Juba — The Republic of South Sudan (RSS) has benefited greatly from the RSS/IGAD Regional Initiative for Capacity Building Initiative which is now in its second year of implementation.
The Acting Minister for Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development, Mr Kwong Danhier Gatlwak, said Civil Service Support Officers (CSSOs) under the IGAD Initiative had proved very useful to the government ministries, commissions and agencies where they were attached.
Gatlwak said the CSSOs from Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda had played critical roles in improving the delivery of public services in strategic planning and healthcare among other areas.
Gatlwak said there had initially been misinformation that CSSOs had come to take up jobs meant for locals, adding that the officers from the three IGAD countries were in South Sudan to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills to their counterparts after which they would return to their countries.
"The initiative is being felt all over the civil service in South Sudan. The CSSOs are doing their best to serve our country by mentoring and coaching our civil servants," he said, and cited the government hospital at Malakal in Upper Nile State where he said CSSOs had helped to improve services significantly.
The Minister urged South Sudanese civil servants to ensure they learn from their IGAD counterparts.
RSS/IGAD Project Executive Board members after the meeting held at a Juba hotel. In the picture front row (l-r) are Ms Catherine Waliaula, Amanda Serumaga, Ugandan Ambassador Busho Ndiyenka (third left), Kenya's Public Service Assistant Minister Aden Sugow (fourth right), Ethiopian Ambassador Tesfamichael Tesfatsion (third right) and IGAD Country Director Mohammed Rahman (far right).
Gatlwak was speaking during an RSS/IGAD Project Executive Board meeting at a Juba hotel. Among those who attended the meeting were Kenyan Assistant Minister for Public Service Aden Sugow, Ethiopian Ambassador to South Sudan, Fre Tesfamichael Tesfatsion, his Ugandan counterpart, Amb Busho Ndiyenka and IGAD Country Director Mohammed Abdel Rahman.
Addressing the meeting, IGAD Project Manager Catherine Waliaula urged government institutions hosting the CSSOs to reduce the high staff turnover of local civil servants saying frequent transfers were adversely affecting knowledge transfer.
Waliaula further called for improved coordination between the Ministry of Labour and Public Service which is steering the initiative and receiving institutions to facilitate the effective twinning of CSSOs and their South Sudanese counterparts.
Waliaula said host institutions should also endeavour to provide adequate tools and equipment saying there were instances whereby CSSOs had been unable to contribute effectively due to shortage of working facilities.
"There is also need for coordination within the government of RSS at both horizontal and vertical levels to ensure that all relevant institutions and personnel know the objectives and limits for the IGAD Project for example that IGAD does not provide hardware such as buildings and office equipment," she said.
The RSS/IGAD Initiative is funded by Norway through UNDP and has drawn 200 CSSOs from Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda who are twinned with their South Sudanese counterparts whom they mentor and coach.
Also present at the meeting were UNDP Team Leader Amanda Serumaga, Ms Juliana Baffoe of the Norwegian Embassy and Labour and Public Service Undersecretary, Ms Angeth Acol De Dut.