The December 2013 conflict in South Sudan had a significant impact on the DCR program in the year 2014. In Malakal and Pagak program assets were damaged and destroyed (especially in Malakal) or used by opposition forces (in Pagak) and entire communities fled. The Malakal and Pagak programs were unable to continue and were transmitted to Central Equatoria and Western Bahr el Gazal where the situation was relatively calm. Lainya County hosted a large number of internally displaced people, which put a strain on DCR-supported community facilities such as water points. In April 2014, Western Bahr el Ghazal experienced fighting in Mapel, which led to a temporary cessation in the implementation of activities.
Still, DCR played constructive roles in the resolution of land conflicts, increased the economic wellbeing of some beneficiaries and improved access to basic services. The program activities encouraged community engagement, participation in service delivery and community dialogue. By strengthening local governance systems and providing essential basic services, DCR contributed to mitigating some of the drivers of conflict and supported the peaceful resolution of community disputes and thus promoted stability.
Education – Seven schools in targeted communities were rehabilitated or constructed and 44 teachers were trained.
Health – Eight health facilities were rehabilitated and 93 Community Based Organizations (CSOs) were supported in their advocacy for relevant public health and social policy changes.
Water and sanitation – A total of 32,446 people gained access to water sources.
Livelihoods – 33 Village Saving and Loan Associations (VSLAs) and 50 farmers’ associations received training. 150 households gained access to inputs and knowledge for off-farm alternatives for income generation. In response to the large number of internally displaced people in Lainya County, DCR provided inputs to 1,000 IDP farmers who joined the existing farmer producer groups, allowing them to quickly plant as the wet season started. An unexpected dry spell in the first agricultural season affected crops such as ground nuts and an unusual abundance of grasshoppers and snails destroyed crops in Lainya. DCR educated farmers on how to limit snails and prevent grasshoppers.DCR played an important role in linking farmers to the market. “The lack of a stable market is a major problem. We are very thankful for the partnership that DCR established with Honey Care Africa, which currently buys our honey”, said bee farmer Joseph Moro Gideon from Limbe.
Community governance – DCR undertakes ongoing community governance activities to mitigate conflict. For example, specific conflict sensitization training for community leaders in Jur River and Lainya Counties contributed to the peaceful resolution of community conflicts. DCR is bringing community members together to discuss challenges and create their own solutions. The engagement of youth was highlighted as a key ongoing activity to provide opportunities for youth to play a meaningful role in community development.
After a period of relative peace in most of the country, violence rocked South Sudan from mid-December which affected reporting, and assessments for partners could not be completed because staff was evacuated from all program areas. The violence also resulted in an influx of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Lainya, putting pressure on the established water sources, food security and schools.
At a global level, South Sudan was part of a ‘New Deal’ agreement, formed by the G7+ (a group of 17 fragile states). DCR members with local partners in Wau participated in the New Deal consultation meetings.
Education – 16 schools were rehabilitated or constructed and 79 teachers were trained. 83% of the targeted Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) and School Management Committees (SMCs) were actively involved in promoting and monitoring equitable access to education. Adult literacy went up. Monitoring data collected in Lainya and Western Bar el Ghazal showed improvements in adult literacy.
Health – The rehabilitation and construction of 12 health facilities as well as the training of health facility staff resulted in reduced travel time for patients and patient satisfaction improved from 60% to 77%. 39 Community Based Organizations (CBOs) were supported in their advocacy for relevant public health and social policy changes.
Water and sanitation – As of the end of 2013, 14 water points have been installed, ensuring that 7,231 households comprising 36,156 people now have access to clean water at schools and in the communities.
Livelihoods – 76 newly trained Village Saving and Loan Associations (VLSAs) and 85 farmers associations resulted in an increase in (agricultural) production and hence in higher income and savings for the farmers involved. Targeted farmers managed to harvest an average of 289 kg of cereals per household, a significant increase compared to the baseline of 80.5 kg of cereals. Nyamouch Giel (mother of 8 children) from Pagak village shares: “2013 was a good year for my corn crops. The production doubled, so I was able to sell my own corn. I am now independently serving the needs of my family.”
113 new households gained access to inputs and knowledge of off-farm alternatives for income generation. Non-agricultural activities included a total of 75 VSLAs with over 1,950 individual members. The groups’ cumulative savings showed a significant increase; approximately 200,000 USD in 2013 versus 30,000 USD in 2012. Most participants were able to send all their children to school, cover medical bills and buy additional food and essential commodities.
