Peace partners brainstorm small-scale projects to benefit communities in Eastern Equatoria
The Relief Reintegration and Protection Unit of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has recently held a series of meetings with youths, local chiefs, civil society, and authorities in Opari and Nimule, Eastern Equatoria to identify the most needed and wanted quick impact projects to benefit the communities.
Some of the ideas that took top priority included the expansion of a primary health care centre, building a four-classroom primary school in Opari, drilling a borehole, and constructing a vocational training centre in Nimule town.
“The political crises of the past took a large toll on our people,” said Opari head chieftain, Tobias Nduru. “Properties were looted and our health centre was reduced to shambles, forcing residents to travel more than 50 kilometres to Nimule town to access medical services,” he continued.
Residents of Opari and Nimule witnessed widespread destruction of public and private property during the 2016 conflict: schools, health centres, tukuls (traditional houses), and town halls were burned down or vandalised.
“We aim to identify small-scale projects that can be implemented within three months, but we need the communities to guide us when it comes to their priorities,” said Mark Omina Luka, who serves with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
Political violence across the country has reduced significantly since the signing of the revitalised peace agreement last September. As a result, thousands of displaced persons have made the decision to return to their homes, including in Opari and Nimule.
To ensure successful reintegration of returnees, UN-funded quick impact projects aim to give residents access to crucial services needed to successfully restart this new chapter in their lives.
“QIPS allow for the delivery of services to the local population that would otherwise have been difficult for the government to provide due to the war-torn economy,” said Emilio Igga Alimas, commissioner of the two towns.
Since 2012, the peacekeeping mission has implemented 17 projects in the Eastern Equatoria region. Past contributions include the construction of water sanitation facilities, courts, medical centres, police posts, and prison facilities.