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sudanese_conflict
In order to understand the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan, it is necessary to understand the colonial history of Sudan. Sudan consisted of kingdoms and tribal communities until the Turko-Egyptian invasion of 1821. The Turko-Egyptian invasion was motivated by the expansionist ambitions of the Ottoman empire and its interest in commodities, such as slaves, ivory, gold, and timber. The Turko-Egyptian and North Sudanese collaborated against those of South Sudan and exploited them into slavery. Turko-Egyptian rule lasted for sixty years, but during this time, South Sudan was not fully incorporated under the new administration. The Mahdist administration, 1883-1989, also struggled to maintain control over South Sudan.

During this time, Belgium and France both attempted to maintain some control over Sudanese territory. However, after the French attempted to annex South Sudan to the French territories in West Africa, a conflict developed between the British and French over South Sudan known as the Fashoda incident. In 1898, Egyptian and British forces teamed up to reconquer Sudan. This incident resulted in the signing of the Condominium Agreement, which established Sudan’s current borders. France and Belgium eventually receded from Sudan, giving Britain-Egyptian forces full control over the country. During this time, Britain created separate administrative policies for South and North Sudan. These policies, which included immigration and trade laws, coupled with differing official languages, treated North and South Sudan as two separate entities.

British forces established an Advisory Council for North Sudan, in which all six provinces of North Sudan were represented and the council had the power to decide what was administered where. However, no such council was established in South Sudan. Rather, in 1946, British forces suggested that the North colonize the South. Since the South was not represented in the Council, the choice to colonize South Sudan was made without consulting anyone from the South and the South was betrayed by the British.

When Sudan achieved independence from British-Egyptian forces in 1956, independence was seldom felt in the South as the North assumed full control over the colonial state. The parliamentary republic, which was established at the onset of independence, failed to incorporate the South and this has led to years of civil unrest. Since achieving independence, the South has been politically marginalized, socio-economically ignored, if not retarded, and culturally subjugated by the North. The South, which is predominantly Christian and Animist, is culturally different from the Arab Muslim North. Yet, the North has used Islam as a weapon by denying basic rights to those who do not convert to Islam. In addition, the North has forced Islam and Arabization onto the Southern populations through educational systems which aim to kill indigenous languages and culture.

The military-led government of President Jaafar Numeiri agreed to autonomy for the South in 1972, but this Peace Treaty was undermined in 1979 when oil was discovered in South Sudan. After the discovery, the Numeiri government attempted to deny the South ownership of the resource by redrawing the southern boundaries to include the oil reserves. The new boundaries, however, violated the Addis Ababa Agreement which accepted the boundaries from colonial rule. Rather than improving the living standards of the Sudanese, it led to further conflict between the North and South. Civil war broke out in 1983 when Numeiri divided South Sudan into three regions, each with a governor appointed by himself, and declared Arabic the official language. To make matters worse, Numeiri imposed Shari’a law on all of Sudan. Since then, the government has waged war on South Sudan, whose forces are known as Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

Throughout the 22 year conflict, Southern villages were ransacked and destroyed. Numeiri was eventually removed from power and replaced by Al-Bashir, who is supported by the Nationalist Islamic Front (NIF). Al-Bashir was able to maintain control until 1999, when SPLA forces began to gain control over large areas outside of more populated cities. In addition, SPLA forces made huge gains by attacking transportation lines and government forces. But by 2000, the South was hit with a widespread famine and the government did nothing to help its people. With the help of the United Nations and the United States, Operation Lifeline Sudan began to deploy food and supplies to areas affected by the conflict. By 2002, 2 million lives had been lost due to the genocide by the Bashir government. Throughout 2003 and 2004, the international community pressured the Sudanese government and the conflict began to die down.

