Wau — The government of South Sudan's Warrap state has launched a four-year strategic plan, with education, security and agriculture emerging as its top priorities.
The strategic development plan, officials told Sudan Tribune, came into effect after a series of consultative meetings and conference held with various stakeholders in the state, including traditional leaders to identify areas that require immediate intervention.
The plan, a copy of which Sudan Tribune obtained, bears signatures of the state Governor, Nyandeng Malek and minister of finance, Acuil Akoc.
Akoc, in an interview, said the consultative assessment considered education, security and agriculture top priorities because activities in one sector require support and progress in another.
He, however, insisted that most stakeholders looked at the need to promote quality education in the state as essential, in efforts to achieve effective workforce in the region.
"In the new budget, which covers 2012 and 2013, a lot of resources have been channeled to education. There is financial allocation to support school feeding programme for children because we have found out children are dropping out because food," said Akoc.
"A hungry child cannot concentrate on studies. They cannot do homework. They return home, throw their books and go to look for food, but if fed at school, children fed at school will concentrate on studies and this will increase enrollment rate in next year's admission," he added.
Security, according to the minister, also emerged as a priority after the state considered it an essential element for any meaningful investment and development to take place.
"In addition to education, we have noticed that security can never be ignored. It is the mother of all activities. A development can never take place in an insecure environment," he told Sudan Tribune.
The main aspect on security, he added, will also involve training of law enforcement agents into professionals.
Warrap, has in recent years, faced numerous insecurity challenges, given its weak public institutions such as the Police and the judiciary. Also rampant, are poverty, high unemployment rates and cattle raiding activities.
In its Tonj South County, for instance, a unit of 1,500 police force remains on standby to deter and monitor cross border cattle theft in the area.
However, in some parts of the state, youth are trained, in the absence of Police, to assist communities in containing any outbreak of violence, many of which are related to cattle raids.
Moses Majut, a police officer from Warrap told Sudan Tribune they work in close partnership with their counterparts from neighboring Lakes state to coordinate a series of activities aimed at protecting the various communities.
"I want to do the best for my community. I was chosen to serve my people by my leaders because I do not have a criminal record. I actually did not want to be a police officer. I have always wanted to be a journalist or lawyer but many people advised to accept become a policeman."
Majut, however, urged citizens to be accountable for their actions, citing a case in which four cops were reportedly jailed for excessive use of force in the recent clashes, which occurred in Wau, the Western Bahr el Ghazal capital.