication to the cause of peace and reconciliation. Phase II of the RSRTF programme will aim to continue working with the communities in Kajo-Keji, building on the great achievements and action plan for peace on the basis of reconciliation, stabilization and resilience pillars. 

For more information, please contact: Nabie Loyce in IOM South Sudan, Tel; +211912380115, email;

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