County Support Base (CSB) Aims to Empower Women and Youth in MabilJun 2, 2016
Mabil is a town that sits on the northeastern border of South Sudan. Historically, this area has been one of the most impacted by conflict before the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
“War is not good but it did provide some new opportunities. Specifically, during wartime here, women got chances they didn’t have before. They have been enlightened here [to the possibilities around them],” said Mrs. Abuor Gordon Lual, Hon. State Minister for Local Government and Law Enforcement in Aweil East State, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new community resource center.
During the bright afternoon, representatives gathered from local government, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Mission in South Sudan, joined by members of the community, to officially open the Community Resources Center of Aweil East County. The vision for the center in Mabil is to provide a place for the community to organize and receive trainings, specifically tailoring to the needs and interests of local women and youth.
Hon. Lual herself is proof of rapid change happening in her home county, as she serves as one of the senior-most government officials in the area and is the first female representative to preside over an official handover of a building.
“We know our rights. We now have women at the court level as chiefs. We never had that before,” she said, also citing the potential for more leadership development and increased influence of women in her community with the establishment of the new resources center.
The unveiling of the center is one aspect of UNDP’s Community Security and Arms Control project, aiming to provide hubs for humanitarian and development actions in South Sudan, particularly in conflict-prone counties. The facilitation and implementation of the community centers are also generously supported by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
“The UNMISS and UNDP in particular continue to support such development projects because we believe that community owned infrastructures are important in bringing people together to discuss their future, creates a common vision and thus promote peace. Such a centre is also instrumental in bringing basic services closer to the community for shared benefits,” said Andrew Shuruma, UNDP Team Leader for Democratic Governance and Stabilization Unit.
The resources center houses a large conference hall, three offices, and various practical equipment for meetings and organizational activities. Local representatives expressed satisfaction and determination to ensure the safety of the new facility, furniture and equipment.
“In our capacity as government officials, we have the role of finding ways to strengthen the community through training and capacity building. It is not enough to stand in front of people and talk,” said Hon. Lual.
“Togetherness is something paramount. If you bring people together [at a community center like this], whoever is ready to support them can find they are all in one place. We envision this being helpful for the youth and the women, and new organizations in our area,” she continued.
Hon. Lual expressed gratitude for the support to her community and acknowledged the accountability of the local government to the success of the center.
“We’ve designed a rental fee for the facility in order to maintain the building,” said Hon. Lual, emphasizing the local government and community’s vision of making the center self-sustaining. Similar schemes are being implemented at other Community Support Bases established by UNDP.
“Now we are focused on successful implementation of the center. Our expectations are high and we anticipate more support from UNDP in the form of trainings to be held here,” the state minister for Local Government and Law Enforcement concluded.
“This centre is one of the 22 that UNDP South Sudan constructed and furnished with funding from Norway and the Netherlands bringing development closer to the community. 20 Community centres have been completed, furnished and equipped ready for utilization in different counties” explained Andrew Shuruma.
Check the pictures of the event in our Flickr.