The Government of Kenya has reaffirmed its commitment to the Republic of South Sudan/IGAD Capacity Enhancement Initiative. The Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning, Ms Anne Waiguru, said Kenya was ready to participate in phase two of the project which is expected to begin in the course of 2014.
The Cabinet Secretary made the remarks in a speech read on her behalf by Ms Jane Chege, the Director of Human Resource Management in the Ministry during an exit workshop held in Nairobi for 26 Kenyan Civil Service Support Officers (CSSOs) who had been deployed in various sectors of the South Sudanese public service.
Ms Waiguru said the two years spent in South Sudan was a learning experience for the CSSOs in addition to the original assignment of mentoring and coaching their South Sudanese counterparts.
“It is my firm belief that as returning expatriates, you bring with you a wealth of experience to your work, tasks and roles. As a government, we are proud of you for successfully completing your tour of duty in South Sudan,” said the CS.In her speech, UNDP South Sudan Deputy Country Director Amanda Serumaga said the CSSOs had been a catalyst for change in many ways, adding that their efforts would remain a positive driver for growth and development in South Sudan.
“As a partnership among the Republic of South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda and UNDP, this innovative initiative of capacity building through on-the-job mentoring and coaching has positively impacted the lives of countless people you may never meet again,” said Ms Serumaga.
Ms Serumaga said many successes had been recorded in the institutions where the CSSOs had been working, adding that much continues to happen as a result of their efforts and those of their South Sudanese counterparts.
She said the project had attracted a lot of regional and international interest, become a subject of research and wide discussion because it promises to be replicable in post-conflict capacity building through South-South Cooperation.
“None of this would have been possible without your consistent efforts and commitments. You have all been an integral part of this success and we salute you,” Serumaga said. Earlier, while opening the workshop, Mr John Itorong, an adviser in the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development said the CSSOs had helped transform civil service culture in South Sudan.
Mr Itorong said the officers had done a good job despite many challenges such as lack of terms or job descriptions in specific areas, absence of strategic plans and difficult living conditions.
He said three of 10 states were in dire need of help due to the current conflict, adding that the RSS/IGAD project should be reconfigured to consider this. Also present at the workshop were the Charge d’Affaires at the Norwegian embassy in Nairobi, Ms Hilde Solbakken, and Ms Angeth Acol de Dut, the Undersecretary for Public Service and Human Resource Development.
The RSS/IGAD project is an innovative capacity building initiative whereby experienced civil servants from Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda are partnered with their South Sudanese counterparts whom they are expected to mentor and coach on best practices in the civil service for a period of two years.
Phase 1 of the project which started just before independence in July 2011 had 200 CSSOs with Kenya providing 80 and Uganda and Ethiopia 60 each. Funding for the project is provided by Norway through UNDP South Sudan.
The officers were drawn from diverse cadres including doctors, nurses, administrators, ICT officers, records management officers, human resource management/development officers, public communications experts, film officers, executive secretaries, air traffic controllers, veterinary doctors, veterinary laboratory technologists, finance officers, economists, legal draftsmen/officers, standards officers and labour officers/inspectors.