USAID-VISTAS Shutdown Activities In Greater Lakes Region

“We were expecting VISTAS to continue with peace dialogue with local communities, because the conflicts which they were mitigating among the communities in Lakes region has not yet come to an end".

USAID-VISTAS Shutdown Activities In Greater Lakes Region
USAID-VISTAS Country Director Chris and peace and reconciliation advisor Poth Dumic during inauguration of traditional town court in Rumbek. [Gurtong photo]

By Mabor Riak Magok

Rumbek, 15/03/2019 [Gurtong] -USAID Viable Support to Transition and Stability (VISTAS) has officially shutdown their offices and activities in Greater Lakes Region this Friday.
 
Speaking during the farewell ceremony, the USAID-VISTAS Regional Program Officer Kachuol Deer, confirms to partners that VISTAS has closed its activities in the region and the Juba office will close in May 2019.
 
Yousra El Ghoroyeb, UNMISS Civil Affairs Department, acknowledged the great role played by the organization in peace-building, especially in Lakes State. 
 
Program Manager of Oxfam, Mandela Nelson, is disappointed about the departure of VISTAS from Lakes State.
 
He hopes that the Management would get more funding and resume operation soon. 
 
Sabah Ruben is a Project Officer for Initiative for Rural Empowerment or IRE. Ruben said VISTAS has been offering capacity building to IRE and the shutdown will affect them greatly.
 
VISTAS programs are designed to strengthen citizens’ confidence and capacity to address the causes and consequences of political conflict, violence and instability. 
 
One of the local chiefs in Western Lakes State, Majok Maper, told Gurtong that the closedown of USAID-VISTAS is a great challenge to communities affected by violence in Western Lakes State.
 
“We were expecting VISTAS to continue with peace dialogue with local communities, because the conflicts which they were mitigating among the communities in Lakes region has not yet come to an end. It was because of their intervention for community to dialogue that’s why there is relative peace achieved and people are now being transported to their ancestors land for resettlement as per resolutions signed last year”. Said Majok
 
Majok said, the USAID-Funded program VISTAS has made tremendous achievements for the communities of Western Lakes State which include construction of traditional town courts, women Centres, Auctions, IT Hubs as well as peace and reconciliation between the sections of Kok Awach and Pacuar, Gony and Thuyic, Panyar and Nyuei, Durbar and Durchek of greater Rumbek East Counties.
 
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