Volunteers vital for development, Bentiu workers say

5 Nov 2013

Volunteers vital for development, Bentiu workers say

4 November 2013 - Volunteerism was vital in efforts to develop South Sudan, workers with a Unity State organization said today during a meeting organized by UNMISS in the state capital Bentiu.

The volunteers or “social mobilizers” associated with the South Sudan Trust Rehabilitation and Development Organization (SSTDO) were attending a forum led by UNMISS Public Information Officer and UN Volunteer Anna Adhikhari.

“As a volunteer I’m getting access to trainings for the future,” said participant Michael Lony. “I will be able to support my community better and contribute to the development of my country.”

SSTDO is a local non-governmental organization (NGO) operating in the state through volunteers, who spread development messages and assist with community work. The NGO aims to provide the community spiritual, physical, environmental, economic and social assistance as well as help youth grow into reliable citizens.

The organization runs several projects in the areas of health, education, environment, water and sanitation, food and agriculture.

“Social mobilisers help the organization by linking it with communities and spreading awareness about such issues as hygiene,” said SSTDO Executive Director Joseph Ruach Gaey. “Some of our volunteers are going to be trained for the polio campaign in Bentiu and Rubkona, Panijyar and Leer counties.”

Participant Elizabeth Nyaniel said she volunteered to help educate the community on various topics, including prevention of disease and civic participation. “As a volunteer I get skills and knowledge that can be useful in the future for my family and community.”

Ms. Adhikari told participants that the spirit to volunteer “starts at home”.

“We don’t live alone. We live in communities,” she said. “As parents, we encourage our children by giving them the example that working for communal (benefit) is a right thing to do.”

Currently, there are about 400 UN Volunteers from around the world working with UNMISS in its role to support South Sudan in peace building and create an environment that enables development.