22 December 2011 - To improve nutritional standards for inmates in Western Equatoria State, UNMISS and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) donated farming equipment, including sickles and hoes, to inmates in the state prison today.
Handing over the tools, UNMISS Correction Advisor Officer Charles Kamwengo stated that the equipment was aimed to improve food production in the prison and put an end to the current reliance on food donations from organizations such as the World Food Programme (WFP).
“We believe these tools will help the prison to engage in agricultural activities which will enhance self-sufficiency,” he said. He added that the prisoners would also acquire farming skills that they could use when they completed their prison terms.
Major Gen. Romedan Bullen, State Director of Prison Service, said they would be better able to feed prisoners in 2012.
“We are planning to feed our inmates and to provide them with enough food by involving ourselves in agricultural activities in the state,” the director said. He thanked FAO and UNMISS for the contributions and urged both organizations to provide training for his staff and the inmates.
Separately, in a bid to enhance communication, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) donated four very-small-aperture terminals (VSAT) to the Western Equatoria State government on 21 December in the capital Yambio.
State Governor Joseph Bangasi Bakasoro said the donation would play a significant role in introducing electronic governance systems and connect local institutions.
“We are very much indebted for the support provided by the UNDP to us and we hope the organization will further train our staff on how to use this equipment effectively,” the governor said.
The four terminals, which were attached to the state governor’s office, the Ministry of Local Government and Law Enforcement (MoLGLE) and the Ministry of Health (MoH), are expected to enhance videoconferencing and internet, among other types of communication in government office.
“These antennas are very important infrastructure which can help us to be connected to each other and can facilitate our internal communications easily,” said local government minister Sadiqi Wilson, adding that the advanced technology would minimize communications costs.
UNDP has been supporting the state government in various fields, including infrastructural support, communications, public sector reform, justice, governance and rule of law.
“We believe these antennas provided today to the state government will ease the communications barriers among different branches of the government, both at the state and national level,” said UNDP State Coordinator Afewerki Gidey.