Fifty returnees graduate with marketable skills in WauAug 24, 2015
On 24 August 2015, 50 returnees, including 27 women, graduated from the vocational training programme at the Don Bosco Training Centre and were provided with vocational toolkits at a ceremony held in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal. The returnees had successfully completed a two and half months training in carpentry, tailoring, electrical works, auto-mechanics, and computer skills. The training was conducted under the “Access to Justice and Rule of Law for Conflict-affected People and Returnees” project, implemented by UNDP South Sudan with the support from the Government of Japan.
The graduation ceremony was attended by Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. KIYA Masahiko; UNDP South Sudan Country Director, Mr. Balázs Horváth; Director of the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission in Western Bahr el Ghazal, Mr. Daniel Angelo Morgan; Minister of Law Enforcement and Local Government of Western Bahr el Ghazal, Honourable Angelo Taban Biajo; Principal of Don Bosco, Reverend Father Sunil; and UNDP project staff.
Addressing the graduates at the Don Bosco Training Centre, Ambassador Kiya said; “After the war, Japan was reduced to ashes and yet is prospering today because of peace and hard work by the people of Japan who believe in self-help. Peace is closely linked to economic prosperity and stability,” and pledged Japan’s continued support to South Sudan. Speaking on the same occasion, the UNDP Country Director, Mr. Balázs Horváth, congratulated the graduates and wished them success to effectively compete in the market. Referring to earlier training courses, he said, “UNDP is grateful to the Government of Japan for the generous support towards training 250 returnees so far in various vocational areas, which will enable them to restart their lives.”
The vocational training and provision of toolkits equip the returnees with productive skills and capacity to improve their livelihoods and to facilitate their economic empowerment. This initiative is expected to contribute to revitalizing local economies and reducing criminality associated with limited access to economic opportunities.
Celebrating the successful completion of the training, the returnees conveyed their gratitude to the Government of Japan, UNDP, and the Don Bosco Training Center for the assistance, and pledged to gainfully utilize the newly-acquired skills and tools. Honourable Angelo Taban Biajo, Minister of Law Enforcement and Local Government of Western Bahr el Ghazal, emphasized the importance of development in peace and knowledge-sharing, adding that, “the people of South Sudan need more support for vocational training and tools rather than in provision of food which can be finished in a few days, but knowledge provided will enable us to feed ourselves”.
This graduation ceremony comes after a handover of vocational toolkits to 200 returnees, including 62 women in January 2015. With support from the Government of Japan, the 200 returnees underwent a four-month training five vocations mentioned above as well as masonry and welding. Director of the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), Mr. Daniel Angelo Morgan, assured the people present that most of the returnees from the first batch of 200 returnees are now employed and make a living using the knowledge and toolkits they received.” He also thanked the Government of Japan and UNDP for supporting the RRC office with furniture and motorcycles which now enable the staff to reach more than 12,000 returnees in three counties of Western Bahr el Ghazal.
Police Community Relations Committee meeting
The UNDP and Japanese delegation attended the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) meeting at the Police Training Centre. The funds from the Government of Japan and UNDP for the Access to Justice and Rule of Law project supported the establishment of 14 PCRCs in Western Bahr el Ghazal. The PCRC meeting was attended by 56 members (47 community members including seven women, and nine police personnel). Captain Louis Uganga, Community Policing Officer of Western Bahr el Ghazal, briefed the delegation on the work of the PCRCs. He reported that the PCRCs serve as a mechanism for the community and the police to address local security issues together.
Some of the success stories of the PCRCs include the apprehension of 72 criminals in the last three months through the joint night patrolling schemes. Five community chiefs in attendance gave testimonials of the successful collaboration between the communities and the police. Ms. Suzana Mario Rezik, Chief of Baggari Jedid community, thanked UNDP for their support for bringing police and community together to fight crimes; “Whistles provided by UNDP to community members, especially women, are very useful in attracting attention in case of harassment.” Ms. Disla Gabriel Sabilo, Deputy Chief of Jebel Khier, said, “Sharing contact numbers of the police helps the community ask for help.” Ms. Disla reported that police were able to apprehend a gang of criminals when a schoolgirl dialed the police phone number provided to the community.
Police Commissioner of Western Bahr el Ghazal, Major General Chol Thuc Chol, also thanked the Government of Japan and UNDP for providing support for community policing and collection of crime statistics, which helps profile the number, types, and areas of crimes; “In Jebel Khier and Nazareth, with the help of the PCRCs, we apprehended criminals and detected and intercepted crimes”, he said. In addition, Maj. Gen. Chol appreciated support for the envisaged Emergency Call Centre in Wau and expressed the police’s readiness for its implementation.
Visit to the Special Protection Unit (SPU) at Mukhta Police Station
The delegation also visited the Special Protection Unit (SPU) at Mukhta Police Station. Captain John Adreano, Inspector-in-charge of Muktha Police Station, welcomed the delegation and thanked the people of Japan for their support for renovating and furnishing of the SPU and for training the police. First Lieutenant Lula Carlo, who works for the SPU, spoke about the relevance of the SPU to vulnerable sections of society, particularly women and children. She emphasized the necessity for separate detention facilities for juvenile delinquents.” She also reported that the SPU attended on 57 complaints and rescued 29 children from January through July 2015.
Speaking after touring the renovated facility, Ambassador Kiya said, “We appreciate your recognition of the support from the people of Japan.” UNDP Country Director expressed his appreciation for the performance of the SPU in helping vulnerable groups, especially women and children, and pledged UNDP’s continued support in this area.
Visit to Wau Central Prison
The delegation later visited Wau Central Prison and was received by its Director, Brigadier Caesar Tombe. Brig. Tombe thanked UNDP for the refurbishment and renovation of the prison and pointed out that overcrowding and associated sanitation issues were major current challenges. Brig. Tombe reported that Wau Prison was constructed in 1940 with a capacity for 200 inmates but currently houses 513 inmates including 30 women.
The delegation proceeded to the juvenile reformatory, where the Officer-in-charge, First Lieutenant Hawa Phidelia, briefed the visitors. The reformatory is meant for Greater Bahr el Ghazal comprising four states – Western Bahr el Ghazal, Northern Bah el Ghazal, Warrap, and Lakes. Lt. Hawa said that while housing only 83 juveniles from Western Bahr el Ghazal, the population has already exceeded the facility’s capacity, and female juveniles have to be kept in adult female cells.
Acting Director of Western Bahr el Ghazal State Prison, Brigadier Michael Bataku, led the delegation to the prison’s workshop and requested support for refurbishment and renovation so that inmates including juveniles can acquire vocational skills while serving their terms. Once renovated, the workshop will potentially help reduce recidivism and point to a way to re-integrate into the society. For instance, training in a cappella chorus kept the male juveniles motivated and provided a healthy outlet. The inmate singers performed several tunes for the delegation.
Tabani Joseph, Communications Analyst, email@example.com Tel. +211955314795