Registration activities continued throughout May. A headcount at the transit facilities took place early in the month followed by visits to Bahr el Ghazal by UNICEF staff and others involved in the reintegration process.
The teams that traveled to Bahr el Ghazal assessed the general situation and met with regional and county authorities, community members (in particular the parents), and NGOs operating in the area. While the groups visited were pleased about the imminent return of the children, they expressed concern that some of the areas lacked water, education and health services. The UNICEF team also reported that most of the schools have no trained teachers, and that basic health kits were not available.
Following the team's report, UNICEF is planning the pre-positioning of supplies such as health and education kits. Water activities are also planned, in particular for schools. A meeting is scheduled with the NGOs operating in northern Bahr el Ghazal to discuss plans in detail.
A second visit into Bahr el Ghazal took place, with similar results. Worth noting is the concern shown by the communities regarding the children who were orphans and those with no relatives or guardians. Some members of the community, particularly chiefs, have already offered to host those children.
The water situation in the transit facilities is reported to be satisfactory. The hygiene awareness team conducted training in each transit facility and included representatives from implementing NGOs, teachers, caregivers and children. Eighty persons in total benefited from the workshop. Drilling work within Rumbek town is also in progress.
During May, all of the children in the transit facilities were vaccinated against meningitis. As well, support from non-OLS NGO Samaritan's Purse was offered in the form of a mobile medical team that will cover all the transit facilities. Life-saving drugs for emergencies have been given to all the centers for asthma, shock and conditions related to the lowering of blood pressure.
Various assessments have been conducted in the camps in order to determine the educational level of the boys. Some of the older boys are at the Secondary School level. Some 77 demobilized child soldiers are undergoing teacher training at the Rumbek Secondary School in order to contribute to the provision of education following re-integration to their home areas. Other children that have completed testing may be placed in boarding and other schools in Rumbek County.
It is planned that an additional 150 teachers will be trained in the northern Bahr el Ghazal Counties through NGOs on ground.
At the end of May, a training of mentors for the Life Skills program and piloting of the developed materials will be conducted, focusing on the three themes (HIV/AIDS, Health/personal hygiene skills and child rights).
Other Initiatives and Information
A grinding mill has been installed in some of transit centers that are far from town to solve problems related to transport of grain.
Five of the centers (Aber, Abin Ajok, Pan Awac, Wullu and Akot) have vegetable gardens. The other camps are expected to start working on their gardens soon. Most of the four-member team from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) that assisted with coordination of the transit facilities are willing to stay throughout the return and re-unification phase of the programme. The team coordinates the day-to- day activities at the facilities and is assisting with the management of transport, database set-up and the return process.
The Upper Nile Protection team held a two-day meeting in Lokichokio from 28-29 May as a follow-up to the 2 May Nairobi meeting on the proposed demobilization exercise for child soldiers in parts of RASS/FRRA controlled areas.
Specific areas of discussion included the reviews of information already collected and information still needed from these areas for an effective demobilization exercise as a guide to further assessments necessary.
Two teams were designated to visit different parts of Upper Nile for a full month to collect data that will be presented at a policy-level meeting in Nairobi.
The monthly Nutrition Coordination Meeting took place in Lokichokio on 9 May, with 12 agencies in attendance. The overall nutritional situation in northern Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile, where assessments have been done, was reported to be deteriorating by NGOs on ground.
In Old Fangak, where ACF have just concluded two nutritional surveys, the prevalence of malnutrition was reported to be at 20%, and the agency is planning for appropriate interventions in the area.
In Ajiep, Gogrial County, MSF-Holland has reported an increase in their Feeding Programme and an assessment team has been sent to confirm the situation. NCA in Alek, Gogrial County, WVI in Waat, Western Upper Nile, and TEARFUND in Awiel East County, have also reported increases in Feeding Center admissions. All agencies are stepping up the Feeding Center activities in their respective locations.
UNIMIX was dispatched to NCA and Tearfund during the month for their feeding programmes. Basic screening equipment, including MUAC tapes and weighing scales were also allocated to MEDAIR and WVI for screening and surveys planned in Western Upper Nile.
Promotion of Human Rights
The Promotion of Human Rights unit facilitated a trip for three southern Sudanese youths to attend the International Youth Conference held in Nairobi from 14-19 May. The three children were Moses Marial Dongrin, a student at Rumbek Secondary School, Deng Deng Malek, a Demobilized Child Soldier from the Abin Ajok Transit Camp and Rebecca Akoi Elijah, a student at the Rumbek Comboni Primary School. UNICEF collaborated with GTZ, DSW and the Kenyan Ministry of Home Affairs, Heritage and Sport to host the conference that was attended by representatives of 13 African and two European countries. The theme of the conference was "Youth - Change Agents for Sustainable and Peaceful Development". Among the issues discussed by the youth were:
- Credit and Savings;
- Youth, Peace Building and Crisis Prevention;
- Youth, Health and Development;
- Youth Participation and Empowerment;
- Working with Youth - Methods, Approaches and Training Needs.
The three youth representatives will convene several meetings in Rumbek within the coming weeks to share their experience with other local young people.
Education and Learning
UNICEF has embarked on the rehabilitation of Rumbek school for girls. It is hoped that this will enable more girls to attend classes, as single-gender schools are more culturally acceptable to many southern Sudanese families. In 2000, a total of 800 girls were enrolled in Rumbek County schools. 300 girls are already registered for the new school and more have been coming to register. It is hoped that the new school will increase girl's enrollment by at least 50%.
Distance Teacher Education Unit (DTEU)
The Distance Teacher Education Unit (DTEU) project is progressing well. Study Skill and Intensive Communication Courses are currently under development. The course advisors and writers continue to receive logistical support from the Learning Section. Altogether, there were eight course writers, but one has resigned for personal reasons. The remaining seven are still working and are supported by two Distance Education Experts from Bachelor College, Australia.
