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WHO strengthening the capacity of laboratory personnel to intensify cholera and meningitis surveillance in South Sudan

Public health laboratories are a critical component of communicable disease detection, prevention, and control. However, access to reliable laboratory testing remains limited in in sub-Saharan African countries including South Sudan.

For efficient and improved quality of laboratory service delivery, WHO South Sudan supported the Ministry of Health to harmonize and strengthen the capacity of the laboratory personnel on basic and advanced laboratory diagnostic techniques from 16 to 20 January 2017.

The objective was to enhance systems for routine laboratory operations at all levels in order to guide decision-making processes by clinicians, public health specialists, and health policy makers for the attainment and maintenance of International Health Regulations (IHR) core capacities in South Sudan.

In an effective and efficient health system, laboratory service plays a critical role, however, this is not the case in many African countries including South Sudan, says Dr. Abdulmumini Usman, the World Health Organization Representative to South Sudan. “The need for building laboratory diagnostic capacity is crucial for improved laboratory support to surveillance and treatment of communicable diseases”, he added. We appreciate the support from our partners especially the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) that provide funding support in this area.

Full story: Here

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Einstein scholarships bring hope to refugee students in South Sudan

South Sudan is well known for the armed conflict that has wreaked havoc on millions of its citizens. It is less known for the 260,000 exiles from wars in neighbouring countries to whom it provides refuge. The DAFI scholarship has brought new hopes to young people among the refugee population, giving them hope, helping to relieve painful memories of war, and paying for the education they would otherwise be denied.

Apaikindi, Nasira and Daud are first-year students at St Mary’s College, among South Sudan’s first ever DAFI students. Currently there are 14, a number that is expected to increase over the next four years. 12 are from Sudan and two from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). DAFI is the German acronym for the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund scholarship. The was fund launched in 1992 and enables refugees to study at universities in their host countries. DAFI is funded by the German government.

DAFI is the German acronym for the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund scholarship, launched in 1992, that enables refugees to study at universities in their host countries.

Berepayo Apaikindi Bernadette was separated from her parents in 2013 when she fled violence in her native Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She ended up in Makpandu refugee settlement in Western Equatoria state. “During the peak of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) horrendous attack in town, my parents encouraged me to flee to South Sudan,” she says. “There was a risk I could be abducted. I chose to flee to a place where it was safer. I was also able to me continue my studies.”

23-year-old Apaikindi listens attentively to lectures on her first day of class at St Mary’s College. She has just started her diploma course in Education. She hopes to specialise in teaching, following in the footsteps of her uncle. When she was 15, the family lived near a primary school in Dungu. “I admired his work and walked alongside him every morning to school,” she recalls. She is grateful that there is a Faculty of Education at St Mary College.

“I fled to a place where it was safer. I was able to continue my studies.”

Apaikindi’s parents still live in Dungu in the northeast of DRC. She communicates with them via mobile phone, although these days contacts are interrupted frequently because of the conflict in South Sudan. “Last year, networks were turned off sporadically due lack of fuel in Yambio,” she says. “I am glad the DAFI scholarship brought me to Juba. It is easier to communicate with my parents back in DRC.”

Full story: Here


Humanitarian Coordinator deeply concerned by bureaucratic impediments and access constraints

The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan is deeply concerned by a recent series of bureaucratic impediments and access constraints that have negatively impacted humanitarian organizations’ ability to assist people in need.

“Humanitarian organizations in South Sudan are striving every day to save lives and alleviate suffering across this country,” said Mr. Eugene Owusu, Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan. “Yet, they continue to face obstacles and challenges which hamper their efforts. This must stop.”

Some 91 humanitarian access incidents were recorded from 1 to 28 November. Of these, 70 per cent (64) involved violence against humanitarian personnel/assets, while 20 per cent (18) involved interference in humanitarian action, including interference in administrative matters (4), illegal or arbitrary taxation (4) and expulsion of staff (2). Also in November, aid workers were denied access to areas outside of Yei town in Central Equatoria and Wau town in Western Bahr El Ghazal, where tens of thousands of people are in need of assistance and protection.

“I am appreciative of the steps taken by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to tackle the impediments we face on a daily basis, including through His Excellency the President’s establishment of the Humanitarian High-Level Oversight Committee,” said Mr. Owusu. “However, these recent events are a major concern and it is vital that we see the commitments made in high-level fora fully translate into real, tangible and immediate improvements in the operating environment for aid workers on the frontlines of humanitarian action.”