In 2005, Sudan and South Sudan ended the 22 year conflict. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was underpinned by an agreement to 6 years of Southern autonomy, with a vote on succession at its end, split revenues from southern oil evenly between north and south sudan, islamic law in the north but to be voted on in the South, and if the succession vote was negative, the north and south were to combine forces. Six years later, in July of 2011, a vote for succession was held in Sudan and South Sudan gained independence from Sudan. Since then, South Sudan has been recognized by the international community after being accepted into the United Nations.

Kelsey Ziomek

Sources: Global Witness, University of Pennsylvania, Pulitzer Center, University of Massachusetts
Photo: ABC

Raising HIV Awareness in South Sudan
South Sudan has one of the highest rates for HIV infection in the world. It is estimated that only 100,000 people in South Sudan live with HIV. But out of those 100,000, only 4,678 people receive antiretroviral therapy (ARTs). The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis have launched a project in Southern Sudan to raise awareness and provide treatment to people who have HIV.

The project specifically focuses on HIV patients who are also at risk for Tuberculosis (TB). It provides information on prevention, surveillance, testing, and counseling to those living with HIV and TB. In 2012 the program offered treatment to 1,500 TB/HIV co-infected patients received ART treatment and 4,882 people with TB received treatment. From 2005 to 2012 those who received counseling for HIV or TB rose from 1 person to 12, 753.

Although this project is incredible for those in South Sudan who are already living with HIV, a key strategy for HIV reduction is raising awareness about prevention. A group in the state of Western Equatoria, where nearly seven percent of residents are infected with HIV, is going out into the community to spread the message of safe sex. Zereda AIDS information Center group has been influential in its community. It has grown to 470 members and encouraged dozen of community members to get tested.

“When I got the disease, I was very worried, but when I started getting counseling – before I thought I had no life in this world. But after joining the group I realized am still useful in this world,” said Angelina Baptist, who is a member of Zereda.

Projects and support groups such as these are necessary for raising HIV awareness and preventing the prevalence of HIV in Southern Sudan.

– Catherine Ulrich
Sources: UN, Voice of America News

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The accessibility of clean, safe water sources across the world varies greatly. Americans are afforded the luxury and don’t have to think twice about how they are going to collect water daily. It is so easy and natural to walk into a kitchen and fill up a glass of water or hop in the shower and bathe. For others, it is not that simple.

345 million people in Africa live without local water access, being forced to walk miles on end to collect where it can be found. The water is often dirty and contaminated with dangerous parasites, posing health risks to those who drink it. This may contribute to the extremely high mortality rates in Sudan.

Water for South Sudan has decided to address this issue. WSS has drilled over 168 borehole wells, providing remote villages in South Sudan with the basic human need of clean, safe water.

WSS has a deeply rooted belief that clean, accessible water is the framework for entrepreneurship and the growth of markets. Removing the huge issue of water from the equation opens up room to address other issues such as the economy and growth.

There are ways to help the people of Sudan through the Water for South Sudan organization. The H2O Project Challenge takes all of the money spent on beverages for two weeks and donates it to the charity. This means that for two weeks, the only drink a person can have is water. A little commitment such as this can have a profound impact on the lives of those in South Sudan.

– William Norris
Source: Water for South Sudan, Water.org, Save the Children
Photo: ICRC

USAID to Develop Middle East Clean Energy

On June 10, 2013, Tetra Tech, Inc. announced that it had been awarded a contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development to assist in clean energy development in the Middle East. Tetra Tech will use the $400 million multiple-award to provide technical assistance for clean energy program development in “critical priority” countries. Five U.S. based companies, including two small businesses, will share the five-year contract.

Tetra Tech will partner with USAID to create new strategies in addressing the demand for clean energy services in countries deemed “critical priority”. Currently, five nations have been named as participating in the project- Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, South Sudan and Yemen. The contract does allow for more countries to be added later.

The contract specifies Tetra Tech’s responsibility to assist in improving governance structures to support clean energy development, assess the environmental implications of carrying out the new services and to encourage participation from the private sector in clean energy strategies. They will seek to reduce global warming by promoting the use of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies. Additionally, Tetra Tech has been contracted to help national and local governments improve their capacity in the energy sector to cope with natural and man-made disasters.

