As 91 CSSOs leave South Sudan, Norway and UNDP sign new capacity enhancement agreement

Nov 1, 2013

H.E. Hanne-Marie Kaarstad, Ambassador of Norway (L), Hon. John Itorong, Advisor to the Minister for Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development (R), and Mr. Balázs Horváth, UNDP Country Director (Centre)

Juba:  - A two-day Exit Workshop brought together the second group of 38 CSSOs from Uganda and 52 from Ethiopia and their South Sudanese counterparts, known as twins, after successfully completing their two- year tour of duty across the 10 states. The first group of CSSOs from Kenya completed their assignment in May 2013 and returned home.

In a welcome speech, the Honorable Angeth Acol De Dut, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Labor, Public Service and Human Resource Development, praised the role of CSSOs in mentoring and coaching their South Sudanese counterparts. “Through your dedication and sacrifice, this project has generated a lot of interest regionally and internationally. As a result, I was invited to New York to share experiences of this innovative initiative. As a government, we recognize your contribution and give credit to all of you”.

Honorable Angeth requested the participants to stand up and observe a minute of silence in memory of the late Bekele Bitew Tefferi, an Architect from Ethiopia, who passed on in October 2012 after serving in South Sudan for one year.

Amanda Serumaga, UNDP Deputy Country Director for programmes, reiterated in her opening remarks that “as we celebrate your accomplishments, we also remember the life of the late Bekele Bitew Tefferi who passed on after serving in South Sudan for one year. He was committed to this programme and made a mark among those he worked with in the   Ministry of Housing and Physical Planning, and other colleagues”.

Commending the CSSSOs, Amanda remarked “Your work has been truly lifesaving in many instances. You have also provided technical support and training that has led to improved policy formulation in different ministries. Your contribution has been reflected in the improvement of management and policy-making; and service delivery.” “We have received many positive comments about your work in South Sudan. Through your supervisors and twins your support and impact have been revealed in all the ten states”.  

The workshop, unlike the previous one, drew participation of the South Sudanese twins.  “We recognize the presence of the twins who have joined us – those working in Juba. We appreciate your eagerness to learn from your neighbours, and for upholding the vision of a better South Sudan. Working along with you, the CSSOs have gained invaluable experience that they would not have got at home”.

Addressing the closing session on behalf of his fellow countrymen and women, Gidai Nega Haile Mariam, Chairman of the Ethiopian Chapter thanked the government and people of Norway and the member countries of IGAD for the opportunity to contribute in the enhancement of service delivery in South Sudan.  “I am proud to say that we are leaving a South Sudan that is not similar to the one two years ago”.

Meanwhile, Primo Nyakotre, the Chairman of the Uganda Chapter remarked “The spirit of IGAD and regionalism has been expanded through this program”. He further underscored “This country has changed a lot in the policy direction, therefore, whatever challenges we went through were positive”.

Mr. John Kiplimo, a Counsellor representing the Republic of Kenya, commended all participating countries in the initiative and commended the Government of Norway for funding the programme.

Balázs Horváth, UNDP Country Director, underlined the partnership among South Sudan, IGAD member Countries, Norway and UNDP, stressing “this innovative initiative of capacity building through mentoring and coaching has positively impacted the lives of countless people you may never meet. This Project has become a subject of research and discussion because it is an innovative approach in post-conflict capacity development through South-South Cooperation”. 

“We must recognise the role in this success played by twins – also represented here today. We greatly appreciate the efforts of those twins who remained steadfast and committed—they will certainly help propel South Sudan to greater heights. We remain hopeful that, in phase II, we will have committed twins for all incoming CSSOs to attain even better results”.  

His Excellency Fre Tesfamichael Tesfatsion, Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, applauded the efforts exerted by the Ethiopian civil servants for extending their expertise in South Sudan. He also thanked the people and Government of Norway for the supporting the programme.

His Excellency Major Gen. Robert Rusoke, Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda to South Sudan said that Uganda and Ethiopia selected their best in quality to develop and mentor their counter parts in South Sudan.

Her Excellency Kaarstad Hanne-Marie, Ambassador of Norway reaffirmed “This project remains significant both for strengthening the capacity of South Sudan to deliver services and tangible peace dividends to its people as well as strengthening the relations between South Sudan and its regional neighbors”. 

“The feedback we received from the government and UNDP, and more recently from team of independent researchers have shown that this innovative approach to capacity building and regional cooperation and South-South cooperation is indeed effective and fruitful”.

The occasion’s special guest, former Deputy Minister of Public Service and Human Resources Development, and Chairman of the RSS/IGAD Project Board, Honorable Danhier Danhier Gatluak (who is now the Minister for Transport, Road and Bridges) appreciated the role played by the CSSOs.  He applauded their resilience and sacrifices in the course of the two years they have spent in South Sudan away from their families. “Some of you have gone to the remotest parts of South Sudan and slept under mosquito nets for the first time in your lives.”

“You are a determined people – you meant what you came to do. The people of Ethiopia and Uganda have sent the right people to us to come and fight diseases and ignorance and the issues of development which are very challenging”.

Hon. John Itorong, Advisor to the Minister for Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development, and RSS/IGAD Project Coordinator described the project as a “resounding success that should be replicated elsewhere”. He stated that the government and people of South Sudan treasure the achievements the CSSOs scored. “What you have done is a thing we will ever remember.

Also in attendance were Honorable Hellen Achiro, Undersecretary for Labor and Industrial Relations, in the Ministry of Labor, Public Service and Human Resource Development; and Ms. Sunday Aggrey, Acting Director General, Ministry of Labor, Public Service and Human Resource Development

For further information, please contact:

Murtaza Shibli, Head of Communications, a.i, UNDP South Sudan;; Cell: (+211) 956 213 014

Tabani Joseph, Communications Analyst, UNDP South Sudan;; Cell: (+211) 955 314 795

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