Indian peacekeepers in S Sudan help impart vocational skills to youth

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 10: Indian peacekeepers in the South Sudanese city of Malakal are helping over 100 people learn a range of vocational skills that is promoting entrepreneurship in the community, the UN mission in the country has said.
The training programme is funded by UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and implemented by the National Relief and Development Corps (NRDC), with help from subject matter specialists belonging to the UNMISS Indian battalion.
“The UNMISS Indian Battalion in Malakal and the National Relief and Development Corps educated youth with a number of  vocational skills, promoting entrepreneurship and peaceful coexistence,” UNMISS tweeted.
An article on the UNMISS website said youth from Malakal town and their peers staying at the protection site for displaced persons are in the process of acquiring a range of vocational skills with help from the peacekeeping mission’s Relief, Reintegration and Protection section.
More than a 100 young people have been learning the necessary know-how in vocational fields such as hairdressing, tailoring, brick laying, carpentry and solar and electrical connections, it said.
The article quoted 22-year-old Flora Akol who has been learning about solar and electrical connections for the last three months.
“I hope to be able to become an electrician either in the protection site or in town – wherever the business is good for me,” she said.
Akol’s classmates are also learning how to make solar connections, guided by peacekeepers from the Indian battalion based there.
NRDC Programme Coordinator Edith Atieno Obongo said initially it was difficult to get the youth interested in the programme as many of those in the protection site were reluctant to sign up for a training in town.
“It took a lot of convincing, but in the end, it paid off. This has been a very successful project and we are glad to have run this training on behalf of UNMISS,” she said.
At the completion of their respective programmes, trainees will be given starter kits to set up activities geared towards promoting entrepreneurship in their communities.
“Besides the obvious benefits, there are other intangible things they are learning here, such as social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. This is important for their return and reintegration into community,” says Cosmas Ba-Ana Itenebe, an UNMISS Relief, Reintegration and Protection Officer involved in the project.
The UN peacekeeping mission is now hoping to replicate the promising Malakal experience in other parts of the Upper Nile region. (PTI)