COVID-19 continues to cast a shadow over South Sudan, impacting children and youth greatly. To mitigate some of the effects of the virus in the Unity region, UNMISS peacekeepers from Ghana recently trained some 70 young people from Bentiu in advanced computer skills. The aim was to equip youth with professional-level expertise that would enable them to find jobs and, eventually, become economically secure.

Furthermore, peacekeepers also handed over computers and printers to the youth centre in Bentiu. The handover comes on the heels of an intensive 6-month Information and Communication Technology training conducted by the Ghanain battalion.

Lieutenant-Colonel Antwi Awua Darkwa, Commanding Officer, of the battalion presided over the ceremony and promised participants as well as the administration of the youth centre that successive battalions from Ghana would continue this initiative. “As a mission, UNMISS is committed to making sure we protect civilians in need. However, it is also incumbent upon us to help young South Sudanese to develop their abilities and look forward to a prosperous, peaceful future. Therefore, we help local communities wherever and however we can within our capacity,” said Lt. Colonel Darkwa.

Riek Yuanis, Secretary-General, Bentiu Youth Union, expressed his appreciation for the support provided by the peacekeepers. “Many young people have benefited from this training and have found jobs; they, in turn, can share their knowledge with others in the community,” he said.

For his part, Madup Ruai Wang, Chairperson of the Youth Union, asserted that youth centres generate social cohesion in the region. “The centre is a safe space for young people to gather and learn about reconciliation and the importance of peace. It also deters youth from engaging in criminal activities or violence. This computer course is an example of how young people can use their time gainfully and carve out a bright future for themselves and we are thankful to UNMISS peacekeepers for the time and attention they have given to young members of our communities and hope for their ongoing support,” he stated.

Additionally, Mr. Wang thanked humanitarian partners for their efforts in the region. “We are very grateful to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for constructing the youth centre and equipping it with a few computers initially. Now, with this handover from UNMISS, we can make sure more and more young women and men can develop livelihood skills,” he said in conclusion.

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