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Countries Recovering from War

Civil war often erupts in countries that suffer from perpetual poverty. At the same time, war only serves to intensify poor living conditions in regions that are already vulnerable. In countries ravaged by war, people are displaced, infrastructure is destroyed and often entire industries are disrupted, destroying the resources that a country needs to keep its people alive. This devastation often persists even after a war is over. However, several formerly war-torn countries are making significant strides when it comes to post-war reconstruction and sustainable development. Here are three examples of countries recovering from war today.

3 Examples of Countries Recovering from War Today

  1. Yadizi Farmers are Recultivating Former ISIS Territory
    When the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIS) swept through the Sinjar region of northern Iraq in 2014, they displaced millions of farmers who relied on that land to make their living. ISIS persecuted the local Yadizi people for their religious beliefs and tried to destroy their farms in order to prevent them from ever being able to live in Sinjar again. In 2015, the allied Kurdish forces retook Sinjar, but the devastation of the land and the constant threat of land mines has since caused many Yadizi farmers to fear returning to their homeland.However, the Iraqi government has begun funding post-war recovery efforts in order to allow the Yadizi people to take back their land. A Yadizi woman named Nadia Murad, winner of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, has started a project called Nadia’s Initiative. A group called the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) has also begun to clear landmines from the land of the displaced farmers. Although progress has been slow, partly due to limited governmental support in recent years and heavy regulations on the transportation of fertilizer, the region is slowly but surely recovering.
  2. The Central African Republic is Working on Protecting its Forests
    After years of political instability and a series of coups, as of 2016, the Central African Republic has a democratically-elected president for the first time in its history. Although the election of President Touadera signaled a step in the right direction toward peacebuilding, there are many areas that still need to be addressed.One particular problem for the Central African Republic is the widespread practice of illegal logging. The country’s forests are one of its biggest resources and wood is its top export, but corrupt public officials have allowed a massive trade in illegal lumber to arise, threatening the sustainability of the forests and undermining recovery efforts. Forest managers attempt to stop the problem but are often threatened by public officials who profit from the illegal lumber trade. However, many in the Central African Republic are working on changing the status quo. In 2016, the country renewed an accord with the European Union that incentivizes the country to reform forestry laws and crack down on illegal logging in exchange for favorable trade agreements. This renewal of the country’s greatest natural resource will help post-war recovery by strengthening its income from trade, building relationships overseas and giving resources for the reconstruction of damaged buildings.
  3. South Sudan is Using Mobile Money to Reignite the Economy
    The country of South Sudan is in the middle of recovering from a civil war that lasted five years and killed about 400,000 people. Part of the devastation wreaked by this war was the collapse of the South Sudanese economy, as cell towers were destroyed, trust in financial institutions was eroded and corruption began to overtake the country’s banks. According to AP News, “Around 80 percent of money in South Sudan is not kept in banks” primarly because most residents are rural and live too far from the major cities where the banks are located. Of course, there are other barriers as well, including the fact that only 16 percent of the population has a government ID (which means more expensive withdrawals and no money transfers) and concerns about the stability of the country’s banking system.As a part of the country’s post-war recovery, the South Sudanese government is working with mobile carriers to create a system called mobile money, in which people can bank from their phones instead of relying on the country’s physical banks and ATMs. This system allows people to easily participate in the Sudanese economy and since studies have shown that having access to services such as banks helps economic growth, the mobile money boom will be invaluable to South Sudan’s post-war recovery. The government is also working on setting up biometric identification for all citizens to use in banking, and on restoring damaged mobile infrastructure in order to make services like mobile money available anywhere.

Kelton Holsen
Photo: Flickr

Uterine Balloon TamponadeThe Every Second Matters Uterine Balloon Tamponade (ESM-UBT), a device designed by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to stop postpartum hemorrhaging (PPH), is a condom that is attached to a Foley catheter. When a mother experiences profuse bleeding which cannot be stopped through other means, the condom is placed within the uterine cavity and filled with water using a syringe and a one-way valve. Within minutes, the bleeding is expected to stop. This device has been effective in preventing fatalities associated with pregnancy and childbirth.

The device is easy to use and requires minimal training. Since the training of more than 850 South Sudanese health workers in 2010 and 2011, MGH began using and researching the usage of the device in the countries of India, South Sudan, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, Peru, Honduras, Uganda and Nepal.

