24 August 2010 – The South Sudan Civic Education Organization held a workshop in Juba today to coordinate civic education and fundraising in connection with the referendum scheduled to take place in the country's 10 southern states in January 2011.
Entitled Countdown to Southern Sudan Referendum, the workshop brought together representatives of various civil society organizations and political parties, and its participants pledged to spread awareness of the historic vote among Southern Sudanese voters living inside the country as well as abroad.
"We want this referendum to take place on time," said Lokulenge Lole, chief coordinator of the internal awareness campaign. "We believe that the provision of civic education both internally and externally is of primary concern."
The participants agreed to engage all components of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission from the national level to the state and county levels in order to ensure a transparent and effective referendum on 9 January.
They also called upon those Southern Sudanese who still live in neighbouring countries and have no intention of casting ballots to skip the voter registration process.
For the referendum outcome to be legally binding, a minimum of 60 per cent of all registered Southern Sudanese voters must cast ballots.
"Any turnout of less than 60 per cent (of registered voters) will either lead to a re-run of the referendum or a confirmation of unity, which the Southerners will not accept," said John Andruga Duku, the head of the Southern Sudan liaison office in Kenya and chief coordinator of the external awareness campaign.
The Government of Southern Sudan's Presidential Advisor on Diplomacy Alfred Ladu Gore urged the assembled civic educators to inform eligible voters about the pros and cons of the separation and unity options facing them in the upcoming referendum.