UN introduce Umuganda in South Sudan

UNMISS during Umuganda to clean the capital Juba. / Courtesy

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has launched Umuganda, a communal work to clean the capital Juba and internally displaced camps.

The replica of Rwanda’s monthly traditional exercise by the blue berets in South Sudan, according to UNMISS leadership, is meant to “make mission camps and surroundings of Juba and IDP camps cleaner, greener, healthier and more environmentally efficient.”

During the launch of the communal exercise on Saturday, UNMISS leadership, all Police, military and civilian peacekeepers from various UN contributing nations, cleaned the city and other towns of plastic bags and littered bottles, and planted trees.

The launch of the monthly exercise was presided over by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) to UNMISS, David Shearer.

Rwanda maintains three Formed Police Unit (FPU) contingents of combined 560 peacekeepers and three military contingents.

Two FPU contingents of 160 each, are deployed in Juba while a hybrid contingent of 240 officers is deployed in Malakal of Upper Nile State, about 650 kms from the capital Juba.

The exercise, which was also in line with the World Environmental Day, marked the launch of the “Environmental Sustainability Policy Statement” and “Umuganda Cleanliness Campaign”, which “will be conducted every month.”

Rwandan peacekeepers across all missions where they are deployed have been conducting Umuganda.

Umuganda is a practice that takes root from Rwandan culture of self-reliance and cooperation.

Members of the community come together every last Suday of the month to help each other complete a difficult task and to supplement national development programmes in their localities.

These include creating and rehabilitating roads, water channels, building shelter for the disadvantaged families, planting trees and fighting soil erosion, among others.

The communal exercise is concluded with a community meeting where locals discuss pressing security and development issues and come up with solution to challenges faced in their respective localities.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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