The Beginning Stages

Training of 46 health providers from 12 health centers to use the device began in Kenya in August 2012. During the first year after training, twenty-six ESM-UBTs were used. The patients who required the device were either unconscious or in an unstable mental state as a result of the severe bleeding they were experiencing. In each case, once the device was put into place, the bleeding was stopped, and the patients were saved. As a result of these successful interventions, the Kenyan Ministry of Health has formally integrated the program into the national policy for PPH.

The ESM-UBT’s Potential

A study was published in 2013 that predicted how many lives could potentially be saved by the use of a uterine balloon tamponade in the year 2018.  These predictions were made based on the availability, use, and efficiency of technologies in health care centers that provide maternal and neonatal services. The model estimated that when the use of a uterine balloon tamponade is implemented, 6,547 lives can be saved, which is an eleven percent decrease in maternal deaths, 10,823 surgeries can be prevented and 634 severe anemia cases can be avoided in sub-Saharan Africa every year.

In 2018, there was a case that involved complex vaginal lacerations which may have resulted in death, but the ESM-UBT was used to control the bleeding. The 26-year-old woman, who was 39 weeks pregnant, went to the Muhimbili National Referral Hospital in Tanzania to deliver her baby. Although she was in good health, she began experiencing significant blood loss. After uterine massage, administration of oxytocin and removal of the placenta, the patient was still bleeding and became unconscious.

Upon examining her pelvis, doctors discovered second degree bilateral vaginal sulcal lacerations. They attempted to suture the lacerations, but the bleeding persisted, so they decided to insert an ESM-UBT device, which was inflated with 300 cc of water. Finally, the bleeding stopped. After forty-eight hours, the device was removed, with no more need for repair. The mother left the hospital two days after giving birth and had fully recovered by her six-week postpartum visit.

As of now, over 670 ESM-UBT devices have been used. MGH has plans of distributing these devices to 350 health centers in South Sudan and Kenya. In addition, technology has been developed to allow for the tracking of referrals of this device as well as the results of its use. The ESM-UBT device has great potential to reduce the number of maternal deaths in developing nations.

– Sareen Mekhitarian
Photo: Unsplash

Top 10 Facts About Girls Education in South Sudan
South Sudan has experienced widespread political conflict and insecurity in recent years. Working towards a more peaceful and inclusive future, the South Sudanese government has set out to completely restructure its education sector. Despite some growth in this area, education remains inaccessible for women and girls due to the nation’s dedication to maintaining traditional gender roles. This has grossly affected girls’ livelihood, quality of life and educational opportunities. Below are the top 10 facts about girls’ education in South Sudan.

Closing the Gender and Socio-Economic Gap in Education

  1. South Sudanese women and girls are less likely to complete primary and secondary education than boys. According to the World Bank, it is estimated that seven girls per ten boys attend primary school. Meanwhile, only five girls per ten boys enroll in secondary education.
  2. Although some girls do manage to make it to secondary school, not many of them are able to
    finish. In 2013, only 500 girls in the entire country were in their graduating year of
    secondary school.
  3. Gender inequity in the South Sudanese education remains an issue. Females make up only 12 percent of the country’s teaching population.
  4. According to Fiona Mavhinga of Zimbabwe, “extreme poverty and gender inequity drive the injustice” preventing girls’ education in countries like South Sudan. Fiona was one of the first girls supported by Camfed, an international educational charity.
  5. Cultural notions that women are child-bearers and homemakers drive inequity. Meanwhile, men dominate the educational, business, and political sectors of society. In fact, South Sudanese women and girls are more likely to die during childbirth than complete primary education.
  6. South Sudan partnered with UNICEF in 2007 to help more children get to school. The initiative also created alternate forms of education for women and girls unable to travel to school every day.
  7. In the northern states, almost five percent of students travel more than one and a half miles to and from school each day. In southern states, educational sites average from one for every five communities to one for every 15 communities.
  8. The student to teacher ratio in South Sudanese schools is overwhelming. Urban classes often exceed 100 students under the direction of just one teacher.
  9. While education is technically free for South Sudanese students, there are many expenses that the system does not cover. Families are expected to pay additional fees if they want their children to have an education. This includes charges for textbooks, uniforms, school fees and more. Thus, socio-economic status plays a major factor in access to education.
  10. South Sudan is working with global partners such as UNICEF and Plan International to restructure the education system and expand girls’ access to education. Organizations based within South Sudan like Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS), work to remove those barriers that block women and girls from study.

