Korean peacekeepers are helping boost security and economic activity in the conflict-affected town of Bor by installing solar-powered LED lights so that residents have the confidence to move around and carry out their business safely.
The lack of funds for infrastructural development has resulted in a lack of access to electricity across all regions of South Sudan and resulted in the sale of fuel on the black market. In Bor, in the Jonglei region, the town simply could not afford to install streetlights in public areas to beautify the historic town and reduce the risk of crime at night.
To help the community, personnel working with the Republic of Korea Horizonal Engineering Company, which forms part of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, installed 30 solar-powered LED lights along a kilometer of roading to reduce crime and encourage economic activity. The installation of lights provides protection for local police patrolling the Marol Market at night and has been welcomed in the wake of reported burglaries and shootings in the area.
From the humanitarian perspective, the lights give internally displaced people who travelled from Mingkaman in the Eastern Lakes area to Bor town the opportunity to access Bodaboda (motorcycle) riders who wait for them and transport them across the town throughout the night.
"The installation of solar power LED lights in Jonglei state will allow people to be active even during the night, which will boost the economic activities, and induce security," said Jonglei Governor,Philip Aguer Panyang.
The environmentally friendly and highly efficient solar power system comes a great relief to the population who can use the lights permanently without any ongoing fees to operate them.
At the launch of the lights, Dinka traditional dances were performed as women ululated and sang praise -the only gift they could give back to the peacekeepers in return for their commitment to protecting civilians and building durable peace in Jonglei.
To mark the strong relationship between the Korean peacekeepers and the local community, the street with the LED lights has been named "South Sudan and South Korea Friendship Street" and the flags of both countries adorn the poles.
"This will be the opportunity for us to get people to know more about Republic of Korea,” said Not only to mention that it will also help us to secure safety of our soldiers through developing intimate relationship between the locals and our unit." said the chief of the civil-military coordination office of the Korean contingent, Sanghoon Jeong.
The contingent also provides support in other ways, including a major repair project on the Juba-Bor road, rehabilitation of the Bor airport runway and 17-kilometer dyke across the bank of River Nile that acts as barrier against devastating floods.
The Korean peacekeepers have also donated school materials, constructed a rubbish dump site, and trained local people in agricultural skills, masonry and electrical engineering at the Hanbit vocational training centre.