Training for a Better Future in Blue Nile State


Participants at the Khartoum Vocational Training Centre. Photo credit: Afra Osman, UNDP

Last November, twenty three year old Alhindi Abdalla arrived at the Khartoum Vocational Training Centre along with 41 youth from Elhay Elgnoubi, Rosairis locality in Blue Nile State to start their two month vocational training in auto-mechanics and auto-electrics. The training aimed at  addressing  the high levels of unemployment (amongst youth, in particular) as well as those youth who are most at risk of being drawn into conflict by presenting them with livelihood opportunities. The participants were divided into two areas of specialization: auto-mechanics and auto-electricity. The specialty was decided following a consultation session which explored their skills, desires and the role this training will play in improving their lives. Additional consideration was given to the possible market opportunities that are available in Blue Nile State.

On 18 December, an event was organized by the Supreme Council for Vocational Training and Apprenticeships (SCVTA) and SDDRC, in partnership with the UNDP Community Security and Arms Control (CSAC) project, thanks to generous contributions from Japan. The event was attended by honorable guests from the Ministry of Human Resources for Development and Labor, the Embassy of Japan, Sudan DDR Commission, UNDP Country Director and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The Deputy Ambassador of the Embassy of Japan expressed how Sudan is an important country where its stability can ensure peace and stability in the region. “Sudan is a country rich in natural resources and human resources,” he added. He stressed the importance of this training not just in terms of building the capacity of the human resources but on the aftermath of the training. The students shared similar thoughts on how this vocational training has impacted them to build themselves and the community.

They were able to briefly express this through the presentation of a drama which was performed by three students. The drama depicted a scene of two students going back to Elhay Elgnoubi (their community) where they are met by a friend who inquires about the training they received. The newly trained students spoke about their future aspirations and how this training was an opportunity to start a new life for them and for the community as a whole.

During separate interviews with the students, they expressed how this training will lead to other economic activities in their community. Alhindi Abdalla - now an auto-mechanic student - shares his vision “Before the start of this training , I did not know anything about car mechanics. Now, I know exactly what I will do once I am back. I will start by helping all the ministries and governmental offices in Rosairis locality by fixing their cars but first I’ll begin with the hospital ambulances.”  

After graduating from the course, the students will be provided with toolkits which will equip them with the basic tools they can use in applying what they have learned. Many of the students though aspire to open their own shops once they are back, yet felt that they should go through an apprenticeship with pre-existing mechanic shops. Al Hindi could not agree more, he says “The tools will allow me to open my own auto-electricity shop. I am planning to hire other people from my area in this shop, and teach them what I have learned from this training.”

In her speech Ms. Yvonne Helle, UNDP Sudan Country Director expressed how UNDP seeks partnerships for activities that provide youth with a future “Turning them into productive citizens.” She also made an additional visit to the Vocational Training Centre and interacted with the students. In this regard, she stressed the meaningful partnership with Japan on the DDR and Community Security and Arms Control project as being invaluable.

The positive spirit surrounding these students is indescribable and it seems that they are indeed on their way to becoming a stronger and more positive power among their communities. In fact, some of the students mentioned that the next batch of training should focus on general electricity to help them fix Rosairis’ main road lighting system.