Bangladeshi peacekeepers renovate football fields for third National Unity Day
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan is supporting this year’s annual National Unity Day by renovating four football fields in Juba. Hundreds of youths from across the country will get together for sports and other activities to promote inter-ethnic interaction and a spirit of fair play and peace.
The event, organized by the national Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, will have its opening ceremony at the Juba Football Stadium on 27 January and end on 4 February.
UNMISS is contributing to the youthful festivities by means of its Bangladeshi Engineering Contingent, which has been tasked with the renovation of football fields to be used for a variety of National Unity Day activities. Work has already begun on the pitch in Juba-One, with the fields of Buluk, Zahra and St. Paul’s to follow.
The Officer-in-Charge of some of the engineering work, Lieutenant Masud, says that the tasks of the contingent will include the grading and levelling of the football grounds, as well as digging drains along their perimeters.
Mr. Lemor William Joseph, assistant director for Youth, Training and Innovation, which is part of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, appreciates the efforts of the UN peacekeeping mission.
“Actually it is a very great work that UNMISS is doing for us, because really to renovate these fields would have been very expensive,” said Mr. Joseph, who is also the National Coordinator for Sports for Peace and Unity.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA, is another partner with a vital role: the agency will finance the logistics of bringing the participating youths to the National Unity Day, including accommodation and food for the duration of the event. Private sector companies are also assisting in the preparations for what promises to be a rather large-scale affair, with ministers and other VIPs in attendance.
During the 2017 edition of the National Unity Day, approximately 500 boys and girls from twelve towns from across South Sudan and Abyei participated in football and athletics competitions.
This year youths from all of the states of the country are expected to take part. Some of the competing teams are likely to be formed by youths, from various parts of South Sudan, seeking shelter at the UNMISS protection sites in Juba.