Juba: Promoting social cohesion & improving access to income
According to UN poverty facts and figures extreme poverty rates have been reduced by more than 50 % since 1990. Yet 767 million people live below the international poverty line of USD $1.90 a day; the majority of which live in Sub-Saharan Africa. The highest poverty rates are often found in small, fragile and conflict-affected countries.
The situation in South Sudan is especially dire. The country is facing ongoing political and economic challenges that has resulted in one of the world’s worst displacement situations with tremendous suffering for civilians. The country’s economic situation has been deteriorating as a result of the 2016 conflict. According to trading economics, the inflation rate in South Sudan was 142% as at November 2017. The continuous fluctuation in value of the South Sudanese Pound against the US Dollar has caused a hike in the cost of living, leaving many households with hardly a meal a day.
To address this problem, the South Sudan country programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) is implementing a World Bank-funded Safety Net and Skills Development Project (SSNDP) which is providing access to income and promoting social protection through temporary public work employment for vulnerable and poor men, women and youth in Juba.
“The conflict in our country almost completely divided us. Through this project I am able to interact with fellow residents in Juba, but most importantly secure an income and develop new skills for future employment. I get a wage for every day that I work. The community has also benefitted because the project includes road rehabilitation, drainage improvement and clearing institutional and household compounds. I am grateful to AAH-I and its partners, and I am hopeful that my future is bright,” says project participant Sejerena Juan.
As at January 2018, at least 6,000 households (54301 individuals) have benefitted from SNSDP, and have reached received a total of US $1,620,000 in wages. Some members have used this opportunity to form local savings and credit associations (locally referred as Sonduk-Sonduk), strengthening income capacity and livelihood improvement.
This initiative is undertaken in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Cooperatives, and Rural Development, the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development. The main objectives are to promote social cohesion among communities in South Sudan and to support eligible project participants to increase and sustain their livelihoods, and to acquire new skills. The project is complementing Sustainable Development Goal 1 of ending poverty in all forms everywhere.