UNMISS donates vehicles and other COVID-19 equipment to Aweil taskforce, doing the environment a favour in the process
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan has delivered an ambulance, two other vehicles and two water tanks to assist the work of the Northern Bahr el Ghazal State COVID-19 Taskforce Committee. An incinerator and a waiting bay were also donated to the case management isolation centre of the state.
The Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan in charge of the service cluster, Hussein Abdalbaghi Akol Ayii, who is also the Chairperson of the national taskforce on COVID-19, received the donation and officiated the inauguration of the facilities at the isolation center.
“I appreciate the role being played by the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan in supporting the government in the fight against the virus,” he said as he handed over the keys to the vehicles to the local authorities. “I also thank our frontline health workers as well as our partners in exerting efforts to fight the COVID-19 for their commitment to the cause.”
Ataklti Hailu, head of the UNMISS field office in Aweil, also spoke at the ceremony.
“We are handing over some of our resources, and we appeal to you that they be used in the best, most direct and economical manner possible,” he said.
The UN peacekeeping mission is supporting local efforts to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in other ways as well, including by training youth and community leaders on life-saving and protective measures on hygiene, social distancing and other recommendations related to handling COVID-19. Those who are trained then pass on their newly acquired knowledge to the grassroots level.
“Even if I’m not earning anything from participating in this awareness campaign, it is better for me to serve my community than earning a salary at the end of the month, said Kueth Jal, a 21-year-old female volunteer who just completed her secondary school level and will soon join a university to pursue her higher education. “I volunteered to be trained and to show people how to protect themselves and to talk to them about this Coronavirus,” she added.
Another volunteer, Daniel Chol, said that trainees were selected from different youth groups around the region.
“We were thirty, and now we move from door to door, raising awareness in 28 areas in Aweil town. One volunteer is expected to visit 21 households per day,” says the 27-year-old campaigner.
During the process of reaching out to local citizens, these volunteers are also doing the environment a favour. Together, they collected more than 3,000 of the many empty plastic bottles littered across town. These environmental hazards were then filled with liquid soap and water, and distributed to households in the area.
Amel Sandra, one of the beneficiaries, explains the ingenuity of the low-tech devices.
“Each bottle has a hole at the bottom. A lollipop stick is attached to the hole and then used as a pipe to let the water flow. You just open the top of the bottle, then the water runs down as if you were using a water tap.”