23 November 2011 – Drawing together government officials as well as concerned members of the public, consultations aimed at promoting security and peace in communities began today in three Unity State counties.
Organized by the South Sudanese government and sponsored by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the “Community Security and Small Arms Control” consultations are being held in Guit, Rubkona and Koch following a five-day county facilitators training.
Each county session will last three days to support the counties’ recovery and stabilization process through peace-building activities.
Opening his county consultations, Rubkona County Commissioner Simon Jalduong Matuek said they were an opportunity for communities to enhance security and fight poverty. “This is a chance we all must take at once. Use these days to fully identify conflict and insecurity issues and find solutions for a way forward.”
Participants include representatives of women and youth groups, government, elders and traditional leaders as well as law enforcement. According to international trainer Peter Kilonzo, attendees would develop security mechanisms and come up with community development projects.
“This gathering will engage communities to discuss issues of community insecurity and analyze the situation for possible solutions,” Mr. Kilonzo said.
Previous community projects in other states have included borehole construction, communal farming and vocational programmes for youth, but participants would determine the most feasible activities for their communities.
The Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms (BCSSAC), in collaboration with the Peace Commission, are serving as key facilitators for the training. Following the Rubkona, Koch and Guit discussions, consultations will move to the six remaining counties, with UNMISS providing transportation.
Earlier this year, the UNDP, Peace Commission and the BCSSAC coordinated to hold similar consultations in Jonglei, Eastern Equatoria, Upper Nile and Warrap states to promote peace initiatives and community security projects. The collaboration recently led to the conclusion of a validation workshop in Lakes State, which harmonized conflict and insecurity issues identified in all nine counties.
The validation workshop paved the way for implementation of community security projects at the county level.