Preparations start for 5th Unity Day events
By Mandela Nelson Denis
Preparations for the 5th National Unity Day is underway.
The annual event is organized by the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
For the last three years, National Unity Day events have attracted thousands of people to witness sports activities involving all the states of South Sudan.
The activities are meant to create unity and promote peace amidst conflict situations between parties and communities due to the five-year old civil war.
The 5th National Unity Day events under the theme “Sports for peace and social cohesion” are expected to take place between January and February next year.
Speaking during a consultation session yesterday, senior representative of JICA to South Sudan Makoto Yamane said JICA believes in the tremendous potential of sports in uniting people regardless of their tribes, political, and cultural differences.
“We are hoping that this event provides the people of South Sudan with the opportunity to appreciate the diversity and be inspired by the sportsmanship and the fair plays by the youth,” Makoto said.
Makoto added that the key feature of the National Unity Day is to bring the youth from across the country to Juba and avail them the chance to know each other, and make friends with people from across the country.
Mr. Edward Settimo, Director-General of Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports who represented the minister urged the state authorities to own the events in order to make it better than last year’s.
“The National Unity Day is ours, JICA is supporting us, I urge the states to own this event and make it bigger and better, and we are currently hosting it in Juba but will soon bring it to the states that have the facilities,” Settimo said.
He said he hopes the events will be taken to the grassroots for all to be represented.
“We want all states to be presented including the Abeyi area and the states should select players from each county so that it is an inclusive event,” Settimo added.
The National Unity Day was started in 2015 with support from JICA. It has since become an annual event attracting hundreds of participants and thousands of spectators.
It involves various sports activities such as football, volleyball, athletics, netball, and other games.