Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Located some 80 kilometres west of South Sudan’s capital Juba, Rokon has recently been rocked by intercommunal feuds between farmers and cattle herders, at least in part induced by climate change prompting large-scale movements of the sometimes crop-munching beasts.

These concerns came to light when the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) organized a protection of civilians training for 50 people living in the area, including chiefs, local authorities and representatives of women and youth.

”When cattle keepers lead their animals to greener pastures, there are sometimes clashes with local farmers who are keen to protect their produce,” observed Lauro Ohiyu, a representative of the peacekeeping mission.

Momur Kenyi, a Rokon resident, believes that the government needs to support pastoralists so that they won’t feel compelled to move into farming areas.

“That could be avoided if cattle keepers are made aware of modern ways of rearing animals, such as ranching, and if sufficient water can be availed where they live,” he said.

A general lack of the precious liquid, essential for the wellbeing of animals and humans alike, can be spotted when looking at swamps and streams running dry due to heatwaves and other climatic changes.

“It’s an environmental disaster in the making. Unless we plant more trees, and now, it will be difficult to reverse this process,” alerted Samuel Jada, a Catholic Deacon.

Another human-made challenge with far-reaching consequences is the harmful cultural practice of early and all-too-often forced marriages. With these arrangements frequently resulting in premature pregnancies, girls and young women are not only subject to numerous health risks but are also deprived of school, vocational trainings and other learning opportunities.

This devastating trend, perpetuating gender inequality, has not gone unnoticed by Esther Frazer Ladu, another resident attending the training.

“I will continue to work tirelessly to raise our community’s awareness on the fundamental importance of making sure that all our children have access to education,” she said.

Conflict mitigation and community policing techniques were also discussed by those participating in the workshop.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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