As the people of South Sudan prepare for independence in June, following the referendum earlier this year, IOM is helping thousands of South Sudanese ex-combatants to return to civilian life.
It is targeting nearly 10,000 demobilised former combatants in the three states of Western Bahr El Ghazal, Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Warrap, offering them reintegration packages, in collaboration with the Government of Southern Sudan, local NGOs, the UN Mission in Sudan, UNMIS, UNDP and civil society and community-based organisations.
Since 2005, IOM has provided reintegration assistance for more than 510,000 returnees in Southern Sudan. Its work has included carrying out a survey of conditions in return areas, covering more than 7,000 villages in the three states - the largest ever such survey carried out in the south.
IOM's US$ 8.8 million Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programme began in June 2010 and is scheduled to continue through August 2011. DDR is an integral part of Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which was signed on 9th January 2005, marking the end of Africa's longest civil war.
The aim of the project is to contribute to the reintegration of former combatants - including women - by helping them to develop the skills needed for them to pursue productive and sustainable livelihoods. These include literacy, numeracy and entrepreneurship training.
Former combatants who take part in the programme are offered a choice of four reintegration packages: civilian life skills, literacy, agriculture and entrepreneurship training.
Within each package, participants are given training and education aimed at helping them to return to civilian life. They are also given material assistance to help them to start their own businesses. These can include raw materials, tools, equipment and rent for a limited period. Or they may be given help to develop their skills further.
IOM closely monitors each beneficiary taking part in the reintegration programme, in order to follow up on the implementation of the scheme and to assess its impact. Beneficiaries also have access to ongoing IOM counselling and advisory services.
So far around 5,800 ex-combatants in Northern and Western Bahr El Ghazal have been referred to IOM for reintegration assistance. A further 5,000 ex-combatants in Warrap are expected to take part in the programme when it begins there later this year.
For more information, please contact Lana Oh at IOM Sudan. Tel. +249 922 406 637. Email: email@example.com