14 June 2018, Juba — Civil Service Support Officers (CSSOs) from Uganda and Ethiopia, and their South Sudanese counterparts, have completed a three-day induction workshop in Juba this week, to prepare the teams on working together. The CSSOs will serve in South Sudan for a two-year period to help enhance the capacity of targeted government institutions responsible for public service delivery across different sectors.
The new arrivals are the latest regional experts to participant in UNDP’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Regional Capacity Enhancement Initiative, a programme funded by Norway, and featuring innovative South-South cooperation between the governments of Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and the Republic of South Sudan.
The IGAD Initiative is a long-term capacity development process that provides an “on-the-job” training by “twinning” local civil servants with technical expertise from the CSSOs, where skills are transferred and knowledge developed.
The seven newly deployed CSSOs are mainly medical personnel consisting of two surgeons, three pediatricians, and one gynecologist/obstetrician. One CSSO (Ugandan) is a public finance management specialist. The seven will deploy to Wau and Juba (two in each), and one each in Rumbek, Torit, and Yambio. Most of the CSSOs are deployed in the health sector because of the acute capacity gap in the sector.
This week’s workshop was facilitated by the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development and UNDP, and focused on briefing the CSSOs and their “twins” on their roles and functions in capacity enhancement process. CSSOs and their counterparts were familiarized with the structures of government, the country’s contexts including its cultures, traditions, political situation, and public service.
The representative of the Embassy of Uganda in Juba, Mr. Sakira Moses (Police Attaché), expressed his country’s readiness to support the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and to serve the people of South Sudan through the transfer of skills and development of knowledge.
Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of Ethiopia Mr. Asfaw Yemane described the initiative as a positive step towards developing not only South Sudan, but also the entire region. He said his government will continue to contribute towards the enhancement of the capacity of civil servants in South Sudan.
Speaking on behalf of UNDP, Senior Programme Advisor Mr. Lealem Berhanu described the programme as a unique and an innovative approach to coaching and mentoring civil servants, who in turn help South Sudan restore and preserve front line service delivery.
Dr. Gelan Gebremichael, an Ethiopian CSSO surgeon deploying to the Juba Teaching Hospital in Juba, said the people of South Sudan will benefit immensely from the IGAD Initiative through the improved work-related performance of twins and service delivery.
One of the twins to De. Gebremichael, Dr. Yaj Garang, who is also a post-graduate medical student, said twinning is effective and helped him move from performing basic and minor surgeries to some more advanced operations under the supervision and mentorship of his Ethiopian mentor, Dr Gebremichael.
The IGAD Initiative was established in 2011 to support capacity development in targeted government institutions through the secondment of qualified and experienced civil servants from IGAD member states, as well as to strengthen South-South linkages between public sector agencies and think-tanks in IGAD member states, and to strengthen government capacity to recruit and sustain required technical assistance.
In Yambio, the IGAD Initiative currently supports a CSSO medical professional, who is the sole gynecologist serving the area. From 2013-2016, the IGAD Initiative seconded Dr. Buwembo Kakande, a general surgeon from Uganda, to serve in the Wau Teaching Hospital, also the only specialized surgeon to serve in that region at the time. Throughout his time in Wau, Dr. Kakande mentored and trained two South Sudanese physicians in surgical procedures like amputations, appendectomies, and prostatectomies.
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