Since 1955, Sudan has been locked in conflict that has caused nearly 4 million people to be displaced from their homes.
After enduring years and years of civil war, South Sudan celebrated its independence on July 9, 2011. The 9-year-old country is the youngest in the world and is home to more than 12 million people.
Since 1970, Tearfund has been working in the area which is now South Sudan, providing food aid, initiating water and sanitation programs, and working with communities to promote peacebuilding.
The country has suffered from locusts, hunger, and conflict, but this year, with the challenges arising from the global pandemic, comes new needs. Together, with community members and local partners, Tearfund is working hard to prevent the virus from spreading.
Nyra, a local hero
To deliver key health and preventative messages to keep people safe, you need people like Nyra. Nyra is a Community Nutrition Volunteer in Uror, South Sudan, who received Tearfund’s training on Covid-19 symptoms and preventative measures in May.
After her training, Nyra went to nearby villages to set up tippy taps, a simple device for handwashing with running water. A container with a small hole near the cap is filled with water and tipped with a stick and rope tied through a hole in the cap. Because only the soap is touched with the hands, the device is very hygienic.
Nyra has since shared health messages in four villages and has raised awareness among guardians of malnourished children, as well as expectant and nursing mothers who attend the Motot Feeding Centre. She advised people to wash their hands before entering the center and sit apart while waiting for treatment. She shared that most people are not aware of coronavirus preventative measures.
Reflecting on her observations in rural communities, she thinks that it will take time for people to change their behavior and start practicing prevention measures. However, Nyra said she will continue to bring these health messages to protect people in these communities.
Looking to the future
Anthony Rama, Tearfund’s Country Director for South Sudan discusses what celebrating independence means in light of all the challenges the South Sudanese people face:
“As we celebrate nine years into our independence, we remember the struggles, sacrifices and pains that led to this day, and what happened later when clashes killed 400 hundred people and millions were forced out of their homes. We don’t want to lose hope, but rather look ahead and work to end the cycle of violence and poverty. To work together for peace and a better future.”
Earlier this year, South Sudan’s rival political opponents came to a peace agreement and it was hoped that this would decrease tensions between communities in the region. However, violence has been on the rise since March, with community conflicts centering around cattle raiding and retribution for previous attacks.
“The need is great in South Sudan, but we believe that God has brought us this far, and has great plans for our nation. Please continue to pray with us – and thank you for your ongoing support,” Anthony asks.
Tearfund’s COVID-19 response
Around the world, Tearfund is working on the front lines to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Below is an update of the progress we've made so far, but there is always more to be done. Will you pray and partner with us today?