Indian peacekeepers provide much-needed livelihood support in Kodok
Residents of Kodok county in the Fashoda area of South Sudan had every reason, last week, to be grateful to Indian peacekeepers deployed in the area. For two days, the residents benefitted from a veterinary camp while women were trained in vegetable farming – both conducted by peacekeepers Indian peacekeepers serving under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The veterinary camp and agricultural training, held on 13 and 14 Sep 2018 respectively, were aimed at supporting livelihood activities in the area.
“These community support activities are an endeavour towards making them economically independent, paving the way for sustainable development in these regions,” said Indian peacekeeper and veterinarian, Lt. Col. YS Sengar, as he promised more support.
“We are also looking forward to imparting vocational training and skill development among local people in the field of basic agriculture and veterinary practices, fisheries and poultry,” he added, to smiles of enthusiastic future beneficiaries.
In total, more than 350 animals were examined, dewormed and treated for a variety of current health issues at the veterinary camp, which was highly successful and well received by the community. Livestock owners were also advised on best animal management practices, and prevention and control of various diseases prevalent in the region.
“The livestock are the backbone of the economy of this community,” said UNMISS Head of Field Office, Hazel Dewet, who visited the veterinary camp to see for herself the sterling job being done by peacekeepers. “The Indian battalion is continuously doing a great job in conducting the much-needed veterinary aid camps on regular basis towards improvement of animal health,” she said, acknowledging their contribution.
Nyiker Okoth Awin, Deputy Governor of Fashoda also visited the camp, and appreciated the peacekeepers’ efforts:
“Since the intervention of veterinary team of Indian battalion, there is significant reduction in the number of death of animals,” said the deputy governor, who is also Fashoda’s Agriculture Minister.
There was more, as the women of Kodok were not forgotten by the peacekeepers. In collaboration with UNMISS’ Gender Affairs Unit, the Indian battalion also trained the women in vegetable farming to support their livelihood and boost their self-reliance.
The training focused on a range of skills, including making panchgavya (bio-fertilizer), sowing of seeds, ox-ploughing and composting/vermicomposting, with the trainees actively participating through practical exercises following an audio-visual demonstration.
Following this training, the Indian peacekeepers also donated a fabricated ox-plough to the Agriculture Minister for the women’s use. Vegetable seeds were also distributed to the women to ensure they had the necessary inputs to boost their livelihoods.
“This training will help the women to learn and implement new skills that they can utilize to support their families, earn income and supply the community with fresh vegetables,” said the deputy governor and Agriculture minister.
The women showed great enthusiasm in absorbing the vegetable farming skills, and extended their gratitude to UNMISS and the Indian battalion for organising the training.