Tetra Tech, based in California, has over 350 offices worldwide. Many of their international contracts support development in South America and the Middle East. They currently are participating in four other USAID initiatives in Afghanistan including engineering support, electricity service improvement and land reform. Tetra Tech specializes in programs focused on developing water, environment, energy, infrastructure and natural resources.

– Allana Welch

Sources: Financial Post, ReNews, USAID, Tetra Tech
Photo: Tetra Tech

The Future for South Sudan
A year ago, Sudan and South Sudan were on the brink of war, but this month a deal between the two countries was finally implemented, allowing production in South Sudan’s main oil field to resume. This region, the Palouge oil field, accounts for 80% of the country’s oil production and has not been operational for 16 months due to disputes regarding the export of the oil.

This resumption of operations marks a significant moment in South Sudan’s brief history. Since its independence two years ago, the nation has suffered dramatic setbacks to its economy. The fledgling nation’s GDP contracted by 52% last year alone, while government revenues from oil-backed loans were cut by 98%. Now, however, with a pipeline deal in place with the north, South Sudan will be able to ramp up production to pre-independence levels.

After the drastic cuts in expenditure necessitated by the cessation of oil production during the last two years, this influx of revenue should significantly boost the country’s economy. South Sudan will have to diversify away from oil as the primary revenue generator over the next few years as reserves disappear, however, for now, the hope remains that oil profits will allow this nascent economy to establish itself. A stable economic platform marks the first steps in allowing the country and its people to grow.

– David Wilson

Sources: The Economist
Photo: Royal African Society

Satellite Imagery Tracks Kony's Movements
If your name is Joseph Kony, the next time you go outside you might try waving at the sky. Someone might be looking at you via satellite imagery.

Resolve — an advocacy initiative to draw attention to the Lord’s Resistance Army’s (LRA) violence — has recently used satellite imagery to identify probable locations of LRA camps and its leader Joseph Kony. Using UN reports, LRA defector testimonies, and imagery analysis, The Resolve published an extensive report titled “Hidden in Plain Sight: Sudan’s Harboring of the LRA in the Kafia Kingi Enclave, 2009-2013.”

The LRA first emerged in the late 1980s under the leadership of Joseph Kony. Its use of guerrilla tactics has terrorized people in northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan. The country of Sudan has supported the LRA in the past, though this support officially ended in 2005.

The report was commissioned by Amnesty International USA and co-produced by the Enough Project and Invisible Children. The report carries a number of implications for both foreign policy and the use of remote sensing to further humanitarian goals.

Primarily, Kony’s presence in Sudan implies continued Sudanese governmental support for the LRA. “We will be turning our attention toward galvanizing international action to ensure Sudan’s support to the LRA is now definitively ended,” Michael Poffenberger of The Resolve writes. What of finding Joseph Kony? Amnesty International’s Christoph Koettl urges US citizens to contact President Obama in support of reaffirming the US signature to the International Criminal Court: “It is crucial the US reaffirms its commitment to the rule of law and a strong global system for accountability.”

Furthermore, as remote sensing technology advances by leaps and bounds, so does the opportunity to use these technologies in non-traditional ways. Progress has been made even in the years since Francesco Pisano wrote on using satellite imagery for disaster relief in 2005 for the Humanitarian Exchange Magazine: “We should not underestimate the value of geographic information systems and satellite imagery in helping to fill the gap between relief and development…. These efforts need support from across the humanitarian community.”

The support is widely increasing. The Satellite Sentinel Project is one such initiative, a nonprofit that reports on the conflict in Sudan and South Sudan by tracking satellite imagery. While some criticism exists against the use of satellite technology to track atrocities, the increasing amount of information about regions in crisis can only improve awareness and advocacy. For those still affected by the violence of the LRA, Resolve is committed to tracking down Joseph Kony and contributing to the restoration of peace to these wartorn regions.