While organizations such as UNICEF, Plan International, and GESS are working to open access to education for girls, South Sudan is still struggling to close the gender gap in education. Regardless, the top 10 facts about girls’ education in South Sudan show that the movement to support girls’ education is more prosperous than ever.

– Morgan Everman
Photo: Flickr

UN Peacekeeping Mission Celebrates its 70th Anniversary
Raising awareness of human rights is one of the key missions of the United Nations (U.N.), founded in 1945. Part of the mission’s responsibilities is to promote peace in conflict-stricken areas such as the African continent. The U.N. peacekeeping mission plays a crucial role with 14 active operations worldwide, and its 70th anniversary in May 2018 was a just cause for celebration due to its impressively impactful efforts.

U.N. Mission’s Main Functions

One relevant fact about the U.N. peacekeeping mission is that it does not interfere with a country’s authority during a conflict; rather, it works as a peace-promoting partner.

U.N. peacekeepers are members of the local military force who can be distinguished by the use of a blue U.N. helmet or beret, and a badge. These workers also have the role of aiding post-conflict areas with extra support so as to rebuild a safe community.

Reestablishing Peace in Côte d’Ivoire

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire, located in West Africa, is one such example of success. When a second civil war broke out right after the election of President Alassane Ouattara, 2011 became an increasingly intense year for the already-weakened country.

The former president, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to let the newly-elected President Ouattara take office. As a result, numerous conflicts between their supporters caused the exodus of about 200,000 people to Libya. The death of 400 people marked the three-month period after the 2010 election.

The early days of the U.N. peacekeeping mission consisted of ensuring the implementation of a cease-fire agreement after the 2002-2003 conflicts between the religiously-divided northern and southern regions.

The conflicts kept increasing after the first civil war in 2002, but so did the U.N. peacekeepers — their ranks eventually totaled 11,792 in 2011 in Côte d’Ivoire.

The rape of women and torture were some of the human rights violations the mission worked to combat, and in 2011, 1,726 human rights violations were reported. Thankfully, the presence of the U.N. troops reduced them to the impressive number of 88 in 2016.

Due to such consistent efforts, the refugees that fled the region during the long civil war period could finally return and have the chance to live a stable life again. The mission was successfully closed on June 30, 2017, and Côte d’Ivoire now has a promising future as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

U.N. Mission Challenges in South Sudan

South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011, but its citizens have struggled with the effects of never-ending conflicts among President Salva Kiir, and his former Vice President Riek Machar.

Tension escalated between the two parties, leading to the formation of a rebel group lead by ex-Vice President Marchar. Ethnic disputes from the Dinka and Nuer groups marked a series of manifestations of violence such as village pillages and the murder of 50,000 people since 2013.   

The U.N. peacekeeping mission has 16,987 members serving in the area while South Sudan has 2 million refugees. The troops have the responsibility to provide a safe environment for the 210,000 displaced citizens who temporarily live in the Protection of Civilian (POC) sites located in the country.   

Peacekeeping Challenges

Peacekeepers face numerous challenges, one of which being that they were implemented for aid on a short-term level, but as the conflicts continue to grow the sites have become a long-term refuge to the citizens. In fact, $50 million has been allocated to the implementation of POC units as of 2014.    

Another problem for the peacekeepers is the violence that sometimes erupts inside their own camps. In 2016, tension between the ethnic groups Dinka and Shilluk caused the damage of a POC unit located in Malakal. Unfortunately, 1,521 shelters were burned, along with clinics and medical schools.

Women’s Role in Peacekeeping Missions

Women serving in U.N. peacekeeping missions have the important role of bridging relations with groups that can not be easily reached due to national cultural norms.

Female victims of violence have a higher probability of reporting cases to women holding peacekeeping positions. A teenage rape victim in Monrovia, Liberia, opens up: “I can be scared to talk to a man; a woman is better. She is like an auntie or mother.”

The recently closed U.N. peacekeeping mission in Liberia is an example of how women can empower each other through service — 125 female officers from India positively influenced and helped foster success for Liberian women between 2007 and 2016.

Their work was so remarkable, in fact, that the country had an increase in the number of women interested in serving as police officers. This new group of officers will continue to ensure that other females can have a voice if future conflicts emerge.

Maintaining Stability

Women also hold a crucial function in maintaining stability in war-torn areas. Armed robberies went down to 65 percent in Monrovia because of the presence of Indian female officers patrolling the city on foot.

