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Dear Partners and Readers,
I am pleased to share with you positive strides the National DDR Programme has made following its inauguration and graduation of 290 ex-combatants at Mapel Training Centre by H.E. General Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan, on September 18, 2013:
Within a month of the demobilised ex-combatants’ return to their communities, we launched the programme to offer reintegration assistance to them. We have provided additional and intensive enterprenuership training for ex-combatants including in business association or cooperative formation. We have also timely distributed reintegration (business) packages for demobilised ex-combatants in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap and Lakes States. The State leaders officiated at the distributions demonstrating their ownership and support for the reintegration of ex-combatants. Each demobilised ex-combatant received a package (worth at least USD$800) related to the business she or he chose to be trained in at Mapel Training Center. For example, demobilised ex-combatants that chose to be trained in agricultural production received agricultural tool kits; those that chose to be trained as vehicle mechanics, received vehicle mechanics tool kit, etc. Therefore at this point, the psychosocial, life and basic livelihood skills obtained from Mapel Training Centre supplemented with advanced livelihood training and business packages received in State of return will enables the ex-combatants to start and operate their chosen civilian enterprises in the coming months.
All the four State Governments have gone further to provide agricultural land for ex-combatants in line with National Government policy. The National Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Tourism, Animal Resource & Fisheries has donated three tactors in support of demobilised ex-combatants’ agricultural associations in Greater Bahr el Ghazal. The Government of South Sudan has honored its pledge and continues to regularly pay monthly salaries of all demobilised ex-combants except for five of them in distant locations cut off by the recent flooding in Lakes State. In South Sudan’s context of urban-limited and few micro-credit institutions, the ex-combatants’ salaries will help finance their business/ enterprises to some extent.
While the pilot National DDR Programme progressively unfolds, we are diligently taking stock of emerging lessons with a view to improve on the processes for the subsequent caseloads of DDR candidates. Hence my Commission and partners (UNMISS, BICC, World Bank, UNESCO and UNDP) have put their heads together to distill key lessons learned from the profiling, disarmament, and demobilisation processes for the first pilot caseload of 292 DDR candidates. We are now planning to conduct in January 2014 a multi-partners’ independent and external evaluation of the disarmament and demobilisation processes of the pilot. Meanwhile, the mid-term evaluation of the German Government funded and World Bank implemented pilot reintegration project is already in progress, with the final evaluation planned for June 2014. We will make the results of all evaluations public to our partners and supporters.
In conclusion, the pilot National DDR Programme is making progress in the right direction, with the support of our partners. As 2013 draws to its close, I take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt appreciation for your readership in 2013. In particular, I wish to acknowledge and appreciate the Federal Republic of German Government, UNMISS, World Bank, UNESCO and UNDP for their financial and/or technical support to the National DDR Programme in 2014. We look forward to your continued partnership in 2014!
I warmly wish you all a very merry Christmas and prosperous New Year!
William Deng Deng
Chairperson National DDR Commission