UNMISS marks World Children’s Day with Essay Writing Competition
I have a message for my parents, teachers and all those involved in education programmes in South Sudan. As a girl, I am very much concerned about girls’ education in this country. This was the bold opening of an essay by 15-year-old Mary Laku from Juba Nabari Primary School. Mary was reading her paper on the plight of education for girls to a room full of students from schools across Juba, the capital of South Sudan. Hundreds of students gathered in the assembly hall at St. Daniel Comboni Secondary School to mark World Children’s Day celebrated annually on 20 November. “Like other girls, I run the risk of being married off too young and then having to stop my education. Please let us stop early and forced marriage and instead focus on education. We are still children and are not ready for marriage. Please let children be children,” said Mary. Mary who wants to be a doctor said that she wanted her message to focus on education because “education is the key to a brighter future”.
Korean peacekeepers boost security and economic growth with lighting project in Jonglei
Korean peacekeepers are helping boost security and economic activity in the conflict-affected town of Bor by installing solar-powered LED lights so that residents have the confidence to move around and carry out their business safely. The lack of funds for infrastructural development has resulted in a lack of access to electricity across all regions of South Sudan and resulted in the sale of fuel on the black market. In Bor, in the Jonglei region, the town simply could not afford to install streetlights in public areas to beautify the historic town and reduce the risk of crime at night. To help the community, personnel working with the Republic of Korea Horizonal Engineering Company, which forms part of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, installed 30 solar-powered LED lights along a kilometer of roading to reduce crime and encourage economic activity. The installation of lights provides protection for local police patrolling the Marol Market at night and has been welcomed in the wake of reported burglaries and shootings in the area.
UNMISS and S. Sudanese MPs work together in partnership for peace
Members of Parliament within the Jubek Transitional Legislative Assembly have committed to working in partnership with the UN Mission in South Sudan to build durable peace. A two-day forum was organised by UNMISS for the 21 members of the Legislative Assembly to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), an agreement between UNMISS and the Government signed in 2011. The forum also covered the Mission’s mandate to protect civilians and build durable peace as well as issues of gender in a conflict zone, human rights, protection of civilians, conflict mitigation and management, and political process. The legislators said the opportunity of coming together with UNMISS on a path to peace was a collective responsibility. “We cannot achieve this unless we sensitize the people about the process for peace along with the UNMISS mandate,” said Hon Elizabeth Enoka, chairperson of Commission for Agriculture. “We know the core responsibility of this country, the protection of civilians, is with the government but through your support, we will be able to achieve tangible peace in South Sudan.”
Young Yei River residents committed to being advocates for peace
Young people participating in a training workshop to help them develop new skills in peace advocacy in the Yei River region of South Sudan say they are committed to playing a positive role in reconciling warring parties. The Civil Affairs Division of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) ran a two-day training workshop for approximately 70 young people from youth groups across the region to teach them about peace messaging and advocacy skills. Amuja Moses was one of the many participants who felt that the workshop would have positive impact on his day-to-day activities, saying it would help him control his own emotions as well as advocate for a peaceful approach to problem solving. “It has changed the emotions which I use to have before,” said Amuja Moses. “I will now be able to tolerate harassments and so forth so that I can be the peace implementer.”
Students in Torit empowered by UNMISS presentations
When it comes to building the future of South Sudan, helping young people grow, learn and develop is vital as they are the future leaders of this conflict-afflicted country. That is why the United Nations Mission in South Sudan is engaging closely with schools in Torit, in eastern Equatoria, to provide interactive presentations about the work that the Mission is doing to protect civilians and build durable peace. Hundreds of students came together to hear presentations about the UNMISS mandate, the importance of human rights, gender issues, child protection as well as the contribution being made by individual Troop Contributing Countries to the UN in South Sudan. The students were particularly interested in learning about particular countries, such as Rwanda and Sweden, directly from military and police officers from those countries. The students actively participated in the presentations, raising many questions about UNMISS’ activities as well as the backgrounds of the thousands of national and international staff working for the Mission. Following the presentations, students said they felt empowered and enriched, having gained knowledge on a range of key issues and a deeper understanding of global perspectives by learning about how other countries operate.
Murle leaders sign peace declaration following peace and reconciliation conference
Murle leaders have welcomed a call for reconciliation and signed a declaration resolving to work towards peace and development beyond ethnic and political divisions. The peace declaration was signed at the conclusion of an historic peace and reconciliation conference supported by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in the Jonglei region. The leaders vowed to improve the dire situation in the southeast region, resolving to address corruption and nepotism, the marginalization of minorities, cattle raiding and to improve relations with neighbouring communities. It was agreed that dialogue between different tribes should take place on a grassroots level to prevent future conflicts. UNMISS Head of Field Office in the Greater Jonglei region, Deborah Schein, urged the leaders to pursue a path of peace within their communities and with neighbouring states so that development can return to the region. “We are very pleased with what we saw and what we heard,” said Deborah Schein. “As we have said before, peace is not an event, it is a process and we are looking forward to this going forward. We will continue to stand by the Murle community as they seek lasting peace among their people and their neighbours.”