Juba - UN Women and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were pleased to host the Japanese Ambassador to South Sudan, Seiji Okada, together with the Deputy Director General of South Sudan’s Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Immigration (DNPI), Major General Charles Boza Eywa, and the Advisor to the President on Gender Affairs, Rachael Nyadak Paul, during a trip to Nimule, Pageri County, on 29 November to visit Government of Japan-funded projects.
The delegation visited the Nimule border post facilities established by IOM. The Uganda–South Sudan border at Nimule town is the busiest land border in South Sudan, the lifeline for supplies into the country and a crucial entry to the route leading to Sudan in the north.
To ensure effective management of this crucial border and with the generous contribution of the Government of Japan, IOM and DNPI have been implementing activities aimed at building the capacity of law enforcement officers and improving infrastructure with technical equipment. Through facilitating trade and transit, IOM activities in Nimule also help to promote the informal cross-border trade that is critical to livelihoods and food security.
During the visit, Ambassador Okada reaffirmed the commitment of Japan to enhance border and migration management in South Sudan. “Japan is smaller than South Sudan. It is an island country,” he said. “For Japan, it is relatively easy to control its borders, but for a country like South Sudan, there are long land-borders that are difficult to protect. We will continue to work with IOM to improve the situation.” The delegation further visited a newly established IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix Flow Monitoring Point (FMP).
The FMP tracks movement flows of groups and individuals through key points of origin, transit locations and points of destination, providing information to relief agencies to better understand population movements and direct humanitarian assistance.
UN Women then led the delegation to the Rock City Market in Nimule for the handover of the reconstructed women’s market funded by the Government of Japan.
Delegates were welcomed by women performing traditional songs and dances. The reconstruction of Rock City Market provides a safe and dignified space for conflict-affected women entrepreneurs to conduct their business and enhance their livelihoods. In addition, the start-up capital given to Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) provides women with regular access to loans and savings facilities for business expansion as a means of economic empowerment. The initiative was implemented by the Support for Peace Education and Development Programme (SPEDP) as part of the Japanfunded Humanitarian Assistance Programme (HAP).
In welcoming guests to the occasion, Hon. Emilio Igga Alimas, the Pageri County Commissioner, appreciated the support given by the Government of Japan through UN Women and SPEDP for the reconstruction of the market after it was destroyed by severe weather conditions in 2016.
In his address to the audience, Ambassador Okada said, “the empowerment of women around the world is one of the priority policies for the Government of Japan. The rehabilitated market will help increase women’s opportunities and economic growth while addressing the unique barriers women entrepreneurs face. I am proud of Japan’s support of this initiative." The Ambassador honoured the opening of the market with a celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony. Hon. Rachel Nyadak Paul, the Presidential Advisor on Gender Affairs, further emphasized the importance of empowering women through income-generating activities and vocational training.
Ms. Funmi Balogun, the UN Women Country Representative, expressed her commitment that UN Women will continue supporting women to build a strong network across the country. She highlighted that the economic empowerment of women is fundamental for growth, sustainable development and durable peace building. She added, “Building women’s resilience is a key step to eradicate hunger and improve the economic wellbeing of vulnerable households.” While giving the overview of the programme, Mr. Lansana Wonneh, the UN Women Deputy Country Representative, thanked the former Ambassador of Japan to South Sudan, H.E. Kiya Masahiko, who approved the request for the reconstruction of the women’s market.
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