Thai peacekeepers teach sustainable farming in South Sudan


Thai engineers attached to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan are teaching local farmers better and sustainable farming practices in hopes of preventing famine and disease.

The efforts of the Thai engineers are an example of how developing countries could help each other through sharing expertise, experience and other resources. This is often referred to as South-South cooperation. Thailand has been both the giver and the beneficiary of that kind of collaboration.

South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011, which was followed by a civil war until a ceasefire was signed last year. The African country is still unstable and underprivileged, explaining the presence of United Nations Peacekeepers.

Thai peacekeepers and engineers have been repairing critical infrastructure. But Thailand is an agricultural powerhouse – the Kingdom is the only net food exporter in Asia – and its engineers have also been training local communities, especially displaced people, how to grow their own food. Their goal is to equip people with skills to become economically independent and embrace a sustainable way of living.

“It is about a balanced way of living and is based on the key principles of motivation, reasonableness and prudence along with morality and knowledge. More importantly, these principles could be applied to any level of society to make sure they are empowered with the tools needed to forge a prosperous life,” said Major Tiwa Kampeera, Team Leader of the intervention.

“We, therefore, felt that passing down the knowledge we have about sustainable agricultural practices would benefit local communities here for generations to come,” the major confirmed.

Jaak Buom Gathuak, a displaced person residing in the Juba camp for internally displaced persons, who participated in the training sessions, said that he had been given a skill for life.

“The economic situation in South Sudan, especially for displaced people, is dire,” Jaak said. “Many of us had to give up our homes, our education during the civil war and lack the training required to start a trade. With the skills I have acquired through these workshops, I am confident that I will be able to farm successfully and teach other community members these good practices as well.”

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