Ambassador of Japan to Sudan, H.E. Mr. Hideki Ito visits UNDP and UNOPS projects in Central Darfur State.
A Japanese Delegation led by the Ambassador of Japan to Sudan, H.E. Hideki Ito paid a two-day visit to Central Darfur on the 1st and 2nd October 2017. They arrived to a rousing and warm welcome by State government authorities, the UN, local community members and beneficiaries of Japan funded projects for UNOPS and UNDP. This is the first visit by the Ambassador of Japan to Central Darfur.
The purpose of the visit was to understand the context in Central Darfur and to see first-hand the impact of the projects being implemented by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Central Darfur.
During his visit, the Ambassador paid a courtesy call on the Wali of the State, H. E Jaffar Abd Alhakam Ishag. They held an official meeting with various state line ministries and departments, provided an overview of the situation of Central Darfur State, the challenges and its enormous potentials. He expressed profound gratitude for the financial contributions by the government of Japan as well as the work being done by UNOPs and UNDP toward the recovery and development of the State.
In his address, H.E Ambassador Ito stated that he was happy to visit Central Darfur State for the first time and that he wanted to see how Japan-funded projects are being implemented and appreciated by the local people. He also expressed his hope that Japan could continue, and possibly, increase providing support in Central Darfur to consolidate peace in this State.
On his part, the Wali expressed his gratitude towards the contribution of Japan, “We thank the Government of Japan, represented by the Ambassador and the people of Japan, for their standing with Sudanese issues in international forums and their support for the Sudanese communities. We hope that Japan will play a bigger role after the return of stability to Darfur”
The Ambassador and his delegation proceeded for visiting the State Government authorities, beneficiaries and implementing partners of the two the projects being implemented by UNDP and UNOPS.
First, they visited The Youth Volunteers Supporting Peace and Recovery in Darfur Project (YoVoReD) which is being implemented by UNDP. The project is a youth-led initiative with the overall objective of strengthening the skills and competencies of youth and empowering them to accelerate peace and recovery in their own communities in Darfur whilst enhancing their own opportunities for employment. The Project firstly train university graduates in micro-enterprise development, microfinance, green business, peacebuilding and conflict management and natural resource management, then deploy them as youth volunteers to their communities for nine months, sharing their skills and knowledge. In 2017, the Government of Japan supported the project with USD 740,500 which enable UNDP to train and deploy 90 youth volunteers, aiming to reach 9,000 community members in 30 communities within 13 localities across the five Darfur States. Since 2012, the project has trained and deployed 379 youth volunteers and reached 26,565 community members in the five states of Darfur.
Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim Shta, a youth volunteer in Central Darfur said: “The four-week training was very interesting and useful. Now I am confident to conduct trainings for my community members. I appreciate this opportunity and support from Japan, State Ministries, UNDP, and NGOs.”
Mr. Abdugasim Salih, the Minister of State Ministry of Youth and Sports in Central Darfur expressed his gratitude to Japan for their support to the Project emphasizing; “We hope that the relationship between Sudan and Japan will be even stronger through this project. It would be great if the project will be able to reach wider areas in the future.”
The delegation continued to the Sherbna village of Azum Locality where UNOPS is implementing water facility project and WASH education activities. The Ambassador expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome and support by the community. The community leader Mr. Mohamed Zain Beshir Al Sallil expressed his appreciation for the generous support from Japan “we are very happy, and we thank them for their active support in the field of water and health, as has been and continues” By the end of January, the community will have a new mini water yard which can serve about 11,000 people in the village, and will be connected to the health facility within the community.
On the second day of the visit, the Ambassador attended the handing over ceremony of the State Water Corporation (SWC) Training Center in Zalingie city. The training center was established by UNOPS in collaboration with the Ministry of Urban Planning and Public Utilities, in order to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of the water infrastructure. It has so far enabled the SWC to build the capacity of the SWC staff locally and more effectively. The equipment of the training center was procured by UNOPS through funding by Japan, and the training halls were provided by the Ministry of Urban Planning and Public Utilities (UPPU).
Mr. Mudather Omer Adam Arbab, the Minister of UPPU said “We are very thankful for all the assistance provided to Darfur by UNOPS through contribution of Japan, especially in the field of water, infrastructure, health, and capacity-building”.
This one-year project, “Emergency Intervention to Access Water in Five Darfur States” was launched on April 1st 2017 with the generous contribution of 1,011,000USD from Japan, will improve the water supply system including pipeline connections to health service facilities, provide capacity building training for facility management staff, and provide WASH education, benefiting over 60,000 vulnerable community members residing in the rural communities of five Darfur states.