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University Campus Reconstruction and New Vocational Training Centre Officially Launched to Facilitate Returns and Build Durable Peace in Upper Nile

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Malakal, 7 October 2021—University students, educators, and vocational trainees can prepare to return to Malakal following the launch of reconstructed facilities at Upper Nile University and Malakal Vocational Training Centre, designed to contribute to recovery and build a skilled workforce in Central Upper Nile State.

The reconstructed Upper Nile University and the Malakal Vocational Training Centre were both supported by the Government of Japan and launched by a visiting delegation including the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Hon. Gabriel Changne; the Minister of Labour Hon. James Hoth Mai; the Central Upper Nile State Governor Hon. Abuthok Anyang; Upper Nile University administration, the Ambassador of the Embassy of Turkey H.E. Erdem Mutaf, and UNDP Resident Representative Samuel G. Doe.

“My thanks and appreciation to the Government of Japan and its people for offering us the resources to maintain these buildings, and to UNDP for carrying out the renovations. With this facility we want to relocate Upper Nile University as soon as possible to Malakal,” said Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Hon. Gabriel Changne.

“Manpower is really needed in Upper Nile, we need expertise, we need technical know-how, academia, people who can make things and those who can make things move. The presence of a university in Malakal, means tranquillity and stability. Everyone must feel safe and will know things are okay, so that people can come back to Upper Nile to start their lives normal,” said Central Upper Nile State Governor Hon. Abuthok Anyang.

The reconstruction consists of 29 buildings includes lecture halls, administration buildings, teachers and student accommodation, laboratories, a library, clinic, cafeteria, and more. The initiative paves the path for 2,000 students displaced and studying in a temporary facility in Juba to return to the main Upper Nile University campus in Malakal and learn in a secure environment conducive to learning. Reconstruction works on Upper Nile University launched in June 2019.

“Education is the fundamental basis of nation-building and economic growth,” said H.E. Mr. Naohiro Tsutsumi, Japanese Ambassador to South Sudan. “The completion of this project will be a significant step for ensuring access to higher education. I wish the renovated Upper Nile University will be central to the social and economic prosperity of the Upper Nile region.”

The refurbishment work focused on key facilities of the main campus aimed at enabling students specializing in Economics, Human Development, Public Health, and Education to be able to relocate back to their home campus.

“Even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, this project sustained the people and contributed immensely to the revitalization of the local economy,” said UNDP Resident Representative Samuel G. Doe, highlighting that the project provided employment for at least 460 persons for a total employment of 39,125 workdays since works launched in June 2019.

“The operation of Upper Nile University is expected to spur even further the economic recovery of the state, and Malakal town in particular, given that the influx of thousands of new students and faculty which will bring with it increased demand for goods and services. We also hope that the diversity in the student population who will be learning in this higher-level institution will bring with it tolerance, peace, and solidarity,” Dr. Doe continued.

The Malakal Vocational Training Centre was also renovated and equipped with a carpentry workshop, a metalworks workshop, a mechanical workshop, two lecture rooms, and two restroom facilities as part of the Japan-supported project “Support to Safe, Dignified and Voluntary Returns for Durable Peace,” which was implemented with a generous contribution of US$2.5 million.

“Education is key to success, prosperity and development. An educated population is a healthy population. Education reduces conflict and improves livelihoods. The contribution rendered by the Japanese people has played and will continue to play a major role in sustaining peace and stability among the people of South Sudan, and in particular the people of Central Upper Nile State,” said Minister of Labour Hon. James Hoth Mai.

The VTC facility will develop the skills of youth on at least three trades - carpentry, electrical, and masonry – that are crucial in supporting the economic recovery and development of the state.

“These initiatives showcase the strength of partnerships – government, academia, donor community, and the UN, coming together to create opportunities for youth, private sector, and civil society actors. I would like to urge the State Government to continue to do your utmost to ensure the continued security of Malakal as the re-opening of this university [and the VTC] are important milestones and sends a positive signal for the return of displaced people,” said UNMISS Head of Malakal Field Office Leda Limann.

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For further information, please contact:

Kymberly Bays, Communications Specialist, UNDP, kymberly.bays@undp.org, +211920580239