Humanitarian needs in South Sudan continue to rise as a result of conflict and economic decline. Nearly three million people have now been displaced since fighting first broke out in December 2013, including 1.9 million who are internally displaced and more than 1.1 million who have fled to neighbouring countries as refugees. To date in 2016, humanitarian organizations in South Sudan have reached more than 4.1 million people with assistance and protection across the country, including in some of the most remote areas.

“I am tremendously proud of the aid workers across this country who are working tirelessly day-in and day-out to help people in need,” said Mr. Owusu. “I call on all parties to allow free, safe and unhindered humanitarian access so that our colleagues can reach and assist people whose lives have been torn apart by this crisis. Regardless of where they are in the country, civilians in need have a right to receive help.”

For further information, please contact:
Frank Nyakairu,nyakairu@un.org/+211 922 4060 12
Guiomar Pau Sole, pausole@un.org/ +211 920100411


Journalists receive training on ethical reporting

Thirty (30) journalists drawn from eleven (11) different media houses in South Sudan attended a three day training that took place from 22-24 November 2016 in Juba. The purpose of the training was to familiarize journalists with knowledge and reporting skills about various UN entities, build partnerships with the media and also promote ethical reporting.

This training was organized by the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in South Sudan with technical support from UNESCO and the United Nations Communications Group (UNCG).  Agencies provided participants with information on their mandates, activities, priority areas, key messages and contacts.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Eugene Owusu, said that the country team is committed to strengthening relationships with the media and developing their capacity, because they are key to the development of South Sudan. He also said that the country team will support media forums and activities in the coming months.

“Through the United Nations Communications Group, the country team will explore more ways on how to strengthen our relations with South Sudanese media,” he said.

He also emphasized the role of the media in South Sudan especially during the current context. He added that as the country develops, all partners should come together to work towards supporting such developments.

“As this country grows and develops, so must we all for it is our role to support the country moving towards her full potential,” he added

Silvano Yokwe Alison, a reporter from Equator Broadcasting Corporation, speaking on behalf of the participants at the training, urged the UN in South Sudan to provide more capacity building and also facilitate local journalists to cover stories in hard to reach areas.

“I am calling upon the UN to give local journalists a chance to report in areas that are difficult to reach,” he said.

The training was crowned with a social event where participants, other journalists from various media houses and UN staff interacted. Each participants was also awarded with a certificate of participation.


UNCT donates equipment to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

The United Nations Country Team (UNCT), on November 23, under the framework, Delivering as One, provided tools and equipment to further enable the administrative capacity and fulfillment of the mandate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) of South Sudan.

The UNCT is an inter-agency body serving as a platform for individual agencies to plan and deliver work together. The country team in South Sudan also partners closely with the government as well as other humanitarian and development actors.

Representing the UNCT, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative to South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, presented to the Ministry one Ford Ranger pick-up truck, one Suzuki motorcycle, two desktop computers, and one laserjet printer.

Mr. Owusu explained that under the Delivering as One framework, the UNCT is working hard to support the government with the creation of a comprehensive capacity building programme.

“Delivering As One is working together to support the Government. We are looking forward to articulating a comprehensive capacity building programme,” he said.

Hon. Joseph Ayok Anei, MFAIC’s Undersecretary, received the equipment and thanked the UNCT for its support and commitment to South Sudan. “South Sudan cannot stand on its own without the support of the international community,” he said.

“We look forward from benefiting from capacity building initiatives that will empower the ministry to overcome challenges that aren’t just operational in nature,” he added. “We hope they also strengthen the capacity of the Ministry as a whole.”

Bilateral cooperation between UN agencies and South Sudanese government ministries plays an important role in the stabilization and development of the country.

“As a member state of the UN,” said the Hon. Ayok Anei, “the South Sudan is part of the UN family and as such, we look forward to working together to resolve challenges.”

Photo: UNDP


United Nations for the people of South Sudan- UN celebrates 71st anniversary

To commemorate UN Day in South Sudan, the United Nations family together with communities of South Sudan, government counterparts, civil society organizations, and development partners marked the 71st anniversary of the UN under the theme: “UN for the people of South Sudan.”

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ellen Margrethe Løj urged South Sudanese leaders to lay down the weapons and commit to inclusive dialogue, reconciliation and justice.

“As we come together here today, to celebrate UN day, we must be steadfast in our faith that South Sudanese can put aside their differences and unite for peace. The Peace Agreement remains the most credible vehicle to revive the peace process and should be fully implemented in an inclusive manner, for all the people of this country to achieve their dreams and aspirations.” said SRSG Løj, “To achieve this aim, there must be an end to the fighting.”

