ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) was invited by Action for Development (AFOD) in Southern Sudan (S.Sudan) to an official visit directed towards exploration of possible collaboration areas and strategize for partnerships with AFOD and their funding agencies in in the region. This invitation was in line with AFOD’s plans to consolidate and expand their operations within and outside Sudan, including Uganda. It was a follow up on a discussion held in August 2015 between the Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (EA RI Lab) Director and the Executive Director AFOD on potential partnership with a focus on food security and resilience strengthening in Southern Sudan. A team of two people from RAN; EA RI Lab Director and the Research officer were in S. Sudan for one week to meet with the different partners and discuss areas for possible partnership. The visit was fully sponsored by AFOD-Thank you so much for the kind consideration.
The main purpose of this visit was to gain a better understanding of AFOD programming, interact with potential partners and understand the existing contextual situation that influences resilience programming in Southern Sudan so as to forge a way of extending resilience work to Southern Sudan through AFOD. Meetings held with partners include the following;
Meeting with the AFOD team
As the first activity, the RAN team was introduced to the AFOD staff in Southern Sudan. RAN team was taken through AFOD’s operations in S.Sudan and the 5 year Strategic Plan including AFOD’s intervention focus. The meeting was attended by the Senior Management of AFOD.
Meetings with other stakeholders
United Nations Agencies
Meetings were held with specific departments within the UN agencies including the following; UNICEF, WFP, UNDP and FAO. During these meetings, the RAN Team shared about RAN’s operations, activities and how best RAN can work with the respective agencies. Action for Development also shared their work with each of the agencies visited. Generally RAN was given a warm welcome in all the visited agencies, appreciated and congratulated for developing a community oriented resilience framework that is quite different from other resilience frameworks that are also considered to be academic. RAN’s approach was deemed appropriate for building/strengthening resilience in a country like Southern Sudan which has faced several resilience challenges. This visit was recorded as timely in a country that has encountered several shocks and stresses. Most of these agencies noted that their main focus has been supporting response activities within the country and therefore important and timely to start working with and incorporating the resilience lens into their program activities.
University of JUBA
The RAN and AFOD team also visited one of the oldest public universities in Southern Sudan-University of JUBA. The team paid a courtesy call to the Dean College of Industrial and Applied Sciences as well as the Registrar for Administration and Finance, Prof. Salah Khatir Jubarah who also serves as the acting Vice Chancellor (VC). Currently, the University does not have public Health programs and expressed the need for Makerere University School of Public Health to support them in establishing courses that address Public Health challenges in the country. The acting VC committed to discussing this partnership with the College of Medicine and Senate to determine modalities for the same. Prof. Salah also requested the RAN team to recruit the University in the Network so that they too can benefit from the resilience programming.
Central Equatorial State, State Ministry of Health in Juba
The team also visited the Central Equatorial State, State Ministry of Health in Juba. The discussions here were around the fact that the ministry needs to strengthen public health components of prevention which are in line with building resilience in the communities. The ministry expressed a concern on high levels of malnutrition and requested MakSPH-RAN to support the ministry with methodologies and innovations that can address the alarming cases of malnutrition in the country
Key Emerging discussion questions and points
- What plan does RAN have for Southern Sudan and how relevant is RAN to Southern Sudan?
- How do agencies integrate resilience in their programming?
- A need for a mega resilience plan for southern Sudan
- Fear of duplication of efforts e.g. why do we need a new framework when we have an existing one like COBRA, RIMA, Oxfam among others. How do we harmonize this?
- How do we strengthen community resilience using the data generated from Resilience analysis?
The next steps
- To develop a joint proposal in partnership with AFOD and share with the agencies for possibilities of funding. The proposal should focus on resilience programming in S.Sudan
- UNDP S.Sudan is organizing a resilience analysis expert workshop in January 2016 in Southern Sudan, RAN to participate in planning for this meeting.
- RAN to explore possibilities of establishing a resilience innovation hub in Southern Sudan.