Rwandan Police peacekeepers under the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Saturday introduced voluntary community cleaning exercise, Umuganda, to ensure hygiene, sanitation and other human security activities in Internally Displaced Camps (IDPs) in the country.
The Rwandan homegrown initiative was launched in POC 3, an IDP camp that accommodates over 33, 000 internally displaced South Sudanese.
POC 3 is under the protection of Rwanda police peacekeepers.
The peacekeepers, who were joined by the camp community leadership and the people, cleared bushes, cleaned the streets, water trenches and collected littered waste, including plastic bags.
The contingent commander of the Rwandan peacekeepers in Juba, Bosco Rangira, and the chairman of POC3, Charles Riek Wal, as well as zone leaders in the IDP camp, headed the exercise.
Rangira said the exercise was conducted in the spirit of community policing, to interact with the people they serve on daily basis, and to uphold national values.
While addressing the people shortly after Umuganda, the contingent commander thanked them for the big turn up and usual cooperation in security operations.
He highlighted that the activity was initiated purposely to “share original Rwandan home-grown initiatives of keeping the camp clean, protect the environment and be solution to the problems.”
Similar activities will be conducted monthly.
The camp chairperson, Charles Riek Wal, lauded the Rwandan peacekeepers in South Sudan, for the “noble work to keep us safe” and urged the IDPs to equally own it and make it part of their culture.
Wal particularly commended the role Rwandan peacekeepers played in protecting them during the July 2013 crisis, saying that “without your protection possibly most of us here wouldn’t be alive.”
He reassured partnership with the Rwandan Police peacekeepers in ensuring security of the IDPs and other community activities, and urged the people to support and own such human security initiatives.
There are about 430 Rwandan police peacekeepers serving in South Sudan, including two 400-strong Formed Police Units.
Others serve as individual Police Officers, who act as advisors and mentors.
The Rwandan peacekeepers have introduced and conducted similar Umuganda activities in different UN missions across the world, where they have been credited for teaching people values of partnership in security and development.