When South Sudan declared its independence from the North in 2011, the hope for a better future based on peace, trust and justice was stunning after decades of civil war. However, almost six years later the reality is completely different: 2.5 million people are internally displaced due to the ongoing violence, while the situation is deteriorating. Access to food, clean water and medical care does not exist in most parts of the country. Around five million people were depending on food aid in 2016. Since 2011, Johanniter is active in South Sudan, implementing projects to enhance the nutrition status of malnourished children, mothers and pregnant women, improving hygiene practices in local communities and providing basic medical care. Long-term approaches in agricultural extension are contributing to increase food security while helping to improve livelihoods of the people.
Ensuring better access to primary health care for the local population, improving the hygiene practices in local communities, contributing to a healthier nutrition and improved mother-child health are all topics of training courses, Johanniter are carrying out in cooperation with their partner organizations. Those trainings are specifically targeting Community Health Care Workers who will share their gained knowledge with the local communities.
In addition to the construction and renovation of primary health facilities, Johanniter is also equipping those facilities with necessary medicines and medical equipment. To employ qualified health care workers and midwives for carrying out the health care services is also crucial for the sustainability of the projects. In Western Equatoria State, Johanniter supported 30 health facilities in 2016, providing health care services for more than 84.000 people.
In Western Bahr el Ghazal State, Johanniter supports the treatment of severely malnourished children with therapeutic food, containing high levels of vitamins and minerals. Moderate malnourished children and pregnant women receive supplementary food.
Many families cannot save enough food resources until the next harvest season, thus food insecurity can be frequently observed throughout the region and food scarcity intensifies. Therefore, supplementary food is distributed to children under the age of three, in order to prevent malnutrition. At the same time, Johanniter is also combatting the causes of malnutrition and the associated diseases through education programmes about hygiene, nutrition, the importance of access to safe water, as well as supporting communities to improve agriculture and farming.
South Sudan: No Calm for Youngest Country in the World
It took only two years after the “birth” of South Sudan, when violent conflicts flared up by the end of 2013. A power struggle between President Salva Kiir Mayadit and former Vice-President Riek Machar triggered a civil war that has caused tens of thousands of casualties while millions had to leave their home in search for protection.
The ambitious dream after gaining independence on July 09th 2011 to rebuild the country vanished in the chaos and aftermath of the conflict. Six years later, there is almost no existing infrastructure in South Sudan. The country is lacking qualified teachers, doctors, technicians as well as administrative staff or agricultural specialists. The supply with drinking water or food is extremely difficult. The armed clashes and constant threat of violence in large parts of the country exacerbates the situation. Refugees cannot manage their fields and harvest crops, vital roads are not accessible, food prices are rising while monetary inflation is causing additional pressure on South Sudan`s economy. Today, the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is among the most serious in the world.