Community Services and Access to Markets in Blue Nile State

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UNDP Country Director Ms. Yvonne Helle Japanese Ambassador H. E. Mr. Ryoichi Horie and acting Wali of Blue Nile state Musa Omer delivering vocational training kits, Blue Nile State. © Mutwakil Omran, UNDP Sudan

More than 5,300 community members in Damazine and Roseries localities in the Blue Nile state are benefitting from an entire package of basic social services and livelihoods opportunities provided in partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Embassy of Japan.

The aim is to address the causes of conflict through provision of livelihoods and employment opportunities and enhancing communities’ stability by helping them to feel secure enough to invest in the places where they live.

In this context, a recent visit to Damazine locality, Blue Nile State was conducted by the Japanese Ambassador, Country Resident Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), UNDP Country Director and Sudan’s Commissioner of the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) programme along with the state officials in order to witness first-hand the impact of these projects on the lives of the communities.

The Minister of Social Affairs and Acting Wali of the State, Musa Omer said “We would like to thank Japan and UNDP for their continual efforts to assist in the peace building process and development, which is making significant progress in the state. From our part as local authorities, we will support all initiatives to ensure that community’s stability and peace are achieved.”

Overall, the programme is utilizing an integrated approach, which is now sharpening its focus on revitalizing rural economies through various livelihoods, infrastructure, women’s empowerment, and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and youth with conflict carrying capacities.

The Japanese Ambassador, H. E. Mr. Ryoichi Horie said at the opening ceremony of this visit “DDR is surely one of the best solutions to regain peace and prosperity in the state. We are also hoping that people who are still fighting in the state will come together to settle their differences and benefit from the DDR set of services.”

To date, the Sudan DDR Commission in partnership with UNDP has implemented a range of Community Security and Arms Control (CSAC) initiatives across the state, and the delegation was able to visit a handful of these:

Water supply for communities

Construction of water points and installation of 1,800 meters of water pipeline was completed in Elhay Alganobi, in Roseries locality. About 5,000 community members are now benefitting from these water services, 2000 of whom are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Reflecting an opinion from the community, Khalid Showtal, Head of the CSAC committee and Omda (leader) of El Hay Alganobi said “This project has greatly benefitted the community. It has provided regular water supply for the community members and assisted in bringing peace by reducing tension over water resources, which is sometimes hard to alleviate.”

Linking youth vocational training to market opportunities

The mission held a small ceremony for the hand-over of vocational training toolkits to 40 youth at risk who had previously been equipped with practical skills on electricity and automotive repairs. With respect to the youth vocational training, Showtal said “Our youth have learned skills that will enable them to make a decent living and be self -reliant, without this intervention, they would have no choice but to join the conflict.” He concluded joyfully.

Yvonne Helle, UNDP Country Director said “I’m quite satisfied to see how the project is making a difference in such remote localities. I had earlier visited the same group of youth while they were on training and I’m pleased to be present today to hand over to them the kits as promised by UNDP.”

Smart fishing and fish processing support to women and youth groups

Also the mission members paid a visit to a fishing site in Ganis Garb, Damazine managed by formerly unemployed youth with conflict carrying capacities who were provided fishing boats, nets and training.

This was also accompanied by a visit to a women’s fishery centre for cold storage and food and fish processing. The women buy the fish supply from the youth who were provided with fishing tools and sell them only after processing, in return for a higher price. The fishery and food processing centre has helped not just in providing livelihoods opportunities for 30 women and 70 youth, but also conducted civic education and literacy training to empower them.

At the end of the visit, UNDP Country Director reaffirmed UNDP’s commitment to support peace, recovery and development efforts in the state.