Naomi Doraisamy

Sources: Al Jazeera, Amnesty International, Humanitarian Practice Network, The Resolve
Photo: Time

Tetsuko Kuroyunagi Trauma Center Saves LivesUNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Tetsuko Kuroyunagi helped build a trauma facility in South Sudan seventeen years ago. She recently returned to the center, which has saved the lives of thousands of children in South Sudan. This was the first time she had visited the center.

Tetsuko is a Japanese celebrity. She is an actress, television host, author, and humanitarian. Tetsuko was in Sudan in 1993 during the Sudanese civil war. While she was there, the country was suffering a severe food crisis and many of the nation’s children were suffering as a result of the armed conflict. She was touched by the children’s simple wishes for peace, schools and good teachers.

When Tetsuko left the country and returned to Japan, she called upon the Japanese people to help her raise money to build a trauma care center. She was able to raise and donate $300,000. The facility was founded in 1996 and was named after Tetsuko’s childhood name Tutto-chan.

During Tetsuko’s recent visit, she was able to meet with a now 28-year-old man who was the first child to seek shelter at the center. The man conveyed his story of how the center was an invaluable lifeline for him. He had been a soldier in the Lord’s Resistance Army at age 11 and found the center after he escaped and was brought to Juba, Sudan’s capital.

The man, along with the center’s first director helped other escaped children receive shelter and care, changing the lives of many. The center’s first child was able to eventually escape to Uganda where he pursued his education and made it all the way to university.

The center director, Jim Long, claims the center has helped to save the lives of more than 2,500 children. The children have come from the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Sudan, and Ethiopia.

The center provides a variety of services to children seeking shelter. They provide interim accommodation and care, family tracing and reunification, psychological support, and welfare support. It is an invaluable regional asset helping children recover from serious trauma.

Tetsuko was incredibly pleased and humbled by the success of the center. She was enthusiastic to return to Japan and tell the Japanese people that the money they sent has been used to save the lives of so many children. She stated that visiting the center and seeing the progress they have made was one of her happiest moments in Sudan.

– Caitlin Zusy 
Source: UNICEF

Universal Primary Education
Since 1999, when 106 million children were not in school, much progress has been made. Today, approximately 61 million are out of school, and yet more progress is needed. In the past five years, due to the economic crisis, many nations decreased their foreign aid spending and thus progress was hindered. According to the World Bank and the U.N., the majority of children not attending schools live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, with at least half living in areas that are politically unstable.

Despite some progress, it is crucial to note that there is a percentage of people/areas that is not accounted for in the statistics of progress and primary education. For example, according to the U.N., 90% of primary aged children living in developing countries are now in school as opposed to that percentage being 82% in 1999. While the rise in percentage sounds great, “broad figures [have the tendency to] mask localized problems,” and thus, in actuality some countries barely have any primary aged children attending school. The children who are most unaffected by the progress and recent advancement are the extremely poor and the minorities. Nigeria, Yemen, Ethiopia, South Sudan, India,  Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Bangladesh account for half of the world’s children not going to school.

There is a demand for new donors or ‘funders,’ now that many nations have cut back on their foreign aid, from the private sector and through public fundraising. Part of the U.N. 2015 Millennium Goals was to ensure that all children have equal access to primary education and to increase females’ enrollment in schools. However, experts are claiming that education goals are difficult to reach due to issues such as child labor, cultural values, and other reasons. For example, in some cultures, it is valued more that daughters stay home while the sons receive an education. The women assume the housewife role while the men are valued to be the knowledgeable providers.

