Wowo, 17 September 2018 –The Embassy of Sweden and UNDP, joined by the Chair of the South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission Hon. Chuol Rambang and the Governor of Amadi State Hon. Joseph Ngere Pachiko, launched a new community peace complex in Wowo on Monday.
Completing the high-level delegation was UN Women Country Director Olufunmilayo Balogun, and the commissioners of Mvolo and Bahr El Grindi counties, Hon. Emanuel Manase Deng and Hon. Majok Brown, respectively. Implementing partners from Women Aid Vision and Solidarity Missions Africa for Reconciliation & Development (SMARD), as well as representatives from local peace committees, women’s and youth groups, and other community leaders, were on hand to witness the inauguration.
“This will be an institution that will turn conflict into development, hate into love and division and disunity into unity, cohesion and harmonious coexistence. We as governors of the five states will make sure that this investment by the Swedish Government and implemented by UNDP will not be a waste,” said Hon. Governor Pachiko.
The new construction is funded by the Embassy of Sweden through UNDP’s Peace and Community Cohesion (PaCC) project. The PaCC project, and its predecessor project, has provided technical and material support to local peace structures, including inclusive peace committees in the Wau-Rumbek-Mvolo-Mundri cluster area since 2015.
The location of the new peace market complex is strategically positioned in a border area uniting five states of Amadi, Gok, Eastern Lakes, Western Lakes and Terekeka. The cluster area was selected by the members of the local peace committees and the communities as a peace dividend in response to positive steps towards peace in the area, which had experienced continuous conflict between cattle keepers and crop farmers.
The peace market complex is designed to strengthen peaceful coexistence, interaction and exchange between the local communities by promoting inter-dependencies among them. Local peace committee members from the neighbouring three states identified trade as an interdependency they could build on and agreed to establish the facility in Wowo.
“Instead of focusing on what the differences are, you have highlighted what you have in common and what brings you together. Now it is up to you to make the best use of this facility. I urge and encourage you to use this facility to engage with your neighbouring communities, to build an economic foundation and to develop lasting and productive livelihoods to benefit the communities at large,” said UNDP Country Director Kamil Kamaluddeen, during remarks at the inauguration ceremony in Wowo.
The peace market complex is composed of 50 market stalls, a meeting hall for women and another one for the youth, a vegetable washing area, six pit latrines, a kraal for cattle auction, a solar system and water supply.
In order to enable community members to start their business in the peace market, WAV and UNDP supported a total of 50 individuals (50% women) from Aduel, Wulu, Mapourdit, Aluakluak, Yirol East and Mvolo through the provision of start-up kits and training in entrepreneurship and business management.
“Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy is based on three R’s: rights, representation, and resources. We want to support a South Sudan where everyone’s human rights are respected and protected. We want to support a South Sudan where everyone is represented on all levels in society - particularly in decision making bodies, especially those populations who are often marginalized, like women and youth. And we want to support access to resources for these people, so they can raise the quality of their lives. This market we hope will be a place where women and youth can be empowered, economically and socially, to pursue their goals and to provide for their families, and that it will contribute to peace in the area,” said Hanna Carlsson, First Secretary, Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance, the Embassy of Sweden in South Sudan, during the opening ceremony.
The peace market complex buttresses various women’s empowerment initiatives ongoing in the area, supported by UNDP in collaboration with WAV and SMARD. WAV has supported a total of 60 women in Mvolo and Aduel through training in business management and financial management. These women organized into groups to establish small scale revolving loan funds to support the establishment of small tea shops, restaurants, and market stalls. A women’s group in Mvolo also set up a posho mill business to commercially process corn flour, through UNDP’s support. An additional 50 women were trained and supported through a revolving loan fund in Yirol West and Awerial counties by SMARD.
UN Women and UNDP are exploring additional ways to collaborate and strengthen support to local area women and youth groups by maximizing synergies, in line with the New Way of Working and through successes from the joint programming to build resilience in Yambio.