Religion for promoting peace and development in South Sudan
South Sudanese society should be unified, conflicts must be resolved and peaceful coexistence must be developed. Education is a key factor in driving the peace process ahead in South Sudan. By operating an educational institute – the Nile Theological College (NTC) – the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS), Mission 21's partner church, contributes towards this process. The College offers comprehensive theological training: building on Biblical and ethical foundations, participants consider pressing social issues and develop potential solutions.
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• A two-year training course in theology
• Educational opportunities for students' spouses
• Additional activities for students and teachers to foster spiritual growth and social cohesion
How is it possible to provide university-level theological training in a country beset by war? This was the question that those responsible for the NTC had to ask themselves time after time in recent years. The introduction of a new course on social ethics proved to be a groundbreaking development: the course focuses on the severe problems affecting the country at present, and imparts strategies for reaching solutions and taking action. In this way, the church is doing justice to its social responsibilities by preparing leaders who are adequately trained for their work.
After fleeing Malakal in Juba, the NTC has been able to regroup in recent years. Whereas there were only 18 students registered in 2015, in 2019 27 are enrolled in the Bachelor program and 15 in the Diploma track. A special peace training program was offered twice in the course of 2018 and followed-up in 2019. This has been well received and the ensuing publicity has also helped NTC gain in public awareness. The NTC Alumi network was also established in 2019. In this network, graduates, alumni and other organisations can exchange their expertise. Workshops and seminars on the topics of reconciliation, peace and trauma healing are held regularly in cooperation with the churches.