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UNESCO donates ICT equipment to S. Sudan National Archives

Author: Okot Emmanuel | Published: Monday, February 14, 2022

The equipment include six laptop computers, five HP scanners and a printer. Photo: Okot Emmanuel/Eye Radio

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has handover ICT equipment to the South Sudan National archives to enable digitization and preservation of document.

The equipment worth 30,000 US dollars include six laptop computers, five HP scanners and a printer.

According to the Acting Director General at South Sudan National Archives, since independence they have only about nine scanners and the equipment worn out scaling down the process of digitizing and preserving document that date back to colonial time.

Youssef Fulgensio Onyalla says numerous challenges have been hindering digitization and preservation of archives in the country.

These include; little space, poor infrastructure for archives, lack of budgeting by the government and lack of equipment to man digitization among others

Speaking during the handover of the ICT equipment on Friday, Fulgensio applauds UNESCO for the donation saying this will expedite the process of digitizing and maintaining data at the center.

“With these equipment we want to transform all the data to electronic records so that we can go to other steps to build our website and also we are now digitizing this document for the purpose of preserving them”, Youssef Fulgensio told Eye Radio on Friday.

He explains some of the challenges facing the National archive center in its effort to digitize and preserve the documents.

“We are facing some challenges because the period the machines had been working, they over work, every day from morning up to evening  for almost ten years.”

“So those equipment developed problem and some of them were no longer in good shape and that made the process of digitizing the document reduce”, Fulgensio.

For his part Becu Thomas Alex the national program Officer at UNESCO said;

“The work of national achieve falls within UNESCO mandate and so when UNESCO came onboard in 2012 we are happy to work with the government to ensure that South Sudan have a national achieve information and accessible to the people”, Mr. Becu Thomas stated.

Experts says government records in South Sudan suffered serious damage during the 1983-2005 civil war in southern Sudan.

Many of these records were gathered together in Juba in the 1970s and early 1980s following the first civil war in the south.

During the second civil war, they were scattered, disordered and sometimes destroyed.

Tens of thousands of documents were stored in sacks in damp basements, damaged by water and attacked by termites.

The contents of the archive range from the 1900s to the 1980s, are often the only detailed records of previous local Southern administrations in existence.

The archive forms the primary historical resource for the development of South Sudanese national identity.

Emergency work on the restoration of the Archive began before Independence, in 2008, during the period of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Following the independence of South Sudan in 2011, a new era for the Archive project began with the support of the Government of Norway for the construction of a permanent South Sudan National Archive Building.

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