Machar, UN agencies discuss employment plans for youth

Machar, UN agencies discuss employment plans for youth
First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar (L) and officials from UN Agencies wade through floodwater during a recent visit to Duk Padiet County of Jonglei State on September 24, 2020 (photo credit: courtesy)

The United Nations agencies and the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar have agreed to develop a strategy to address the nagging unemployment among the youth.

The Country Director of the World Food Program (WFP), Mathew Hollingsworth, who is the representative of the United Nations Agencies, said on Monday after a closed-door meeting that plans were in place to address joblessness.

The action was prompted by the increasing attacks on national and international aid workers by some unemployed youth in various pockets of the country.

“Recognising that the youth in South Sudan is by further largest demographics of more than 90 percent of the population, we are aware that they are struggling for job opportunities but also in terms of education, vocational training,” Hollingsworth said.

Hollingsworth said the UN agency team is working with the government to ensure that the strategies are rolled out to the states to change the environment that many young people face in the country.

“What we want to try and do with the government is to see investment from the private sector because the international community only represents a fraction of what can happen and what should be happening to help the youth of this country,” he stated.

Government blamed

However, according to King Vitale Aburi Lomiluk of Hujang Kingdom, the government should be to blame for the attacks on non-governmental organizations because state agencies have failed to address the plight of the youth since the beginning of an interim period of pre-independence.

“The youth have not been properly made use of [and] that is why they are causing problems. Only the guns were given to them instead of projects,’’ King Aburi told The City Review in an interview on Sunday. 

He went on to add: “When you are employed, will you get time for evil things? but when the government has no plan, what do you expect the youth to do?”

He said violence among the youth could be reduced by employment. He emphasized capacity building especially among the members of the disciplined force.

“The police are not properly trained to take enforce the law and the army itself is not disciplined. For example, the army and all the soldiers should be kept training so that the devil does not get time to come into their mind and bring evil and disasters,” King Aburi said.

Committee formed

In July, President Salva Kiir formed a committee chaired by the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar and deputized by two vice presidents to address youth unemployment in the country. The committee also comprised the Minister of National Security, Mamur Obuto, Minister of Labour James Hoth Mai, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Peter Mayen, and the Minister of Youth and Sports, Albino Bol.

The committee was formed after a group of local youth known as Monyomiji in Eastern Equatoria State intensively attacked UN agencies and other NGOs who decried improper recruitment policies.

In July, Vice President in charge of youth and gender cluster Rebecca Nyandeng visited the area to meet with the youths to quell tension.

Earlier this year, several NGOs and United Nations agencies across the country had been attacked by angry youth who claimed that NGOs were not adhering to the 80 percent employed policy required by the Ministry of Labour for the local people.

On May 10, 2021, some local aid workers and NGO compounds were attacked by groups of angry youth in Renk, Jamjang and Torit, and Malakal, according to a report by the UN humanitarian Coordination office OCHA.

The warehouses were also looted in Gumuruk, Pibor (Jonglei) on May 11, and a humanitarian staff was killed in a convoy attack in Budi (Eastern Equatoria) on May 12.

That prompted the NGOs and UN Agencies in the affected areas of Upper Nile that have limited movement to collectively suspend non-life saving activities. The humanitarian personnel in Pibor were also forced to evacuate.

On 28 April, staff from a United Nations agency and a national non-governmental organization (NNGO) were physically assaulted by youth in separate incidents in Torit town, Eastern Equatoria, forcing some humanitarian organizations to relocate their staff to safer areas. They also suspended many humanitarian activities including critical assistance in the areas of health and nutrition.