UN Day in Malakal sees communities and the UN family come together

UNMISS UN Day Malakal marathon united nations humanitarian partners peace handicrafts

A mini-marathon, a volleyball match and a handicrafts display - these were the highlights of a camaraderie-filled UN Day in Malakal. Photo by Ines Surwumwe/UNMISS.

28 Oct 2021

UN Day in Malakal sees communities and the UN family come together

Ines Surwumwe

Togetherness and partnerships reigned supreme this week in Malakal, Upper Nile, as the United Nations celebrated the Organization’s 76th anniversary.

“For us as the UN Peacekeeping mission, its all about celebrating cooperation today,” said Leda Limann, Head of the UNMISS Field Office here.

“UNMISS works with the government, with all communities and with our fellow colleagues from the Agencies, Funds and Programmes for a single cause: To help build a durable peace for every citizen in South Sudan. Today, we have all come together to not only mark UN Day but also to remind ourselves that peace isn’t achieved in isolation or overnight. It is a process and requires a committed group of stakeholders to work in unison,” she added.”

The joyous celebrations had an action-packed start with a nine-kilometer marathon that saw UN personnel run from the mission’s base to the newly reopened Upper Nile University.

Once participants caught their breath, they settled in to cheer during a friendly volleyball match between UNMISS and a local youth team.

Camaraderie and sportsmanship were evident as losers and winners were equally feted by everyone.

“It was wonderful to see displaced youth and young people from Malakal town form a single team, just as UN personnel from various nationalities played together as one,” said Augustine Lambert from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“This is exactly the sort of unity in diversity needed to usher in peace and development across this young nation,” he continued.

For Ms. Limann, watching young South Sudanese bond on the volleyball court is a glimpse into the possibilities that sustained peace can bring to the world’s newest country.

“Young people are the future and if they are educated, economically empowered and don’t ever have to deal with conflict again, South Sudan will be paradise,” she stated.

The day ended with a rich display of traditional handicrafts created by local women.