Boost for Rumbek artists as UNMISS hands over renovated cultural centre

unmiss south sudan lakes rumbek quick impact project cultural centre peace process

Everyone in Rumbek was there for the handing over of an UNMISS-funded Quick Impact Project. Photo: James Mawien Manyuol/UNMISS

10 Aug 2023

Boost for Rumbek artists as UNMISS hands over renovated cultural centre

James Mawien Manyuol/Filip Andersson

LAKES – One of numerous benefits of a peaceful environment is that it allows for time and effort to be dedicated to cultural endeavours. Thanks to funding from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, creatively inclined souls in Rumbek now have a proper venue to showcase their work to the public, namely the Akon Buoi Cultural Centre.

“Peace enables cultural expressions and these, in turn, can and should be used to strengthen togetherness,” commented Kwame Dwamena Aboagye, Head of the peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in Rumbek, while also commending the refurbishing work done by the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), implementing partner for this UNMISS-funded Quick Impact Project.

And a proper renovation it is. To the tune of 50,000 USD, a new roof and windows have been put in place, doors have been replaced, solar panels installed, a razor wire fence erected, and the building has been painted. In fact, there was even enough money to provide the venue with 140 plastic chairs and four tables.

These pieces of indispensable furniture, said the state’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs in no uncertain terms, are to remain at the cultural centre and be well taken care of.

“I don’t want to hear about chairs being taken home by individuals, nor about people occupying the place for sleeping. When not in use, the hall shall be locked,” stated Stephen Mathiang Deng.

More money is needed to further improve and embellish the cultural centre, not least by installing a toilet and planting trees. To raise these funds, local authorities plan to charge a small but important entrance fee for some of the concerts and other activities to be hosted in the new monument to artistic expression.

The Akon Buoi Cultural Centre is neither the first, nor the last Quick Impact Project in Lakes to be financed by the UN peacekeeping mission. Among previous efforts to build or renovate important infrastructure in the state are the Deng Nhial police station, the premises of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission and the main hall of the High Court.

“Taking on such initiatives is part of what UNMISS does to assist in promoting harmony and supporting the implementation of the ongoing peace process in the country,” concluded Mr. Dwamena Aboagye, while also urging stakeholders to make the most and best possible use of the new facility.