Gerard J. DeGroot, a professor from the University of Saint Andrews who studied cases of women in the armed forces, stated: “Any conflict where you have an all-male army, it’s like a holiday from reality. If you inject women into that situation, they do have a civilizing effect.” 

Global Influence of the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission

World leaders can strongly benefit from seeking partnerships with the United Nations peacekeeping missions. Despite the challenges some of these missions faced, the efforts have provided well-structured plans overall to post-war countries.

The restoration of peace in many communities could have taken much longer without the U.N. peacekeepers’ help. The years of service the peacekeepers have dedicated to the world is an example that selfless acts produce the best results when it comes to crisis response.

– Nijessia Cerqueira
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About The Nuer of South SudanThe East-Central African country of South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011. Since then, the nation of 13 million people has struggled to maintain governance and control due to violent civil conflict. This struggle has lead to a dire humanitarian crisis and four million South Sudanese facing displacement.

The Nuer are a prominent and second most populous ethnic group in South Sudan, contributing to 16 percent, or two million people, of the total population. Given this status, the Nuer have stood at the center of the civil Sudanese conflict for decades. These 10 facts about the Nuer of South Sudan offer insight into an ethnic group afflicted most by the South Sudanese Civil War.

10 facts about the Nuer of South Sudan

  1. The Nuer live in South Sudan in rural swamps and open savannas on both sides of the Nile River. They are located approximately 500 miles south of Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Due to the civil conflict, the Nuer also inhabit United Nations refugee camps in the South Sudanese capital city of Juba.Nuer also seek refuge in neighboring countries like Uganda, which hosts over a million refugees. Approximately 2.5 million South Sudanese are seeking refuge or asylum protections. The majority of these refugees are women and children.
  2. The Nuer of South Sudan are cattle raising pastoralists. Horticulture is also commonly practiced, but less desirable. With more than 80 percent of the populace living in rural areas, cattle have historically been both a cultural and religious symbol, signifying wealth as well as an economic livelihood for the Nuer. Cattle are particularly important as a part of bridewealth exchanges.
  3. Since independence, the official language of South Sudan is English, replacing Arabic, but the Nuer traditionally speak the Nuer language. The Nuer language belongs to a subgroup of Nilo-Saharan languages, as a Nilotic language indigenous to the Nile Valley.
  4. Despite a high infant mortality rate , South Sudan is the world’s youngest country. The infant mortality rate stands at 79 infants per 1,000 live births and the under-five mortality rate is 108 per 1,000 live births. Around 45 percent of the country is between zero and 14 years of age.
  5. The Nuer of South Sudan form a cluster of autonomous sections and clans. The North had long sought state control of Nuer land, but neglect of social and political developments provoked two civil wars. This eventually led to South Sudan gaining independence from the North after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 and the Independence Referendum in 2011.There is  no structured political system for the Nuer, generating significant conflict. However, dominant clans often hold more significance and elders often make decisions.
  6. In 2013, Vice President Riek Machar, a Nuer, was dismissed by the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, over accusations of a coup attempt against the president. In addition to past support for the North by the Nuer, this sparked massive violence; President Salva Kiir ordered the deaths of thousands of Nuer in the Juba Massacre of 2013. These actions prompted the ongoing civil war in South Sudan.
  7. Since the start of the conflict, more than 2.4 million people have been displaced. In the northern part of South Sudan, the United Nations protects civilians in camp Bentiu. Nearly everyone in this camp is Nuer. In February 2017, a group of Dinka soldiers called the Upper Nile State attacked the Bentiu U.N. compound, killing an estimated 300 Nuer civilians.
  8. Thousands of Nuer have faced rape, sexual exploitation and attacks on women outside of Protection of Civilian (POC) sites. Studies show that 65 percent of women and girls in South Sudan have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. According to UNICEF, these incidents have occurred continuously over the past two and a half years, increasing with the outbreak of violence.
  9. International nonprofit and government agencies like the Nuer International Relief Agency (NIRA), The Red Cross, UNICEF and the U.N. provide humanitarian relief, health and education for war-affected and displaced Nuer. In the first three months of 2018, the International Committee of the Red Cross provided 1,675 metric tons of food, improved access to water for 267,000 people and helped 16,000 people reach family members separated by the conflict. Additionally, these agencies actively advocated and lobbied for successful peace and reconciliation as of June 2018, as well for the support of international communities in addressing the crisis.
  10. In May 2018, more than 200 children were released from armed groups in South Sudan. The release was the third this year, totaling to more than 800 child soldiers being freed in 2018. Additional releases are expected in coming months that could result in more than 1,000 children being freed.Despite this success, an estimated 19,000 children continue to serve in armed groups. UNICEF urges for the abolishment of recruitment and for the release of all child soldiers.

