Sudan: Teachers return home to south

Some 50 internally displaced (IDP) teachers and 200 of their dependents have been assisted home by IOM to South Sudan from Khartoum since November 2006 as part of an effort to attract professionals who can help in the rebuilding of the South.

Many of these teachers have spent almost two decades displaced in the Sudanese capital after fleeing to the north due to the long running civil war between North and south Sudan which ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in early January 2005.

Their return home into teaching jobs has been facilitated by IOM in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS). An additional 28 teachers and their dependents are preparing to return to teaching jobs in Unity and Eastern Equatoria States in May.

The programme aims to attract qualified individuals with skills in the health, education, engineering and vocational sectors among the millions of internally displaced Sudanese and the Sudanese diaspora at large and match them to concrete job vacancies in either the public or private sector.

Funded by the Danish Development Agency (DANIDA), the programme not only builds on IOM's long running experience of bringing back skills to help in post-war reconstruction such as in Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Afghanistan, but complements other efforts by IOM to engage the Sudanese diaspora including an initiative to link Sudanese health professionals in the UK with Sudanese government structures.

This included the recent organizing of a dialogue by video link between London and Khartoum allowing the Sudanese diaspora and various Sudanese government departments to exchange information and share views on the different ways that the diaspora could contribute to the development of health services and health care in the African country.

The success of this encounter led IOM to organize a further meeting between Dr. Theophilus Ochang, Minister of Health for the Government of South Sudan and IDP doctors and other health professionals currently living in Khartoum and interested in returning home.

Telling the IDPs how badly needed their skills and services were in the South, he added, "this is not an undertaking of a few years. It is a job of a lifetime."

For further information, please contact Simona Opitz, IOM Khartoum, Tel: +249 912 339 700, email: