Monday, June 17, 2024

United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and Partners Launch Second Phase of Community-Led Project to Reduce Violence and Promote Reintegration


The process of forming the unified national army in South Sudan, as stipulated in the revitalized peace agreement, is slow. The same goes for the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration into their communities of individuals who will not be part of this single armed force, leaving these former combatants in a limbo.

In an effort to address related issues, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the United Nations Development Programme, and the National Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Commission (NDDR), have partnered with the government of France to launch the second phase of a pilot Community Violence Reduction project in Western Bahr El Ghazal State.

“It aims to mitigate any form of violence that could be provoked by former combatants or armed youths in their host communities,” explained Kuot Kuot Deng, a community violence reduction expert with the NDDR.

The first phase of the project, consisting of providing trauma healing and psychosocial support to these ex-soldiers, was implemented last year by the civil society organization Solidarity Ministries Africa for Reconciliation and Development.

“The workshops I attended helped improve my relationship with my community. I am currently sharing my own experience as an ex-combatant with young people, to tell them about the dangers of carrying weapons,” said project beneficiary Anthony Mungu.

The initiative has indeed changed the lives of more than 100 young men and women from different communities in the counties of Wau and Jur River, with many having enrolled in vocational trainings like welding, electrical work, car repairs, tailoring, and pastry-making.

One of them is Elino Uding Bolo.

“I am very grateful to everyone involved in providing us with opportunities to acquire skills that will enable us to earn a living,” he said, beaming with joy.

Akuet Nydemo from River County is equally grateful, and also picking up new livelihood know-how.

“Life can be very difficult for us women whose husbands have left the army and come back to a household in a community with few possibilities to earn an income. Idleness and frustration are major causes of domestic violence.”

UNMISS representative Xavier Blais is convinced that the community violence reduction programme is having its intended impact.

“Joining community-based initiatives, along with women and youths, helps the ex-warriors’ transition into civilian life because they can see quick results and opportunities to create a robust future for themselves,” he affirmed.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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