These 10 facts about the Nuer of South Sudan show a lot still needs to be done on the ground to address the suffering of Nuer ethnics and all South Sudanese nationals. More than 8 million people are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance in South Sudan. However, on June 28, 2018, warring parties signed a permanent ceasefire in Sudan’s capital city Khartoum, calling for an end to the four-and-a-half year civil war. The agreement, signed by President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, and Former Vice-President Riek Machar, a Nuer, represents a significant stride towards peace in South Sudan’s history and resolution of these crises.

– Joseph Ventura

Photo: Flickr

Preventive Cholera Vaccination
South Sudan’s health system faces major challenges. These challenges stem from prolonged civil war repercussions, a great lack in medical care and vaccinations and historically long-running cholera outbreaks. Although South Sudan recently declared the end to its longest recorded cholera epidemic, cholera is endemic to the nation and will most likely return within the next few months as the rainy season begins.

However, some improvements and achievements are being made towards South Sudan’s health system. Today, the preventative cholera vaccination campaign — operated by Doctors Without Borders — works to prevent the acute infectious disease from spreading across the nation any longer.

Preventative Cholera Vaccination Campaign

From April 24th to May 12th, the preventative cholera vaccination campaign has progressed in Juba – South Sudan’s largest city and capital. Doctors Without Borders’ campaign is designated for 12 hotspot areas in Juba where numerous people were identified as at-risk in previous cholera outbreaks. Cholera outbreaks are not new to South Sudan – the country just faced its most severe and prolonged cholera outbreak in its history which protracted from June 2016 to February 2018, and lead to over 20,000 suspected cholera cases and 436 reported deaths.

Additionally, since 2013, the nation has endured multiple cholera outbreaks that particularly target vulnerable populations living in internally displaced people’s camps, urban informal settlements, cattle camps, rural populations, island dwellers and communities along the River Nile.

In order for the oral cholera vaccine to take effect, people need two doses for increased immunity. A single dose of cholera vaccine supplies some immunity for up to one year and the second dose must be ingested within eight months of the first dose to increase the level of protection and increase immunity to three to five years. Also, sustaining sanitation infrastructure and improving hygiene and water supplies, in addition to implementing vaccination campaigns, can help prevent infections by contaminated food or water, which is how cholera is spread.

Goals for Reducing Death by Cholera

In 2017, the Global Task Force on Cholera Control announced a new strategy to reduce deaths from cholera by 90 percent by 2030 in South Sudan and other affected countries. This strategy will involve strengthening case detection, prevention of avoidable cases and deaths and applying multi-sectoral interventions comprising of water and sanitation hygiene measures to eliminate cholera outbreaks in cholera transmission hotspots.

While preventative cholera vaccination campaigns aim to save lives in South Sudan, the world’s newest country still deals with several other complex challenges that need to be addressed.

Current Causes and Future Improvement

Severe food insecurity and acute malnutrition, an increased demand for care due to high HIV and AIDS prevalence, a lack of resources to purchase drugs and other medical supplies due to the oil shutdown, a 73 percent illiteracy rate for adults, limited availability to crucial maternity care services and poor access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are all some of the current factors contributing to the country’s extreme poverty.

However, with the current and essential health and medical care help from Doctors Without Borders and other international organizations such as Oxfam, CARE, WHO and Save the Children, conditions in the country could improve in the near future as more organizations find opportunities to provide aid to the country in need.

– Natalie Shaw
Photo: Flickr

Childbirth in South Sudan
The number one cause of death for women in South Sudan is complications from pregnancy and childbirth. This is detrimental to the child’s health as they grow up without a mother, and the complications can cause problems for the child and their health as well. The country as a whole ranks fifth in the world for maternal mortality rates.

One common complication of childbirth in South Sudan is postpartum hemorrhaging. This is a dangerous amount of blood loss from persistent bleeding after giving birth. This can cause death for both the child and the mother. Most midwives and care providers in South Sudan do not have the training to treat complications like these. Currently, a well-trained healthcare worker delivers only about one in five births.

