E. Equatoria: UNMISS launches USD 500,000 quick impact projects

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in collaboration with the Eastern Equatoria State government and partners on Thursday launched 10 quick impact projects.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in collaboration with the Eastern Equatoria State government and partners on Thursday launched 10 quick impact projects.

Each project will cost USD 50,000 to construct facilities in 5 counties in the state. In Magwi County, there are 3 activities including the construction of a police post in Loa, a maternity ward in Magwi, and a women’s center in Nimule while in Ikotos County, 3 classrooms and an office will be built in Lobira Primary School and Cahari Secondary School.

In Kapoeta East County, a primary health care unit will be constructed in Nachodokpele and a maternity ward in Riwoto health center in Kapoeta North County. In Torit town, an office block and a wall fence will be constructed at the women’s center a 3 classroom block in Gunyoro Primary School, and a maternity ward in Murahatiha.

From 2012 to 2022, UNMISS’ Torit office has implemented up to 35 quick-impact projects in the state.

Speaking during the launch in Torit, Caroline Waudo, the head of UNMISS’ field office in Torit, said the projects are aimed at building the partnership between the UN and the state government.

“We (UNMISS) complement the efforts of the state government and also build confidence in the community that we serve as UNMISS,” she said. “We show that we are here and have a human face. Although we have soldiers, they can also build confidence in the work that we do in the implementation of our mandate.”

According to Waudo, some areas like Lafon and Dudi have not received UNMISS services due to a lack of implementing partners and accessibility issues.

“These are projects that are community driven because we visited all these communities and they gave us all their needs,” she explained. “They always have a long list but we give them the opportunities to give priorities to those needs then we narrow down and we see what is feasible within our mandate to support the community.”

Meanwhile, Margret Idwa Okuye, the state minister of culture, youth, and sports, raised a concern about the projects being concentrated in the same locations every year.

“I would have loved you to access especially those areas that you have not already given projects like the Far East,” she said. “Think about areas like Nanyangacor, and Lotimor in the next budget.”

For his part, Marko Lokidor Lochapio, the state’s peacebuilding minister said the projects create a sense of peace among communities.

“I see that the project is okay. We need such projects in Torit and Budi counties simply because it is part of governance and part of peace,” he said. “We need people to realize that there is a sense of peace in their areas by delivering certain projects to them.”

Eastern Equatoria State Governor Louis Lobong Lojore welcomed the projects which he said supplement the government’s projects.

“To UNMISS, I know you are guided by your policies but ask the community to identify their needs but also let us be realistic because the community can even tell you that they need a helicopter while they cannot even manage it,” he said. “These people might say they need a school but please consult with the line ministries like education and see if they are ready to provide teachers for the schools. The same goes for health centers and police posts.”

The governor also reiterated that concentrating services in certain areas is causing the state problems.

“You said some areas are very far and there is insecurity. Honestly, with all the assets that you people, you have helicopters and cars moving day and night all the time here and you cannot reach these places?” Lobong charged. “I thought UNMISS can reach far areas, to the most vulnerable people but now you are waiting for accessible areas but who will reach those that are not accessible?”