UN completes third training on Small Arms and Light Weapons risk awareness and control measures for Libyan women

On 15 December, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), in partnership with UN Women and UNSMIL/Security Institutions Division, completed the third and last workshop of the new phase of its project on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) risk awareness in Libya, kindly supported by the Government of Italy.

In line with UN Security Council resolutions promoting the role of women in peace and security, UNMAS launched this project in 2015 supporting a pilot group of 12 female members of civil society from all over Libya, to become agents of change in their communities by building their capacities in SALW risk education.

The new group of women under the age of 30 was selected through a competitive process on the grounds of motivation, educational background, and geographical representation to undergo similar trainings, with the purpose of increasing the involvement of Libya’s younger generations in promoting the prevention of armed violence and educating local communities on the issues, risks and perceptions of small arms. “I am happy to have met all of those ladies, we really get along very well. I was surprised how well the selection process had been done. I discovered people from other towns I did not even know before even by name. We do not have this culture of exploring our country in Libya. I discovered we have a responsibility towards each other that I did not recognize before” (Wigdan, 27).

During the three workshops, facilitated by the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey, in August, October and December, the participants received information on International Standards on SALW; Awareness raising principles, methods and tools; Child Protection guidelines; Women, Peace and Security framework. They were trained on how to conduct surveys and interviews, participate in debates and deliver a presentation. After she conducted surveys in her community, one of the participants stated “Men are aware of the issues and risks related to SALW but do not work on it. Women did not know anything about it. Women woke up and realized they have a role in this as mother, sister, daughter because they live with this at home. We are not only delivering messages to our communities but we are also making women aware of their role. They really woke up and realized the role they have as agents of change in their family or community”. “During awareness raising activities, men were curious to know what young women had to say about weapons. They were impressed” (Najwa, 28).

As a result of these three workshops, the trained women are able to better assess SALW-related risks and share context-specific risk education messages in their own communities. “I gained a really good knowledge that I would be able to share with others. Thanks to the debates and presentations, I built my confidence to stand in front of a crowd, talk to people, raise their awareness and persuade them. Now, I feel I am ready to persuade people with different points of view” (Wigdan, 27). The debate sessions were important because I learnt how to communicate, transfer knowledge, express myself, and face the audience” (Najwa, 29)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

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IOM, USAID Improve Access to Clean Water, Safe Sanitation in South Sudan, while Enhancing Prevention of Gender-Based Violence

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have launched a large-scale project to provide equitable access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services for people affected by the crisis in South Sudan while strengthening prevention of gender-based violence (GBV).

South Sudan has one of the world’s lowest rates of access to safe sanitation, with 90 per cent of the population living without access, according to the 2018 Humanitarian Needs Overview. WASH-related diseases, such as cholera, are widespread and often linked to limited infrastructure and access to health care, population displacement, food insecurity, and poor hygiene practices.

GBV is endemic in South Sudan, where years of conflict have increased the vulnerability of women and girls. Many of these abuses occur when women and girls undertake survival activities, such as fetching water. Especially in displacement settings, they also face increased risks of GBV linked to overcrowding, lack of lighting and poorly designed facilities, such as latrines.

This new USAID programme aims to address these lifesaving issues by working directly with communities to improve access, change behavior, and increase the well-being, not only of women and girls, but all members of the community.

“USAID serves vulnerable communities with improved water, sanitation and hygiene services to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with poor access to these essential services,” said USAID Mission Director Jeff Bakken. “USAID is also committed to mitigate gender-based violence linked to access to safe water and sanitation facilities,” added Bakken.

Women and girls in South Sudan are typically responsible for collecting water for their families. When forced to walk long distances to access functioning boreholes, they are often put at great risk of GBV. Improving the quality and management of boreholes and drilling new ones to increase proximity to communities can greatly enhance the safety of women and children.

“This collaboration with USAID can also address harmful social norms such as gender inequality by encouraging women’s meaningful participation in managing resources, such as water,” explained Antonio Torres, IOM South Sudan WASH Programme Coordinator.

Similarly, by incorporating more women in leadership structures, such as water management committees, WASH programming will encourage processes that take into consideration the concerns of women and vulnerable individuals while also empowering the voices of women in their communities.

IOM teams have already deployed to Mayom and Kapoeta to assess needs and opportunities for integrated WASH and GBV prevention responses. In North, South, and East Kapoeta counties – which saw more than 3,000 cases of cholera in 2017 – IOM identified more than 40 locations for WASH programmes that can mitigate future outbreaks of diseases and provide opportunities to partner with local non-governmental organizations to promote continuity of WASH services and prevention of GBV.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Office of Migration (IOM).

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Stabilization Facility for Libya finalizes the rehabilitation of three schools in Ubari

The Stabilization Facility for Libya (SFL) has rehabilitated three schools in Ubari, South Libya, and handed them over to the Municipality.

During the ceremony, which took place on Monday in one of the rehabilitated centers, Althanwia School, the Acting Mayor of Ubari municipality, Mr. Abou Baker Gansou stated:

“I would like to congratulate the residents of Ubari after the end of the rehabilitation of these schools and I call on all the people of Ubari to maintain and protect the facilities.”

As a result of the armed conflict in 2014, the three schools, Al-Qurania, Almarkazeiha and Althanwia, were scarcely serviceable. SFL rehabilitated the buildings, closing cracks and holes, replacing doors and windows, and renovating damaged areas.

“I would like to thank all those who contributed to the reconstruction efforts in Ubari particularly the Government of National Accord, UNDP and the companies that implemented the project. It was completed in record time, despite all the challenges the implementing companies faced,” added Mr. Gansou.

In addition to the rehabilitation of these schools, through the SFL the Government has delivered a prefab school to the municipality of Ubari, rehabilitated the Ubari General Hospital and the women’s center, and delivered two ambulances. The Facility is now working on the reconstruction of the public market.

Led by the Government of National Accord (GNA) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Facility is an immediate stabilization initiative which provides quick rehabilitation of critical infrastructure and delivery of equipment to support local authorities to improve its services to their citizens.​

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

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Humanitarian Coordinator gravely concerned over six missing aid workers in South Sudan

The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Alain Noudéhou has expressed grave concern over six aid workers who went missing on Sunday, 17 December 2017, on the road between Wau and Raja in South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal region.

The six aid workers, including one international and five national staff, working for two international and one national aid organisations, were travelling on Raja-Wau road when they went missing. There were reports of armed clashes at the time of the incident. The aid agencies were implementing food security, livelihoods, health, and nutrition interventions in a region with some of the highest malnutrition rates in South Sudan.

The Humanitarian Coordinator calls for the swift and safe return of the missing aid workers. He also reiterates the requirement on all parties to respect the neutrality of on-going humanitarian operations and facilitate safe and unhindered access for humanitarian workers providing life-saving aid to vulnerable people throughout the country.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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