Maternal complications in South Sudan needed to be addressed, and UNICEF, along with its partners, has acted on the matter by providing the country’s medical facilities with maternal medical kits. The kit is said to help childbirth in South Sudan become safe for both mother and baby.

So far, 3,000 maternal medical kits have been sent to health facilities in the northern region of the country. The kits are provided by UNICEF Germany and have critical items to help midwives properly treat pregnant women, including folic acid, anti-malarial drugs and oxytocin. The expectant mothers also receive a kit that includes soap, baby clothes, blankets and a plastic sheet.

The kits are a crucial necessity for women in South Sudan, as a very small percentage of pregnant women in the nation have access to proper healthcare and labor and delivery services. Most of the midwives and neonatal care providers in the country lack the proper training for high-risk pregnancies and are not able to perform simple procedures that can save the mother’s life during delivery. There is also a shortage of essential medicines and supplies, which the kits are alleviating. By addressing these needs, the maternal mortality rate can be greatly reduced and ensure better outcomes for mothers and infants in South Sudan.

– Chloe Turner

Photo: Flickr

Five Facts About Development Projects in South SudanSouth Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, sits along one of civilization’s oldest landmarks: the Nile River. On July 9, 2011, South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan. Its path to stability and sustainability has not been easy.

The South Sudanese government originally planned to use its oil-rich regions to stabilize and grow the country’s economy, but due to disagreements with Sudan, oil production was shut down in 2012. Since then, civil war and rogue militias have ravaged the people of South Sudan, causing a humanitarian crisis. However, this has not slowed the success of aid in the nation. Here are five facts about development projects in South Sudan.

  1. Development projects in South Sudan see long-term international aid. In 2014, the British government allocated 442 million pounds for the development of South Sudan. Instead of directly involving itself in the process, the government has allowed various international aid organizations to use the money to carry out their missions on its behalf. These organizations include the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Danish Refugee Council and the Norwegian Refugee Council. Over 60 percent of spending was allocated to providing food, medical supplies and material aid. The project is on track to end in 2020.

  2. The South Sudanese health services are overwhelmed and underfunded. According to the World Bank, the South Sudanese Ministry of Health is underfunded. As a result, the World Bank began a project in 2016 to help the South Sudanese government cope with its rising need to provide healthcare to its citizens, called the South Sudan Health Rapid Results Project. Funding has been set at $40 million. The project has succeeded in providing healthcare to South Sudanese citizens in the Upper Nile conflict area, an area that only a few development projects in South Sudan continue to work.

  3. Food security is in jeopardy. Food is in short supply in South Sudan, and the World Bank has attempted to alleviate the crisis with a food and agriculture project in 2016. The project is called Southern Sudan Emergency Food Crisis Response Project. Overall, this project has had mixed results when measured against its target goals. It has reached its target for farmers adopting new technologies to increase output and surpassed its goal of constructing new food storage facilities. However, less than half of the targeted families have been helped by their funding. Unfortunately, this project did not receive funding again in 2017, but the infrastructure it created and the new technologies introduced will help drive development in South Sudan for years to come.

  4. May 4, 2017, saw the approval of the South Sudan Emergency Food and Nutrition Project. The project was granted $50 million and is set to run until July 2019. Its goals are similar but more comprehensive than the previous food aid project. This time, more focus is being given to the re-engagement of farmers, which is exceedingly important for the stability of the country’s food supply. Using the infrastructure and technologies of the last project will help provide the basics for the beginning of this new development project in South Sudan. To compensate for the shortcomings of the last project, more funding has been given to focus on supplying food while the farmers begin to produce their new crops.

  5. South Sudan’s development has improved at the community level. USAID is providing support to South Sudan at the community level, focusing on the availability of safe and sanitary drinking water and the health and education of children. Manual water drills and pumps are being provided to villages around the country along with education on waterborne illnesses. To protect and educate children, USAID has implemented three programs. The first aims to protect the rights of children against child-labor and provide equal access to education for boys and girls. Encouraging nonviolent play is another implemented program that focuses on keeping children away from violence. Safe spaces for children are often hard to come by in war-ridden nations. With the third program, USAID seeks to provide more of these spaces for children to receive medical treatment away from conflict.

Conflict has displaced 2.2 million South Sudanese citizens. Fortunately, the world has not forgotten about its newest country. International aid will continue to help fund development projects in South Sudan, hopefully leading the nation and its people to a brighter better future.

