24 June 2011 - After completing a six-week driving course in Aweil, Northern Bahr El-Ghazal State, ex-combatants in the Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programme were today awarded certificates and driving licenses.
The activity in the state capital, which was attended by 14 former soldiers, was organized by the South Sudan DDR Commission (SSDDRC) and sponsored by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
"As long as you have a strong will and interest to be drivers, you will do well," said SSDDRC State Chairman Wilson Lual Lual. "South Sudan needs skilled personnel like you to boost development right after its independence."
Mr. Lual commended Nyankiir Transport and Construction Company for conducting the training, adding that the 14 participants joined other ex-combatants in the state to have successfully completed the DDR process. He cautioned the new drivers to avoid driving under the influence of alcohol.
State Education Advisor Wany Anyit Majok congratulated the graduates, adding that the exercise was the first of its kind to take place in Aweil. He said there was a need to organize similar courses in different disciplines, including carpentry, mechanics, masonry, and farming.
"You are visionaries who have realized opportunities ahead with the independence of South Sudan", said IOM head John Muchiri, adding that ex-combatants would be considered if any vacancies for drivers opened up at his agency.
Graduate Simon Bak thanked the SSDDRC, IOM and other partners for their role in organizing the training. "When we started the DDR process, we doubted of its success, but now we are here as drivers ready to start our lives as civilians."
The UNDDR programme and SSDDRC launched DDR activities in the state in July 2010, targeting some 2,600 ex-combatants.