SRSG Løj also urged the Transitional Government of National Unity and the parties to the conflict in South Sudan to put the interests of their people first.

SRSG Løj read the UN Secretary- General Ban Ki Moon’s message which included: “Together, we have put in place some solid foundations for shared progress – which we must build on by working even harder to empower women, engage youth and uphold human rights for all. But we have also suffered enormous heartbreak -including unresolved conflicts causing immense suffering throughout the troubled Middle East, South Sudan, the Sahel and beyond.”

The UN Day activities in Juba included exhibitions by all UN agencies funds and programmes. The South Sudanese middle-distance runner Santino Kenyi, who participated at this year’s Olympics, and other beneficiaries of the UN also gave various testimonies of what the UN has done in their lives. Likewise students from Saint Thomas Primary School and Boy Scouts and Girl Guides took part in the day’s events.

The UN Day was also celebrated in other locations throughout the country including Torit, Aweil, Yambio, Bentiu, Malakal, Wau, Bor, Rumbek ,Kuajok and Warrap with a number of activities such as peace walks, cultural dances, interschool debates and sporting activities.

Early this month on 6 October 2016, the United Nations Country Team launched their two year strategy which details their road map for South Sudan as the country struggles from the shocks of wide spread insecurity and humanitarian crisis. This short-term overarching plan will guide the UN in responding to the needs and aspirations of the country as it forges a way towards recovery during the interim period, 2016-2017.

UN Day was established in 1971 by the United Nations General Assembly adopting  resolution (2782) and is celebrated every year to acknowledge the contribution of the UN to all member states.





Global handwashing day commemorated in Juba

To mark the ninth Global Handwashing Day, hundreds of thousands of children across South Sudan today washed their hands with soap and clean water to promote handwashing as an effective method for preventing diseases. The day this year is marked under the theme ‘Handwashing with soap keeps Cholera away from you and your family,’ as South Sudan continues to grapple with a Cholera outbreak that has affected more than 2,500 people and resulted in 38 deaths.

“The simple practice of washing hands with soap and water can drastically reduce diarrheal and acute respiratory infections which are a common cause of death in children less than five years,” said UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan, Mr. Mahimbo Mdoe.unicef-handwashing-day

Following the cholera outbreak in July 2016, UNICEF and partners responded by intensifying the promotion of washing hands with soap and clean water at critical times such as after using the toilet and before touching food. UNICEF has also worked with the Government and partners in establishing cholera treatment and oral rehydration centres. This has resulted in a decline in the number of cases in Juba which was the worst hit by the disease. New cases are however being reported in Mingkaman and Fangak which calls for more action to prevent spread of the disease.

“Handwashing with soap and clean water will drastically reduce outbreak of disease like Cholera that is repeatedly destroying the lives of people in Juba and elsewhere in the country,” said Honorable Sophia Pal Gai, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation.

The decline in the number of cholera cases in the capital can be attributed to the continuous mobilization of communities, school children and individuals to wash hands with soap and clean water during critical times,” said Peter Mahal Dhieu, the Director General for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation.

This year, UNICEF and partners have reached nearly 27,195 families with hygiene promotion messages for cholera prevention, and trained more than 200 social mobilizers, 550 hygiene promoters and 1,402 community leaders on key hygiene practices. In addition, more than 48 schools – covering 23,152 children and 160 teachers – were reached with important hygiene messages and three compactor trucks were given to Juba City Council for garbage collection and disposal from cholera hotspots.

UNICEF and partners have also distributed 146,878 water purification tablets, 56,373 bars of soap, 83,782 packets of oral rehydration salts and 10,000 educational booklet to over 147,994 people. UNICEF continues to work with schools to make handwashing and good hygiene a part of daily routine.


United Nations Country Team launches Interim Cooperation Framework

The United Nations Country Team in South Sudan, along with government leaders and other partners officially launched the Interim Cooperation Framework (ICF) at Juba Grand Hotel today. The Interim Cooperation Framework is the development strategy of the United Nations Country Team and functions as an interim framework in 2016 and 2017, which corresponds to the transitional period of the peace agreement.

“The Transitional Government of National Unity is committed to its continued cooperation with the UN, and the ICF is a welcome initiative and a sign that we can do more together to make progress. The presentation we have seen today makes it clear how it can help create new momentum and new focus in our cooperation at this pivotal moment,” said Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Hon. Mary Jervase Yak. “The ICF provides us with robust analysis and clear strategic direction that reflect the views and inputs from many different perspectives and partners.”

