UNAMID, UNDP Provide Vocational Skills to North Darfur Prisoners

By United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
UNAMID, UNDP Provide Vocational Skills to North Darfur Prisoners
UNAMID, UNDP Provide Vocational Skills to North Darfur Prisoners

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, December 18, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- On 17 December 2013, inmates from Shallah Federal Prison in El Fasher, North Darfur, graduated from an intensive training course during which they acquired various vocational skills, including in welding, masonry and electrical work, in two new workshops that UNAMID recently constructed.

UNAMID implemented this project with UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Government of Sudan support to empower prisoners at risk of recidivism. Staff members from UNAMID's Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) section guided the programme, while Sudanese Police conducted the training.

The Chief of UNAMID's DDR section, Mr. Aderemi Adekoya, spoke during the graduation ceremony, noting that the course's completion marks the end of one of the largest vocational skills workshops ever implemented in a Darfur prison. “We believe in the reintegration of inmates," he said, explaining that Darfur's conflict has increased delinquency rates. "It is a priority to change the lives of these prisoners when they are released on completion of their sentences,” he added.

UNDP's representative, Mr. Christopher Laker, also spoke during the ceremony. “This project is an opportunity for the inmates to start a new life with their families," he said, noting that the impact of this project extends not merely to the inmates themselves, but also to the communities to which the prisoners will return once they have completed their sentences.

As part of the Mission's approach to support peace at the community level, UNAMID's DDR section has been implementing similar workshops across Darfur. In addition, DDR has been working on a violence-reduction strategy that has taken several forms in practice, most notably in community-based, labour-intensive projects.

These community projects are designed to support the efforts of the Government of Sudan in addressing the needs of at-risk young people and other vulnerable groups in communities and in camps for displaced people. The projects focus not only on building vocational skills, and in many cases facilitating infrastructure development, but also on fostering reconciliation across Darfur.