Challenges to Livelihood Support Programming in South Sudan (Special Supplement 3)
By Mamie Sackey, AAH-US
Grain mill supported by ACF in Old Fanyak, South Sudan.
AAH's interventions in Southern Sudan have mainly been emergency responses in the nutrition, health and food security sector. The establishment of livelihood programmes began in June 2005 with a focus on grain mills and tailoring programmes in the Old Fangak payam of the Central Upper Nile region. The primary objective of these programmes was to strengthen the livelihoods capacity of 11,250 vulnerable people in this region, thereby reducing reliance on external agencies for the provision of basic disease prevention items such as mosquito nets, and to improve the food security situation at the household level.
Mamie Sackey, ACF US at the ACF supported grain mill.
The proposed activities built on the existing capacities within the communities directly focusing on women and the enhancement of their capacities and abilities. AAH's main role is to provide the initial input, such as the grain mill and the sewing machines, in addition to skilled technical support, e.g. a technician to assist the community in the set up of the mill and a qualified tailor to conduct training in tailoring.
Although the livelihoods activities in Old Fangak are in their early stages of implementation, AAH has already faced numerous challenges.
Lack of skilled and qualified personnel and reduced levels of literacy
Due to the prolonged civil war, there is a dearth of skilled human resources with literacy levels one of the lowest in the world.
High turn over of staff
Given the decreased levels of employment opportunities and developmental structures in the Upper Nile, the majority of the adolescent and young adults frequently leave to explore higher education or employment opportunities in other areas of Sudan or in neighbouring countries. As a result, agency programme operations are constantly set back by the constant cycle of recruitment, training and departure of staff.
Lack of basic infrastructure
The tailoring programme supported by ACF US.
Twenty-two years of civil war in southern Sudan has led to the wide spread demise of basic infrastructure, especially in the Upper Nile regions. In Old Fangak payam, trade is primarily with the former garrison towns where southern traders are subject to significant taxation fees when importing traded items to their own markets. Transport routes are also virtually non-existent, with the whole of the Old Fangak community reliant on self-made rafts of reeds or the solitary privately owned boat. As a result, the community are constrained by the availability of material and adequate transport and are thus must rely on external organisations for the provision of materials needed for construction.
Timing of programmes
As the majority of Southern Sudanese are primarily agro-pastoralists, programmes have to be planned strictly in relation to the community seasonal calendar and specific planting times. Deviations from planned timing can have a markedly adverse impact on programme success.
Taken from Field Exchange Issue 103, March 2006