“The pilot phase is a key component of the new South Sudan DDR program and represents an important step in the process of deepening peace and stability in South Sudan,” Hilde F. Johnson said yesterday in a statement adding that “this Graduation ceremony marks the beginning of DDR in independent South Sudan.”
The “ex-combatants will now begin the process of going back to their States and communities, return to civilian life and participate in building their new country,” she added.
The graduation comes after the to-be graduates have followed an intensive three-month residential vocational training aimed at helping them return to civilian life.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) provided much of the design, development and provision of the vocational training while UNMISS Chinese Engineering Contingent supported the construction of the buildings on site, said the statement.
UNMISS has also assisted local communities with the building of an Administration Office for the Payam, a police station with detention cells, a catering center and a market place in addition to seven shallow wells for potable water as well as agriculture and animal watering.
DDR is a government led program with support from key donors, and implementing partners.
President Kiir is expected to address state SPLM party officials at state council of ministers after his return from Mapel town this evening.