Transitional Demobilization and Reintegration Program
When a DDR specialist meets another DDR specialistů
June 2012

A captive audience listens to Jeff Kajima's presentation

In Juba, technical staff from neighboring countries share their experiences with colleagues in the South Sudan DDR Commission

On Sunday May 20, a delegation of 13 persons converged from Kigali, Bujumbura, Kinshasa, Addis Abeba, Nairobi and Washington on Juba, the capital of the Republic of South Sudan. The team members’ objectives were clear: each was bringing a specific skill to the table and each was going to mentor a few colleagues in the South Sudan DDR Commission (SSDDRC).

This is very different than the usual way”, said Claudia Breitung of the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) which provides advisory services to the SSDDRC. “Usually, they bring consultants who do the work and then leave”.

A participant adds a suggestion for a recommendation
on the board.
Un participant ajoute une suggestion de recommandation sur le panneau.
Evelyn Mbata introduces herself during the
opening session

Indeed this mission was unusual in that the technical advice was not provided by international experts hired by the World Bank or other large institutions. Instead, the TDRP and African Union coordinated the visit by several specialists from the DDR commissions in Burundi, DRC, and Rwanda, who were able to provide their first-hand knowledge to their new neighbor.

It was a very good experience.  I wanted to be the first from the DRC to come to this new country and to share what I know about DDR”, says Evelyn Mbata, Communications specialist in the UEPNDDR in Kinshasa.  Evelyn shared her knowledge on how a DDR program can establish its communication activities, and went into more details about specific programs for child soldiers and women.  “The staff of the SSDDRC knows what it wants to do, but they need more capacity”, she added.

Adolphe Hasabindero of Burundi and Jeff Kajima of the DRC together have many years of experience in setting up and managing systems to collect, organize, and retrieve data for DDR programs. They provided guidance to Kuot Kuot Deng, who is in charge of the management information system (MIS) and information technology department in the South Sudan DDR Commission.   Deng expressed his appreciation: “We shared a lot of ideas. I was able to see the advantages and disadvantages of our current system. The main issue we have is to train our staff. We’re only two”.

Elizabeth Kissam chairs a session during the workshop
Participants pose outside the meeting room

William Deng Deng, Chairman of the SSDDRC, participated in most plenary sessions, attended by about 40 participants each day. He noted that “the Government of South Sudan has made DDR a priority. So the support we received thanks to the African Union and the World Bank/TDRP is imperative.

Mentoring on psychosocial components of a DDR program was provided by Harald Hinkel, TDRP, and Nina Winkler of the organization Vivo.  This is one area where little has been accomplished in past DDR programs and there is still a lot to learn.

Benjamin Burckhart, who organized the mission on behalf of the TDRP, spoke enthusiastically of the mission’s outcome: “It was certainly a lot of work to coordinate everybody’s schedule and travel, and to arrange the various meetings here in Juba. But in the end, the result was so positive that the efforts were well worth it”.

Mr. Deng Deng concluded with a call for continued engagement from both the technical experts and the international community. “The visit of the African Union and World Bank has raised the profile of DDR in the government. We will continue to dialogue with donors and development partners. We hope to conduct many more similar missions in the very near future.

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See video interviews with three of the participants in this mission:

Inteview Mentoring Mission Part 1 Kuot Kuot Deng, IT and MIS Manager at the SS DDR Commission Interview Mentoring Mission Part 2
William Deng Deng,
Chairman of the South
Sudan DDR Commission
Kuot Kuot Deng, IT and
MIS Manager at the SS DDR Commission
Claudia Breitung of BICC
Germany, advisor to the
SS DDR Commission

 

 

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