As security slowly improves in Tambura, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is building the skills of members of conflict-affected communities

United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)

Nearly a year after a massive outbreak of violence in the greater Tambura region of western Equatoria that led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people and many others killed or injured, the calm and stability are gradually returning.

However, more needs to be done to ensure that community members begin the healing process and regain their confidence.

Aware that the trauma of past violence is still fresh in people’s minds, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) continues its efforts to foster reconciliation, protect communities and build lasting peace here.

A recent initiative by the UN peacekeeping mission and its local implementing partner, Anika Women’s Organization, brought together some 60 displaced people for a three-month job training.

Forty women and 20 men learned the intricacies of cosmetics making, beekeeping, conflict mitigation and financial management.

The goal: to enable people affected by conflict to become economically independent, increase their resilience and develop them as local ambassadors of peace and progress.

The efforts of the mission are appreciated by the participants, as expressed by Ngbapai Lilian, 28, whose husband was killed last year. This young widow has two children and what she learned during these 90 days will allow her to educate them.

“I am filled with gratitude to Anika Women’s Organization and our international friend, UNMISS,” says Ngbapai. “I now know how to make soaps, lotions and shampoos and I can’t wait to start my own business and raise my children well,” she adds proudly.

Ngbapai is not the only one who sees a brighter and more prosperous future ahead of her thanks to these workshops.

Vincent Arkangelo, a father of four, had fled South Sudan during past civil wars and only returned to his home village in Western Equatoria in August 2021.

Unfortunately, very soon after their return, Vincent and his family were once again caught up in turmoil. But now, this initiative has given him hope as he has become a seasoned beekeeper.

“The experience I have gained in modern beekeeping will help me support my children and I am committed to passing on my knowledge to other members of the community who have not been able to take advantage of this professional training. . Beekeeping is now my source of income and hopefully the honey I collect will sell quickly in the market,” he says with a smile.

Such heartfelt testimonials are what make Amelia Yabang, Executive Director of the Anika Women’s Association, feel that she and her colleagues are doing worthwhile work.

“The women who have been empowered through this livelihoods training will, in the future, become ambassadors of lasting peace and a beacon of hope for their communities,” she says. “We are grateful that UNMISS granted us the privilege of partnering with this special project which has had an extremely positive impact,” she adds.

For his part, Minister of State for Youth and Sports David Simbi highlighted the beneficial impact of such initiatives on the young people of the state, given the widespread unemployment.

“It is my dearest wish that all beneficiaries of this program use what they have learned to quell the culture of war and empower themselves and other members of the community. To help young people start their own business, the state government has decided to introduce cash loans for young entrepreneurs as we believe this will contribute to the progress and development of Western Equatoria,” Minister Simbi said.

UNMISS hopes this project will inject new momentum into the search for lasting peace and foster community stability and resilience.

“These projects aim to support the socio-economic development of Western Equatoria, thereby contributing to overall recovery and prosperity across South Sudan,” said Christopher Murenga, Head of the Mission’s Field Office in Yambio.

However, the effects of the conflict in Tambura are still visible, with many people continuing to seek refuge in the IDP camps. But with a little help from international friends, communities here are slowly moving towards a more peaceful future.

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

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