In addition to child labor and cultural values, there are many concerns regarding harassment and safety of the children attending schools. For example, some female students in Sierra Leone reported being sexually harassed by teachers in exchange for good grades. And it is almost impossible to forget the story of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl, who was shot by the Taliban for her advocacy of education for girls. Despite the unfortunates, where instituting education does work, it makes an incredible difference. Rebeca Winthrop, the director of the Center of Universal Education at the Brookings Institution in Washington, expressed that there are children who continue to learn even in refugee camps. Where there is desire, willingness, and determination, there is much hope for universal primary education and even further schooling.

– Leen Abdallah
Source: New York Times
Photo: Globalization 101

USAID Awards $400 Million to Clean Energy
USAID has awarded $400 million to four innovative engineering and technology companies to assist developing countries in attaining clean energy. Specifically, the goal of the contract is to implement new technologies and business models that aim to help “critical priority countries” transition to a low carbon trajectory. According to USAID, countries that will be receiving assistance and that qualify as “critical priority countries” include Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Sudan and Yemen.

Six energy sector themes outlined by USAID that will serve as guidelines for the contract are energy poverty, energy sector governance, energy sector reform, energy security, clean energy, and climate change. Over the course of five years, these awarded companies, Dexis Consulting Group, ECODIT LLC, Tetra Tech and Engility Corporation will compete to deliver their products to these countries and meet the five years, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract. The $400 million will be shared among the four companies and could reach the IDIQ before five years are up.

Tony Smeraglinolo, Engility President and CEO, said the company will compete to support energy reform efforts within the recipient countries. “Around the globe, there is a growing demand for responsible energy development and we are proud to have the opportunity to continue supporting USAID and its important mission,” said Smeraglinolo.

– Kira Maixner
Source: GovConWire , FedBizOpps
Photo: International Institution for Education and Development

10 Facts: The Lives of Aid Workers
Many people do not understand what it truly means to be a humanitarian aid worker. There are millions of people worldwide that dedicate their lives to improving the living conditions of people living in poverty in developing countries, refugee camps, or war zones. In countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the risk of violence and sickness is great. However, aid workers in other countries face just as many health risks and sleepless nights.

While the health risks are great, the benefits for these workers and the people they help are just as great. Making friends from all over the world, lifting people out of poverty, and sleeping on the beach can be some of the perks of the job. Here are ten facts about the lives of aid workers according to the Aid Worker Fact Sheet procured by Humanitarian Outcomes, Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALAP) and a few workers themselves.

  1. In 2011, 308 aid workers were killed, kidnapped or wounded – the highest number yet recorded. Afghanistan was the country with the highest number of attacks on aid works, 50, compared to 18 in Somalia, 17 in South Sudan, 13 in Pakistan and 12 in Sudan.
  2. Statistics suggest that attacks on aid workers happen in weak, unstable states and experiencing active armed conflict.
  3. Governments can pose challenges to the aid community through overbearing or ill-advised use of their security forces. In its worst form, aid workers can be caught or directly targeted in government forces’ hostilities.
  4. The conditions of aid works vary greatly from country to country. Sometimes, reliable access to amenities of the western world like electricity, hot and cold running water, reliable heat and cooling, and the freedom of movement to explore at your leisure.
  5. At times, the mental capacity of the job presents a challenge. Constant movement and the witness of horrendous living conditions frequently cause humanitarian workers to “burn out” after a few years in the field.

However, it is not all bad. Here are five facts that surpass the risks of working in developing or war-torn countries.

  1. Aid workers live a life of service that aligns with their values and are surrounded by colleagues that share the same passion and commitments. Though aid workers are on the constant move, they make connections and lasting friendships with people across the globe.
  2. Challenge and responsibility come earlier in the career of a relief worker than in many other careers.
  3. Relief workers have the opportunities to make a lasting, true impact on the lives of many of the people they encounter.
  4. Relief work allows humanitarians to escape the beaten, tourist track and truly experience different cultures and countries.
  5. According to ALNAP, there are 274,238 humanitarian field workers across the world.

– Kira Maixner

Source: Humanitarian Outcomes, Humanitarian Jobs
Photo: European Commission