Community governance – DCR’s approach to community strengthening increased interaction and eased tensions between community members. Inclusive memberships helped communities to work towards common goals.
2012 was characterised by some highlights in South Sudan, mainly in the program areas of hygiene promotion and livelihood. At the same time, DCR had to deal with some constraints, such as rising and fluctuating costs, closure of the border with Sudan and Ethiopia, road inaccessibility during the rainy season, clashes between government army forces and rebel groups, and an inflow of returnees and refugees in DCR target areas. To go short: external and internal insecurity manifested itself within many of the program areas. This caused delays and difficulties in carrying out planned activities. For example, some construction and rehabilitation activities had to be postponed to 2013.
Education – In 2012 the main focus of DCR was not on education. Even so, three schools were renovated. 56 teachers have been trained on basic education skills and on-the-job-training is on-going.
Health – Central theme of this project area in 2012 was hygiene. To date, 7.231 households have been reached through DCR’s hygiene promotion activities, with an additional 4.050 people benefiting from interventions on this subject in schools. In Upper Nile district, three hygiene promotion campaigns were carried out, reaching 2.015 people. In Central Equatoria State another 9.500 people were reached with hygiene messages. DCR together with local partners organised the “global hand washing day”, where 650 people learned important hygiene lessons.
Next to that, DCR built and renovated four health facilities and supported 18 health organisations with lobby activities.
Water and sanitation – In 2012 a total of 2.000 people gained access to drinking water. DCR trained six water user committees.
Livelihood – In Western Bahr el Ghazal, DCR supported ten vulnerable women livelihood groups with assorted hand tools and seeds. Seeds that were harvested in some cases yield double the expected amount.
One of the beneficiaries is Nyanhail (32): “People are suffering a lot here, and have to gather fruits and greens from the forest. Due to lots of rain and floods, many crops were destroyed. Now, I am a member of the farmer’s group supported by DCR. From DCR we got seeds and tools, and we are being taught how to grow vegetables and cereal properly. This knowledge will help us a lot, so we can feed our children and sell vegetables on the market”.
Picure: Colin Crowley/Save the Children
In 2012 DCR supported ten livelihood groups with refresher training on relevant agronomic practices. In Upper Nile, 20 farmer groups are established, doubling the initial plan of ten groups. DCR provided training to 200 farmers on improved farming techniques.
Also, 11 Village Saving and Loan Associations (VSLAs) and 73 farmer cooperatives received training. 11 organisations were trained to deal with conflicts on land and water issues.
DCR started in South Sudan in an eventful and troubled period. The year began with a referendum in January, in which an overwhelming majority voted for independence from the Republic of Sudan. In the lead-up to the vote and the months after, more than 200.000 Southern Sudanese returned to the region. As a result, vulnerable communities in DCR-targeted areas increased in size. This large influx of people strained already weak and inadequate resources and services. In May and June the country experienced a severe fuel shortage and subsequent price inflation of basic goods, which had significant effects on DCR targeted populations. DCR members faced much higher costs than anticipated.
The declaration of independence in July was an exciting development, but created a new context for humanitarian and development interventions as the new government began developing new policies and procedures related to customs, tax policy and NGO engagement in the country. Commodity prices once again soared and largely remained high through the end of 2011. Additionally, the new currency caused exchange rate fluctuation. Finally, following independence, growing conflicts and increased Shilluk militia activities had an impact on DCR programming in Upper Nile specifically. Aerial bombings by the Sudan Armed Forces in the border areas of Maban and Monyo counties resulted in population movement, including towards DCR programme area of Makal county, again creating an influx of people and need for flexible programming in response.
Despite all this, DCR managed to book the following results.
Basic services – only in the health sector the programme implementation lagged behind schedule. This was partly due to prolonged illness of one of the technical advisors and the sudden departure of two senior staff members.
Livelihood – this part of the programme was specifically active and successful in the field of setting up Village Savings and Loan (VSL) groups. Most 2011 targets were met and some were exceeded.
Community governance – community structures were strengthened through the formation of Area Development Committees (ADCs), which happened through a democratic process that guaranteed inclusion of women, youth and other marginalized groups. The ADCs played a significant role in coordinating DCR programme activities and will continue to do so in 2012.