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Mercy Corps has graduated over 150 youth from various vocational trainings in greater Mundri.

By Noah Issa Philip

Mercy Corps international, in collaboration with Active Youth Agency (AYA), has graduated 178 youth from various vocational activities such as carpentry and joinery, tailoring, saloon and simple auto mechanic. Mercy Corps, in collaboration with AYA, has organized vocational trainings for the youth of both counties Mundri West and East to improve their capacities in various fields so that they can realize their dreams under the strengthening Resilience in Agriculture, livelihoods and markets through local institution in Mundri and Koch (STREAM) program phase one.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony in Lui Payam of Mundri East County, western Equatoria state, the mercy corps FSL project Manager Mr. Abu Rufas said the STREAM program was designed to assist the communities in becoming self-sufficient and independent of food aid.

"The STREAM program is not an emergency program, this is the program designed to strengthen the livelihoods of the communities so that they would forget about depending on food aid but for them to have knowledge and skills so that they would stand on their own feet," he said.

Mr. Rufas went on to say that the program was designed to facilitate and capacity build community-based self-help groups because there are no microfinance institutions or banking facilities in both Mundri West and Mundri East counties, and that through the STREAM program, community members were trained and 47 self-help groups were formed so that group members could access to credit services.

Meanwhile during the graduation ceremony, Mundri East County Commissioner Hon. Margaret Fozia Emmanuel has pleaded AYA and Mercy Corps to extend their services to the communities of Lakama’di and Minga Payams in Mundri East County and to involve Mvolo county in the next phase, so that the youths from those areas/Payams could benefit from the vocational trainings provided to other youths from both Mundri East and West counties.

Margaret Fozia has also urged holdout groups to allow humanitarian access so that communities in rebel-controlled areas can access basic youth needs such as vocational trainings to help them become self-sufficient and pay their children's school fees.

While on his part the youth representative Mr. Sylivan Gadi, has appreciated the efforts put in place to empower youth through the vocational training rendered to the youth in which they are here to wittiness their graduation.

Mr. Gadi further added that when young people band together to practice good deeds, it promotes youth development.

It is now time for the youth of greater Mundri Counties to put the past behind them and work as brothers and sisters to bring more developmental activities into their Counties. "Whenever young people comes together to practice positive things it bring development," he said

Mr. Bashir Simon, a Mercy Corps program participant, has expressed his gratitude to the two organizations AYA and Mercy Corps for coming to Greater Mundri and providing training in simple mechanics, tailoring, carpentry, and saloon. These skills will enable the youth to support their families by feeding them and paying for their medical expenses. They will also enable them to pay for their children's school fees.

He went on to say that the trainings they received would not end with them, but that they would be expected to pass on their knowledge and skills to other youth who did not have the opportunity to be trained. Also, mercy corps and AYA should not think that the trainings they provided would end there, because the world is moving forward, and if mercy corps and AYA have noticed that there are new things coming up, they should not forget about Greater Mundri youth.

The program participants of the STREAM program were drawn from 8 Payams of Mundri West and East counties of western Equatoria state and 96 youth in Koch county of unity state are yet to be graduated under the same program of STREAM.

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