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50 internally displaced teachers return to South Sudan

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May 4, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — Some 50 internally displaced (IDP) teachers and 200 of their dependents have been assisted home by IOM to South Sudan from Khartoum since November 2006.

Many of these teachers have spent almost two decades displaced in Khartoum after fleeing to the North due to the long running civil war between North and South, which ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in early January 2005. The educators’ return and placement into teaching jobs was facilitated by IOM in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS).

An additional 28 teachers and their dependents are preparing to return to teaching jobs in Unity and Eastern Equatoria States in May.

This long term reintegration programme in Sudan, which is currently funded exclusively by Denmark’s Development Agency (DANIDA), follows on IOM’s long running experience of implementing similar programmes in other post-conflict countries such as Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Afghanistan.

The aim is to attract qualified and highly qualified IDP and Sudanese diaspora candidates from the health, education, engineering and vocational sectors wishing to return to Sudan, particularly to war-affected areas of the Three Areas and South Sudan, and match their qualifications with concrete job vacancies offered to them by public or private sector employers.

Great efforts are being made not only to reach out to the South Sudanese members of the IDP community but also to the Sudanese diaspora living in East Africa, Europe, the United States and Australia. The programme actively solicits job vacancies from public and private sector employers across South Sudan.

Recent events such as a videoconference between London and Khartoum entitled “Dialogue with the Diaspora” organized by IOM on 28 April, brought Sudanese medical professionals currently living in the United Kingdom together with representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health (GoNU) Dr. Tabitha Boutros, Federal Minister of Health, Dr. Kamal Abdul-Gadir, Director of the National Recruitment Committee of Khartoum Hospital, the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Ministry of Health Dr. Theophilus Ochang Lotti, and Dr. Taj-Eldin El-Mahadi, General Secretary of the Secretariat of Sudanese Working Abroad.

This important videoconference provided participants from both sides for the first time, the opportunity to exchange information and share views on the different ways that Sudanese medical professionals among the diaspora can contribute to the development of health services and health care in Sudan.

Having invited the Minister of Health for the Government of South Sudan (GoSS), Dr. Theophilus Ochang to Khartoum for the videoconference with the Sudanese diaspora, IOM took the opportunity on 29 April, to arrange a separate meeting with him and a group of South Sudanese IDP doctors and other health professionals currently living in Khartoum and interested in returning home to South Sudan.

In an emotional speech Minister Ochang told the doctors and nurses how badly needed their services are to save lives and rebuild the health care system in the South. He ended his speech saying: “This is not an undertaking of a few years, it is a job of a lifetime”.

(IOM)

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