Thursday, 26 September 2013

President of South Sudan inaugurates National DDR Program

On 18 of September 2013, the first batch of demobilized soldiers graduated from the three-month orientation training at the Mapel Transition Facility. H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit—President of the Republic of South Sudan—honored the occasion with his presence and took the opportunity to officially inaugurate the National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Program.

The President was accompanied by the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, the Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, the Minister of Interior and Wildlife Conservation, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Tourism, Animal Resources and Fisheries, and six State Governors, among others. Also in attendance were the German Ambassador to South Sudan, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General, the Representative of the African Union, and the Representative of the European Union along with many other dignitaries.

In their speeches, the members of the high-level delegation reaffirmed DDR as a top priority of the Government of South Sudan. The presence of Ministers of the line ministries with strategic importance for the DDR process, emphasized their commitment to support the program.

The Transition Facility is situated in Mapel, Western Bahr El Ghazal Region, and is run by the National DDR Commission (NDDRC) supported by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Here, discharged former members of the organized forces attended courses on literacy and numeracy, learned and practiced different vocational trades, and received counseling and orientation on how to start life as a civilian.

Equipped with some practical skills in vocational trades and a better understanding of how they can make a living outside of the army, the DDR participants went back to their communities. In the next nine months, the graduates of the Transition Facility will receive further training in financial management, entrepreneurship; get support in establishing cooperatives or individual businesses. Toolkits for each specific trade, to be distributed to the beneficiaries, will boost their endeavors as entrepreneurs. Reintegration specialists will monitor the progress of the former combatants and will provide further orientation and technical support to help sustain the chosen livelihoods. The funds for the reintegration component are provided by the German Federal Foreign Office through a World Bank trust fund.

The Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) through its Advisory and Capacity Development Project has supported the NDDRC in establishing management structures of the transition facility and in training its staff in taking up the management functions of the center. BICC advisors have provided strong support to the verification process of the DDR candidates who were to enter the program. BICC has also played a prominent role in supporting the NDDRC in its design of the reintegration component.

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