Teacher Training Courses
The Learning Sector has provided training modules and continues to give logistical and technical support to teachers' training courses in Yambio, Ezo and Tambura Counties. ADRA and CRS are facilitating the courses in Yambio, the Christian Brothers in Ezo and CARE International in Tambura. In total, there are 155 teachers attending Phase I, II and III courses.
Task Force on Girls' Education
The Task Force on Girls' Education started identifying focal persons in the seven payams of Yambio County. So far, five payams (Yambio, Nzara, Bangasu, Sakure and LiRangu) have identified focal persons and at least one Evening Learning Center for girls has been successfully established.
Water & Environmental Sanitation
The WES Unit completed the drilling campaign in Aburoc with four positive boreholes out of a total 11 drilled. A geophysics company was on-ground during the process. A hydrogeologist has spent one week in Aburoc to study the other alternatives available such as the construction of haffirs and shallow wells. However, new activities now have to wait until the end of the rainy season.
Three successful boreholes were drilled in Rumbek County, completing the drilling campaign.
Five new boreholes were drilled in Tonj (in Wuncuei and Makuac) due to the water emergency in the area.
One hand-drilled well was completed in Ikpiro and installed with an IMK2 pump.
Hydrogeology/geophysics and water quality
The University of Nairobi and EUROWATER has submitted their proposal for the set up of two laboratories in Yambio and Rumbek and for the training of water technician assistants. The construction of the water laboratory started in Rumbek and should be completed by the end of June.
The second phase of the geophysics campaign in Yambio has started.
Operation and Maintenance/Capacity Building
26 broken hand pumps were repaired by SRRA/WES in Rumbek town, Pacong, Kuei, Akot and Wulu Payam with support from UNICEF. Four hand pump platforms were also repaired in these areas.
Eight women and men were trained on SANPLAT production, and as a result a total of 200 units of sanplats were produced during April and May.
13 Village Level caretakers were trained by counterpart staff in Rumbek town, Pacong, Kuei and Akot Payam.
In Yambio County, 6 hand pumps were repaired, three hand pumps were fenced and nine major platforms were rehabilitated.
Hygiene and Sanitation
150 sanplats were manufactured by UNICEF local contractors. The sanplats will be distributed to improve household latrines in Rumbek County.
27 Pit latrine stances were constructed in transit facilities around Rumbek County.
14 PVC latrines slaps were delivered to Abinajok, Akot and Wulu transit facilities for latrine construction.
19 hygiene awareness sessions were conducted by the counterpart hygiene promoters in Rumbek town, Kuei, Pacong and Pakam Payam. 836 women, men and children attended the sessions.
Two hygiene and sanitation promotion workshops were held in Thonic and Panawac transit facilities in Rumbek County. The participants were representatives from implementing NGOs, teachers, caregivers, and children.
In Yambio County, 411 school children and adults attended Hygiene Education Awareness sessions.
Latrine construction was completed in the Sakure and Bangasu community centres, Yambio County.
Briefing of the new DB assistant, Mr. Robert Mwithia.
Continuation of the collection of information in Nairobi (archives) and in the field as well as data entry. Follow-up of the SRRA's update and numeration of the water points. Tools have been ordered to engrave the database number on the pump pedestal. The ARCVIEW, a GIS computer software, has been ordered as well.
Agriculture and Fisheries
An FAO food security analyst arrived during the month and reviewed food security-related data within OLS. He was charged with devising an improved coordination system for food security. He broadly supported the existing 'proposed food security coordination structure'. The report will be released by mid-June.
The second international meeting on Pastoralist Communities Harmonisation Initiative was held in Uganda from 19- 25 May. It brought together 90 regional and international participants and 70 key members of fourteen communities from the Karamojong cluster, which includes the Toposa, the Jie and the Didinga. The communities re-affirmed their commitment to peace. They reiterated the major problems affecting their ability to develop, and plans to address the problems were identified with commitments made. Senior politicians from the region participated in the process. A third meeting will take place after 12 months.
The second regional livestock coordination meeting for Bahr el Ghazal took place from 21- 25 May. It was agreed that five slaughter slabs be constructed in the region by December 2001 and that vaccination against Rinderpest would also stop by December 2001. FAO made a commitment to supply drugs in areas where there were gaps in coverage. NGOs and individuals ready to set up veterinary pharmacies were identified.
A meeting for the nutrition sector taskforce was held in Lokichokio on 8 May followed by a monthly coordination meeting. The feeding programme protocol was discussed among other topics. Minutes of these meetings are available through the OLS coordination unit. The next monthly coordination meeting will be held on 9 June at the UN compound in Lokichokio.
Two food economy workshops were organized by WFP on 22 and 29 May in Nairobi. The main objectives of the workshop were to help participants gain an understanding of the food economy approach and gain knowledge on how to access food economy information for planning interventions.
Emergency Preparedness &Response (EPR)
The EPR unit continued to work on contingency planning for northern Bahr el Ghazal. The Unit has begun circulating bi-weekly updates in order to identify gaps in data, track trends and contribute to greater information dissemination.
Operational-level meetings are being held weekly for Bieh and Leech States. Feedback regarding the usefulness of the meetings and their format is requested to enable a smooth flow of ideas and information. These meetings are open and minutes are available through the OLS Coordination Unit.
Distribution of non-food relief items took place in Tonj County by UNICEF - including blankets, fishing equipment, cooking pots and other house hold items - to the Nuer IDPs from Western Upper Nile. The distribution was carried out with assistance from BYDA and MSF-CH.