17 May 2019, Juba - The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) and International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) youth peacebuilding project, “Beyond Bentiu Protection of Civilian Site (PoC) - Creating Conditions for Peaceful Coexistence between Youth, Internally Displaced Persons, Returnees and Host Communities”, marked new milestones of implementation with the handover of the freshly renovated Liech Primary School and Youth Peace Center on Friday in Bentiu.
The “Beyond Bentiu Response” was launched in early 2017 to establish an expanded durable service provision and enhanced quality of life outside of the PoC, including peacebuilding initiatives to address tensions and conflicts between IDPs returning to Bentiu town and host communities.
“For the launch of the new classroom blocks of Liech Primary School and the Bentiu Youth Peace Center to happen on the same day marks a momentous occasion for Northern Liech State. These facilities now serve as the bright symbols of Bentiu town. I urge everyone responsible to put these resources to good use and to take great care of these facilities,” said Acting Governor of Northern Liech State Hon. Laraka Machar, who studied in the same location years ago.
With funding support from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, UNDP and IOM have invested in innovative youth activities for reintegration through capacity building in peacebuilding, social cultural interdependencies, infrastructure development and socio-economic activities. The Liech Primary School and Youth Peace Center are two products of this engagement.
“The milestones reached today are a huge accomplishment and a testament to the hard work and commitment of the teams on the ground here, and the support of partners to the youth of Bentiu,” said Acting Head of UNMISS Field Office Ms. Jane Kony. She particularly highlighted the fact that the school hosts more than 400 girls.
“This school prepares children and youth to become great citizens and leaders of this town and this country in the coming years. As IOM, with support from the Peacebuilding Fund, we are proud to have contributed to improving the school’s infrastructure. We continue to be committed to supporting the Government and the community to rebuild other infrastructure and facilities in the future that will support the health and well-being of, and create more opportunities for, community members,” said IOM Chief of Mission Jean-Philippe Chauzy, highlighting that the primary and secondary school also hosts an Accelerated Learning Programme and that nearly a thousand young people in Bentiu and Rubkona are actively engaged in livelihoods activities courtesy of the project.
“Today in Bentiu, youth are not only witnesses but active players in the development of their community. The resources from this center should be used as a positive force for good – the responsibility now lies with you. Work together to make this center a space where healing and reconciliation takes place. Now connected with computers and more, this is your center, and can be a source of knowledge and information, where income can be generated for the youth, and where the youth of Bentiu can send a message across the country, the region and the world, that Northern Liech State is for peace,” said UNDP Resident Representative Dr. Kamil Kamaluddeen, expressing UNDP’s continued commitment to the youth peace champions to realize their shared goals.
As part of the Beyond Bentiu initiative, UNDP held collaborative and leadership dialogues with youth groups on reconciliation as well as to build the newly launched Youth Peace Center, comprising of office space, an ICT/computer laboratory with equipment, a meeting hall, cafeteria and separate toilets for men and women. Solar electricity powers the center, where an additional four street lights and full fencing were erected for security. Clean water is also provided in the centre.
“The youth in Bentiu and the youth in Rubkona should continue to work together in the management of the new center, for the betterment of our area and unity,” said Youth Union Chairman Mr. Matob Ruai-Wang during the handover ceremony, adding that the youth intend to continue with the sports and cultural activities as pathways to maintaining positive relations.
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Nabie Loyce in IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211921708535, Email: email@example.com
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