United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon paid a special visit to the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Juba in February as part of his official visit to South Sudan, where he met with the country’s leaders and appealed for peace.
Speaking to a group of children at the Hope Primary School located inside the PoC, he recounted his own childhood growing up during the Korean War and challenged the leaders and development partners present to invest in education for children.
“I’m very humbled to see so many children studying under very difficult circumstances,” he said. “They are the hope of South Sudan. Let’s invest wisely for their education so that they can grow up and work for their country, for Africa, for the world. Who knows? One day they might become President, Prime Minister, even Secretary General of the United Nations.”
As the Secretary General toured the PoC and visited with local leaders, Boda Boda Talk Talk, the hyper-local humanitarian information audio program supported by Internews, was right by his side, covering his historic visit. BBTT was there when Ban Ki-Moon met with South Sudanese leaders of the site such as John Wiyual, the designated camp chairman of one of two PoCs administered by the United Nations in Juba.
“[Secretary General Ban Ki- Moon] gave us a very strong message that from now until the end of March the UN will work hard to bring peace in our home country South Sudan,” said Mr. Wiyual.
Many residents had hoped for a special address to the whole population in the PoC. Gai John, a PoC resident, said, “I thought that when Ban Ki Moon came [to the PoC] he would address the entire community about his visit to South Sudan and how they can support the peace process. Unfortunately, his visit was very precise and short.”
The Secretary General’s visit was his second, after he visited South Sudan in May 2014. On that trip, he toured the now closed Tong Ping PoC site, also in Juba.