– Nick DeMarco

Photo: Flickr

South Sudan and Congo use U.S. AidOn October 21, 2017, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley declared her intent to scrutinize how South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) use U.S. aid. “The U.N. spends over $2 billion per year on the peacekeeping missions in these two countries alone…. we will not do that if our assistance is continuously blocked from reaching people in need,” said Haley.

The idea that developing countries waste generous donations from developed countries informs a great deal of discussion around the continent. Not only has the myth of corruption been inflated in the past decade, but the myth doesn’t explain the struggles of the two nations singled out by Haley. Here’s how the DRC and South Sudan utilize foreign assistance to develop a better future for themselves and for America.

South Sudan

In the 2017 fiscal year, the U.S. provided over $1 billion of humanitarian aid to South Sudan. Of that money, $746 million went to emergency assistance and $246 million went to life-saving care for refugees. These funds were provided for disease screenings, malnutrition treatment and staple food donations.

How can anyone be sure that the money went to those provisions? Development Initiatives may be an applicable answer. According to the website’s data, South Sudan brought in $3.3 billion in 2015. Of that money, $457.7 million was dedicated to operating expenses and $573.3 million went to oil service payments. Oil transfers to states, block grants to states and emergency funds made up 33 percent of expenditures according to Development Initiatives, roughly $1 billion.

Though operating expenses for oil companies may seem like a waste of how South Sudan and Congo Use U.S. Aid, allowing an economy to develop ensures that a nation will not always depend on foreign aid. For an example of how a financed economy can keep a war-torn nation afloat, look no further than…

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Between 2011 and 2015, the DRC emerged as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, averaging at 7 percent annual GDP growth. The Economist predicts that Africa will overtake Asia with the number of countries on the fastest-growing economies list.

But why should the U.S. continue investing in an underdeveloped region mitigated with political strife? According to Alyoscia D’Onofrio of the International Rescue Committee, the world may not be giving enough aid as is. D’Onofrio acknowledges the massive poverty, malnutrition crises and presidential abuses plaguing the DRC. But donor aid provides an incentive for the DRC to respect its people’s wishes and bring an end to the violence. The U.N. has decreased the amount of aid sent to the DRC over the past five years. Giving less money has not helped people in poverty. To allow for long-term political change, argues D’Onofrio, the country needs to escape from its vulnerable state. The DRC can only do so by providing basic needs for its citizens.

Ambassador Haley suggests a re-assessment of how South Sudan and the DRC use U.S. Aid, and D’Onofrio agrees with her on that point. He believes that aid requires evidence-supported approaches, and he questions the effectiveness of NGOs. Despite these misgivings, D’Onofrio still supports foreign aid, and would not deprive funds, as suggested by Haley. “We view these efforts as foundational for bringing real and lasting improvements in… the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said D’Onofrio in a Time Magazine article. “Now is not the time to step back from the challenge.”

Nick Edinger

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in South SudanSouth Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 following several decades of war. It is the world’s least developed country as well as its newest. Since its independence, there have been several causes of internal conflict within the newly founded state. Between 2013 and 2015, the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan brought about increasing violence and impoverishment. By 2014, 1.4 million people were forced to leave their homes in search of security. Hunger in South Sudan is still a consequence of the violence.

Fighting and violence are disruptive to the agricultural system in South Sudan, leading to critical food shortages. South Sudanese people struggle to find reasonably priced food, let alone an adequate amount of nutrition. More than 90 percent of South Sudan’s population depends on rain-fed farming.

A famine was declared in South Sudan in February of this year when the number of deaths due to starvation reached an alarming rate. The famine was declared in two different counties home to approximately 100,000 people. Quick and efficient delivery of aid relief reversed famine conditions in these areas by July.

Organizations like World Vision and other nonprofits are aiding children and their families in South Sudan. Emergency food aid and cash transfers for families are the primary forms of outreach. Other means of assistance include supporting the South Sudanese with training and equipment for farming and fishing.

In 2016, Action Against Hunger mobilized expert emergency teams on the ground in Sudan, who delivered immediate nutritional needs to vulnerable communities in the conflicted regions. The group also gathered data to identify the needs of the population using a surveillance and evaluation team and provided treatment to 3,100 undernourished children.

There are still emergency operations ongoing in South Sudan, and immediate assistance is being provided by nonprofit organizations. Organizations like these mentioned and the World Food Programme continue to work with donors and volunteers to support the South Sudanese and reduce hunger in South Sudan.

Melanie Snyder

Photo: Flickr