[ Base on the reports from UNMISS, National Unity Day@Facebook and Gurtong ]
Juba – 26 January 2019
The 4th National Unity Day sporting activities start today in Juba to promote peace and social cohesion among South Sudanese youth.
The sporting event is organized by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The sporting activities running up from January 26th to February 3rd will feature 12 teams from across the country competing in several categories under the theme “sports for peace and social cohesion.”
About four hundred participants from all the states taking part in all the categories arrived Juba ahead of the opening ceremony expected this afternoon.
The twelve football teams were selected from Juba, Wau, Malakal, Bentiu, Jonglei, Torit Yambio, Kuacjok Aweil, Rumbek, Pibor and Abyei Administrative area.
They will compete in men’s football, women’s volleyball, and athletics for both men and women.
The eight athletics teams were selected from Juba, Wau, Aweil, Yambio, Torit, Bentiu, Pibor and Rumbek. Four women volleyball teams were selected from Abyei, Malaka, Jonglei and Kuacjok.
Undersecretary Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Agum Rin Mabeny said that the objective of the National Unity Day competition is to promote the integration of diverse populations through sporting activities.
“National Unity Day is going to promote the integration of diverse population through the sports activities and the ministry together with the partners is working towards achieving that goal,” said Ms. Mabeny.
The annual event is supposed to be hosted by a different town every year, but it is again being hosted by Juba due to the insecurity in some parts of the country, she said.
Director General in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, and the Chief Coordinator of NUD Edward Settimo Yugu said that this year’s event is expected to be bigger than the previous three because more sponsors have joined in the organizing process.
He said the number of sponsors has jumped up to about eight from last year’s three.
Shinya Tomonari, JICA’s Chief Representative, stressed that the event can unite people regardless of their tribal, political and cultural differences.
“We hope that this event provides the people of South Sudan with an opportunity to appreciate the diversity of South Sudan to be inspired by the sportsmanship and the fair play by the youths, and show support and reaffirms one’s commitment for bringing peace to South Sudan,” said Tomonari.
He said the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports conducted monitoring visits to three locations to get feedback from state governments and local community which helped in the planning of sporting events.
Tomonari called on the public to attend the activities and help spread the messages of peace, reconciliation and unity.
The National Unity Day was initiated in 2015 by the Ministry of Youth Culture and Sports with support from JICA.
The 4th National Unity Day is organized by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in collaboration with Japan International Development Agency (JICA). The event is being supported by UNMISS which helped in improving the playing grounds.
Other supporters include UNDP, IOM and JIN, RCS, Bollore Logistics, Universal Printers, and Zain South Sudan