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Small-budget, quick impact projects by UNMISS set to improve social cohesion, promote rule of law in Western Equatoria

UNMISS has launched a series of Quick Impact Projects in Western Equatoria. These are aimed at fulfilling urgent community needs through infrastructural development. One such upcoming construction is a much-needed prison facility in the Mundri area; pictured here is the inaugural laying of the foundation of this structure.

“Building durable peace across South Sudan is a primary objective for UNMISS,” says Christopher Muchiri Murenga, Head of the UN peacekeeping mission’s field office in Yambio, Western Equatoria.

“To encourage coexistence and stabilize communities, we are funding the construction of six diverse facilities—a police post, a prison, a bridge, a primary healthcare unit, a peace hall and an office block for interfaith groups dealing with religious reconciliation,” he continues. “These projects will be up and running in the next five or six months and cover Yambio as well as neighbouring areas such as greater Mundri, Maridi and Tambura.”

Mary Raphael, an activist against gender-based violence based in Sakure, believes that women, especially, stand to benefit greatly from the construction of the police post.

“The upcoming police post is a ray of hope for many women who have survived either sexual crimes or domestic violence,” reveals Mary. “In Western Equatoria, we have many cases where underage girls are raped by older men and additional presence of law enforcement will most definitely help curb high rates of such gender-based crimes.”

Meanwhile in Mundri, community members anticipate a much-needed boost to the rule of law once construction of the new prison is complete.

“In Mundri, the lack of prison facilities had led to a point where women, men and juvenile offenders were detained together; this was worrisome,” stated Juliana Mabruk, a women’s representative.

James Enoka the Police Commissioner for Western Equatoria State agrees with Juliana. “Having proper detention facilities isn’t just important for rule of law but also enables us as law enforcement professionals to uphold human rights.”

Commissioner Enoka also says he believes that the upcoming prison facilities will help local police officers to mitigate the impact of seasonal cattle migration in the area, land disputes and other domestic issues that frequently lead to conflict.

 “QIPs enable us to make efforts towards addressing urgent public needs that will have a long-term trickle-down effect on ensuring peace and prosperity for all communities in South Sudan. Most importantly, they are aimed to building the capacity of local authorities and increasing the confidence of community members in the ability of government mechanisms to serve their day-to-day interests,” explains Mr. Murenga.

This type of infrastructure development is facilitated through the UNMISS Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) programme which forges collaborations with local implementing partners across South Sudan; the budget for each project is USD 50,000.