17 December 2012

South Sudan: Jonglei - UN Official Pledges Support for Youth Projects

Bor — Judy Cheng, the United Nations Assistant to Secretary General for peace building has pledged support for youth projects in South Sudan's Jonglei state to help reduce conflict-related cases in the country's most populous state.

"The purpose of my visit is to meet the governor, see some of the projects that has been successful in trying to bring peace because the whole idea we went to start programs in the state with the peace building fund," she told a media briefing in Bor, the state capital.

Cheng could not however specify which youth projects were key in fostering peace among communities in the state.

The youth in South Sudan, account for nearly 70% of the population, according to the Sudan's 2008 Housing and Population census. A youth is anyone between the ages of 18-40.

The UN Assistant to the Secretary General said more focus would be on provision of vocational training services to the youth, many of whom are usually engaged in crimes and conflict activities.

"Vocational training is one of the major operations we going to be funding," emphasized Cheng, while citing carpentry, masonry and tailoring as the key areas of focus.

Over the years, disputes over water points and grazing fields during the dry season was considered the main sources of conflict between the tribes in Jonglei.

"We are going to consider boreholes as second source of conflict because we know in this country that lack of water for cattle as well as for human consumption is another Source of the conflict in the state," Cheng remarked.

Last month, the Government of South Sudan and its development partners unveiled a three-year water project, seeking to reduce conflict in Jonglei state.

The project, officials told Sudan Tribune, will assist in harvesting water in the country's most conflict- prone state, ensuring that youth; who currently spend about a half-year moving to other areas with cattle in search of water, stay within their localities.

Meanwhile, Jonglei state Governor, Kuol Manyang, also briefed the senior UN official about the ongoing disarmament exercise in the state, seen as an alternative to the reduction of widespread violence.

"We have 11 counties in the state and 10 counties are now full secure because of the disarmament process and implementation of the peace program," Manyang told the UN official.

The people of Jonglei are for peace, but poverty makes them violate the peace accord, he added.

The Governor, however, encouraged the UN to provide vocational training, which he said helps in promotion of social activities such as footballs among the youth. He also appealed to the UN to extend micro-finance services to women in the state.

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