On 8 January, in the Central Darfur capital of Zalingei, hundreds of men, women and children took part in a ceremony to inaugurate three quick-impact projects (QIPs) implemented by UNAMID's Rwandese peacekeepers.
The projects, designed to improve the facilities at El Salaam Basic School and El Zahra Secondary School for girls, represent the most recent effort in UNAMID's ongoing work to support local educational systems across Darfur to create an environment conducive for learning.
UANMID Acting Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator a.i. Aichatou Mindaoudou officially launched the QIPs, which included the construction of four classrooms and latrines, the provision of school furniture and stationery at El Salam Basic School, and the construction of a security wall around the El Zahra Secondary School.
During a speech delivered at the ceremony, held at El Zahra School, Ms. Mindaoudou explained that QIPs are small-scale projects designed to benefit local communities. "These schools, and the QIPs which brought them into being, are not the total of what UNAMID does in Darfur, but they do reflect the best of what UNAMID is intended to achieve," said the Acting JSR.
The three QIPs were a result of consultations with communities and local authorities, particularly the Commissioner of Zalingei and the State Ministry of Education. During the discussions, the parties committed to supporting both schools and ensuring that the communities have the resources to maintain the facilities.
"Communities throughout Darfur are coming together, just as you have done, to make decisions about what would best help their communities develop," said Ms. Mindaoudou. "With the wide variety of QIPs proposals, we are seeing it is clear that Darfuris are invested in laying their own foundation for a peaceful and prosperous future."
Since 2007, UNAMID has worked closely with communities and with non-governmental organizations to address the basic issues that have led to the conflict in Darfur and to provide ways to improve the living conditions of the people in the region.
As a result, in Central Darfur alone, 66 QIPs have been implemented in the areas of education, health, water, women's development and rule of law. A full 40 of these projects were set up to support education in the area. Currently, there are an additional 20 similar projects in the State being undertaken by the Mission.