The newly launched ICF requires UN agencies to be better targeted, based on a strong understanding of the context and guided by the following key principles: realism in setting goals and targets in a country confronted with a significant development deficit; recovery from the serious set-backs of recent years; resilience of people, communities and institutions; reaching the most vulnerable who have been harmed most by the crisis; strengthening institutions and capacities so that they can better sustain peace and stability.

“I hope that this event marks the start of a new, strong and fruitful partnership between the Government of South Sudan, the donor community and the UN system.  We all are aware that there is a significant amount of work to do to ensure a better future for the people of South Sudan after years of conflict and crisis.  It is high time that we collectively chart a new course towards peace and prosperity for this country,” said Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ellen Margrethe Loej at the launch event.

The goal of the ICF is to support the transformation of South Sudan towards peace and stability, and sustainable development, by focusing on five highly prioritized substantive areas: enhancing the resilience of local communities; strengthening social services for the most vulnerable; strengthening peace and governance; reinvigorating the local economy; cross-cutting improvement in the status of women and youth. The United Nations Country Team is also prepared to help assist with the formation of South Sudan’s national development plan.

“What should define this country are the dreams, the hopes and the aspirations that South Sudanese have for themselves and their beloved nation. As South Sudan dreams of a better future, I want to assure you that we are in this together. If indeed peace, recovery and sustainable development is what you desire, you will find in the United Nations a committed and enduring partner,” said Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative to South Sudan Eugene Owusu.

The ICF was developed and adopted jointly by all UN organizations operating in South Sudan, in consultation with their national and international partners. The United Nations Country Team, under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator, consists of FAO, IOM, OCHA, OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNDSS, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UN Habitat, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIDO, UNMAS, UNMISS, UNOPS, UN Women, WFP, and WHO.

As part of the improved coordination between agencies in South Sudan, the launch event also unveiled the new website and logo for the United Nations Country Team. The United Nations in South Sudan can be found online at http://ss.one.un.org, on Twitter at @UN_SouthSudan, and on Facebook at facebook.com/UnitedNationsSouthSudan.

Watch a short video on the new brand here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSJBWS_sIlM&feature=youtu.be 

For more information please contact
National leaders from government, military, law enforcement, civil society, and the United Nations pose for a group photo. Photo: UNDP

United Nations and Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare hold national high level dialogue on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Representative leaders from government, civil society, and the United Nations participated at a national high level dialogue on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) between September 27-28, 2016 at Dembesh Hotel in Juba.

Against the backdrop of the July 2016 conflict in Juba, the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare intends to strengthen the implementation of the South Sudan National Action Plan 2015-2020 on UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and Related Resolutions. One of the immediate effects of the conflict is the increase in reported cases of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) against women and children.

The United Nations supported the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare to conduct this public dialogue on the National Action Plan as a way of providing the national leadership with a platform to highlight issues related to the theme, “Addressing Impunity on Sexual and Gender Based Violence in South Sudan.

Full story: High-level dialogue on Sexual Gender Based Violence held in South Sudan 

Full speech by the DSRSG/RC/HC/RR: high-level-dialogue-on-sgbv-unct-final


The Vice President of South Sudan H.E James Wani Igga speaks at the International Day of Peace in Juba.

South Sudan commemorates the International Day of Peace

The United Nations in South Sudan joined national peace actors including the South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission (SSPRC), National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation (NPPR), civil society organizations, INGOS and the media to commemorate this year’s International Day of Peace under the national theme: Together We Can Heal the Nation. This day is celebrated globally every year on September 21.

These celebrations were marked by a series of activities including the launch of 100 days of activism which took place on September 14, 2016 at the SSPRC. This campaign which will last until the end of the year calls for joint efforts towards addressing peace and security in the country. Other events side included youth and women outreach activities and national prayers.

D/SRSG, Moustapaha Soumare, speaks at the International Day of Peace Celebrations at Nyakuron Cultural Center in Juba. Photo: UNDP

The official celebration held at Nyakuron Cultural Centre was marked by key note speeches from the Vice President of South Sudan, H.E. James Wani Igga, the Chairperson of the SSPRC, the Speaker of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General (D/SRSG), Moustapaha Soumare. There were also colorful performances by school children and youth groups.

Speaking on behalf of the UN at the official ceremony, the D/SRSG, Moustapaha Soumare, said that peace meant a society where people lived free. “It (peace)  is about building a global society in which people live free from poverty and share the benefits of prosperity,” he said.