UNMISS refurbishes primary school in Wadadelo, giving education a boost
WESTERN BAHR EL GHAZAL – A newly renovated primary school in Wadadelo, in Jur River county, has given hope to communities residing here as well as returnees.
Some 20 schools had been destroyed in the area due to past conflicts and civil war.
The eight classrooms, two office blocks and two toilets were funded by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) through its Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) programme.
Constructed by local implementing partner—Peace Friends’ Community Organization—this small-budget intervention, which cost USD 50,000, is expected to have a large impact in improving the lives of residents.
“We want children in the community to have full access to education and I encourage students to complete their primary education,” said Honey Basnyat, a Protection, Transition and Reintegration Officer with UNMISS, while handing over the building, urging all parents to send their children to school regularly.
This is an important step to usher in basic services in the payam [administrative division], says Awad Nyang, Deputy Director for Basic and Secondary Education in Western Bahr El Ghazal, but more needs to be done.
“There are more than 500 primary schools across the state and in our capacity as the Ministry of Education, we regularly distribute exercise books, desks and benches so that pupils can learn. However, we need the support of the national government and international friends such as UNMISS to continue boosting education because we have suffered a lot in past civil wars,” he stated eloquently.
For James Aguer, community leader of Wadadelo, with South Sudan still striving to complete its democratic transition, support to communities is key.
“We need good primary healthcare centers—especially maternal health services—for women, men and children in our area. We hope we will receive help from the UN Peacekeeping mission and other peace partners in this regard,” said Mr Aguer.
Another pressing need according to Wadadelo communities: A police station that will uphold the rule of law.
Chief Aguer expressed appreciation for the support of UNMISS and called on the government and partners to consider the renovation of the primary health care center as well as the police station to manage security in the area.
Despite shortfalls, the UNMISS-renovated school will give 400 pupils and their teachers a much-needed space where knowledge and learning can be prioritized.