Supporting Mingkaman in Transition

Apr 11, 2016

Yak Lual Ma Awut displays her new diary production equipment in Mingkaman. Photo Credit: UNDP

Fueled by the arrival of a significant number of internally displaced population (IDP’s) from Jonglei State as a result of the December 2013 conflict the Mingkaman community in Awerial County is growing and changing in a variety of ways. At one time, there were an estimated 100,000 IDP’s in the camps. Approximately 20,000 new people have arrived and the needs of the communities have moved from primarily emergency-based aid, to an increased focus on recovery and economic development.

UNDP, with generous support from the Government of Japan, provided the IDPs and host communities with agricultural tools, fishing kits protective, emergency equipment and supplies and training. The provision of tools serve as catalysts for improving their standards of living through rebuilding the communities’ productive assets base, livelihood skills development, and protection against natural hazards.

“Before the crisis, you could catch as many fish as you wanted,” said one member of the 172 people who received livelihoods training skills in fishery group in Mingkaman, who relocated to the area due to conflict. “We know we can’t substitute what we have lost, but this equipment helps us help ourselves.”

Each member of the group received five rolls of netting material and five boxes of fishing hooks. New canoes are slated to arrive in two weeks.

“A year from now, we’ll have improved our lives. Our children will be able to eat the fish [we catch] for a healthy source of protein,” he said.

There are plans for extra fish to be sold in Mingkaman for additional income. The World Food Programme has reached out to the fishing group and expressed a desire to buy the fish they catch for distributing amongst IDP’s as part of their rations.

Livelihood and skills training aims to address food security in the area by equipping residents with the skills needed to increase harvesting yields and quality of food.

“I’ve learned what kind of food is good for health, good for growth, and good for protein. I know how to process and preserve food and now I’m just waiting for more supplies to get started,” said Ainuom Mabil Thiong.

“The goods we could produce here, could be consumed [here in Mingkaman]. Things like tomatoes and okra could feed people here. And if there is enough, we could send the produce even farther and sell it in places like Rumbek, for example,” he said.

Dairy production supplies were also distributed as part of the project.

“Before, sometimes the milk we would produce made us sick because it was not prepared properly,” said Yak Lual Ma Awut, another member of the 128 people who received livelihoods skills training in dairy processing.

“With the training I received, I now know how to use the bucket and the strainer, and how to keep the milk in a clean container. Knowing proper milk hygiene means we will no longer have to hope for miracles. We will know the milk we give to our children is clean.”

Yak has received her supplies and looks forward to building on her skills, requesting equipment for boiling the milk, another technique she learned in training.

Local leaders expressed thanks to Japan and organizations like Nile Hope, who are helping implement the project in the local community.

“I’m happy because my people are being supported. My people are being educated,” said Jacob Reech Deng, one of the chiefs of the IDP population. “…they can sustain their own lives.”

“I value all the efforts of UNDP, Nile Hope, and Japan for contributing to the livelihood training of my people,” said Jacob Arkou Magung, chief of the host community in Mingkaman. “Anyone trained can now go train others, and by extension this knowledge will expand opportunities here.”

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