National Archives

Participant holding a proposal of a new building at the training on archives

Every country needs to preserve its records and we are supporting South Sudan to establish their archival collection, including constructing a landmark national building.

Archives and records management programmes support accountability and transparency, enabling access to essential records that document government decisions and transactions over time. UNESCO is leading this joint UN project to develop South Sudan’s archives, working with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, UNOPS and the Rift Valley Institute.

This three-phase project is funded by the Norwegian Government

  • Phase 1- (Nov 2012 – Aug 2013) is completed
  • Phase 2 - scheduled for completion in June 2014, and
  • Phase 3 - constructing the new archives building, should begin in July 2014 and be finished by July 2015, in time for South Sudan’s fourth anniversary of independence.

Our work covers assistance in a range of areas, including:

  • Sorting, cataloguing and safe storage of the collection
  • Technical training and policy
  • Raising awareness of the role of archives
  • Design and construction of the new National Archives building

Learn more about:  Preserving the nation’s history in archives (Radio Miraya)

Sorting, cataloguing and safe storage of the collection

Archive collection damaged by termites

At independence, much of South Sudan’s existing records were in a fragile state, with some material stored in tents or leaking buildings. Immediate action was required to secure the current collection as well as finding suitable storage for the new records.

The archival material is now safe in storage facilities that were rehabilitated with co-funding from the Netherland’s Prince Claus Fund.

The documents salvaged from the tent are stored in two air-conditioned containers at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. Around 80 per cent of the collection has been sorted and catalogued and secondary sorting is complete for a further 40 per cent.

Technical training and policy

Lecture to the national staff on the archives

A first-class national archive collection needs a team of national experts who have all the background and latest techniques in this important work.

UNESCO is working to build local capacity in archive conservation and management, including developing and delivering technical training for archives staff.

We are also assisting with establishing policies for the new collection.

Design and construction of the new National Archives building

Training to the national staff on how to operate an archive

Designing a significant national building for a new country is an important role. To ensure that South Sudan’s new national archives building would truly reflect the people and culture of the new nation, UNESCO conducted an international competition for the design of the new building.

The winners were Beny Architecture (South Sudan) and Sitios e Formas (Portugal). The works start in July 2014, with an official opening is planned for 9 July 2015 to mark the country’s fourth birthday. Watch video: Winning Entry: National Archives, Republic of South Sudan

National Museum

Workshop on the content of the future museum organized by the team from the British firm Metaphor

The museum will tell the story of South Sudan and its people.

UNESCO is working with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports to develop both the collection and the building that will house it.

In September 2012, the British Council funded a team from the British firm Metaphor to visit South Sudan to guide preparation of a concept design for the project and consult with the community at large on the content for the museum.

To engage as many people as possible, the team gave public lectures at universities, organized youth workshops, met with politicians and government officials and conducted field visits. Social media platforms, including Facebook, are involving young people in the discussion, including the many South Sudanese living abroad.

The feedback will inform the design of a museum exhibition that combines traditional with contemporary, oral tradition and history with new technologies and modern media – an exhibition that is a laboratory for experiencing the rich heritage of South Sudan.

South Sudan’s travelling museum

Building the collection for a new national museum is a project that should involve all the community. With this in mind, a travelling exhibition has been prepared and will tour the country to show people what a museum is like and to collect items for future displays. The pilot phases covers three states – Eastern Equatoria, Western Bahr el Ghazal and Western Equatoria.

Communities can discuss how they wish to be represented in the museum, compile video footage, photographs, stories and objects for display and see what other areas have contributed. The project is funded by the Open Society Initiative East Africa (OSIEA), with extra support from French Government.

In April 2014, UNESCO hosted training for 14 resource people who will support the project. In due course, the travelling exhibition will visit all 10 states. There are also plans to create a virtual electronic museum so that more people can view the collection.

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