Left: teacher training; Centre: A peace mission in a cattle camp; Right: Vegetable production supported by ACROSS
Health & Education
ACROSS’ Health and Education programmes in Rumbek East work closely with the Ministries of Education and Health. In 2016 ACROSS trained 8 health managers in order to strengthen the supervision of health facilities.
ACROSS trains teachers and supervisors in the education sector. Head teachers from Rumbek East reported in 2016 that they were now receiving regular supervisory visits from Payam and County school inspectors, and attributed this to ACROSS’ programme. ACROSS also helps children to stay in education, particularly girls, incentivising boys to support girls’ learning and education. Thanks in part to ACROSS, 574 girls and 230 boys continued in education in 2016, while 105 girls and 63 boys completed their education.
The Health & Education programmes contain a significant peacebuilding element, which also involves the local church. ECS bishops of Akot and Rumbek dioceses, Bishops Isaac and Alapayo, alongside clan leaders, government officials and NGOs, have worked hard to mediate between youth of rival clans. ACROSS has played its part in bringing people together and through the use of Digital Audio Players, particularly in cattle camps. Revenge killing and clan fighting were significantly reduced in 2016. Rival clans were able to stay together in one cattle camp and visit each other’s villages without restriction or fear.
Farming God’s Way
Supported by Tear Fund Switzerland, ACROSS ran refresher training to improve food security in Rumbek East, attended by 20 participants, following basic training in 2015.
Funded by the International Development Association and by Denmark, the Local Government and Service Delivery Project provides block grants for payam development, involves communities throughout the process, strengthens institutions, and provides project management support. ACROSS facilitates community engagement for the project, helping bomas and payams to identify their needs, develop priority lists and select projects. Thanks to ACROSS, women made up 46% of participants in community meetings, influencing the kind of interventions prioritised. Women, who fetch water from distant places, have particularly identified water as a pressing need. ACROSS has helped to set up Payam Development Committees and Project Supervisory Teams to supervise interventions once selected, following up with County Authorities and contractors when work is not proceeding as it should. Water User Committees have over 50% female representation.
Goal: To develop an overview of the context and current trends in Boma Sub-County, analyze key stakeholders, map out conflict and conflict related risks, and peace building opportunities, with a view to outlining entry points for future Across programming. Boma Early Recovery Programme (ERP)
Location: Boma County
NFIs distribution to 1000 HH in Jebel Boma County
Boma Peace and Education project (proposal submitted but not yet approved)
Registration of 1,354 House holds for distribution of Non food items and vegetable seeds
Procurement, transportation and distribution of NFIs and vegetable seeds to Jebel Boma County.
Distribution of 986 NFI kits to at least 5,000 beneficiaries in four locations in Jebel Boma
Continue the community capacity building of local government administrators and supporting students in schools in Uganda.
Conducted education assessment and established baseline data for the basis for any Education intervention in Jebel Boma.
Across Boma is now the lead Education cluster coordinator for all other NGOs working on Education in Boma
Challenges & Needs
There is need for a Location Manager to help in project implementation
There are more returnees. 1000 HH plan is therefore short of covering the whole population of the returnees.
Lack of funding has made it hard to start implementing our education in emergencies project.
Need for renovation of Boma education and compound facilities to enable staff establish to fully implement the projects. In 2013 Across compound suffered great losses following theft and destruction property. In 2015 lightning struck hitting the vsat, and other electronic equipment and one staff.
Need to buy 1 car to ease mobility to field locations
Goal: Peace economy programme contributing towards achievement of mdg1 to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and mdg 3 to promote gender equality and empower women of lakes state of South Sudan. PEACE ECONOMY (PE)
Location: Rumbek East County Boma County
Achievement Sept 2015:
Food security: 4 trainings for 30 participants on market and gardening of vegetables and fruits in were conducted in Aduel, Atiaba and Cuei-bet County for 3 days. 4 groups of 30 farmers were formed in Akot, Atiaba , Aduel and Paloc respectively 2 trainings were conducted for 3 days each on crops diversifications in Aduel, and Atiaba payams. Three local farms were established at Atiaba, Aduel, and Paloc Payam.
Community managed micro-finance (CMMF): 2 trainings conducted on saving and loan associations for 3 days to Aduel and Mathiangic CMMF groups. 1 group saved SSP 3000 after the training in the month of August 2015.
Peace building: 6 community peace dialogue meetings were conducted in partnership with greater Akot community lead peace initiatives in 6 Payams, of Aduel, Akot, Paloc, Atiaba, Pacong, Mathiang kok. 300 promototional T-shirt with peace building message were distributed in various communities in Rumbek East County.
This is a UKAID funded project whose initiative is to take up UKAID Girls’ Education Challenge and to contribute to improved life chances of marginalized girls. The Lead organisation in South Sudan is Red Een Kind (ReK) and the key partner organisation is Across. The project focuses on lower and upper primary. Target location is Rumbek East County in 25 schools. Project impact on learning targets 12,336 marginalised girls.
What is the project doing?
Addressing key stakeholders in the promotion of girls Education (girls, teachers and fathers and other key male stakeholders) combining three innovative methods: School Mothers, the What’s Up? Packages and use of Digital Audio Players (DAPs).
Implementing the ‘School Mother’ method has been successful in Rumbek East County for the last three years. The ‘School Mother’ method allows women who are respected in the community and who support girls’ education to become advocates that work with communities, parents and in schools with the girls and teacher. The school Mothers are trained counsellors and promoters of girls’ education. They are targeted due to the absence of female teachers in schools in Rumbek East County. They mobilise and engage parents to send and support girls in school; they also provide girls with counselling and guidance to retain them in school and care and support girls to manage their sexual maturation especially the menstruation cycles through the use of locally produced sanitary towels.
Addressing cultural beliefs and rites which are underlying issues preventing girls’ education through the What’s Up?! Packages. The packages are targeted at teachers, men and the girls. These are carefully structured processes of engagement through dialogue, self-reflection and envisioning about girls education with an objective of mind set change. It is a process of communication for social change and transformation where stakeholders agree on the need and the actions to address the issues identified.
Providing training using solar powered Digital Audio Players (DAPs). These are recorded with various packages of training materials including teaching methodology, life skills, English language and peace building messages. The DAPs are recorded and distributed to target beneficiaries as training and learning kits.
The innovation aspect of the project
The ‘What’s Up?’ set of life skills training for teachers has been piloted in Uganda, but is new to South Sudan. Different types of training have already been developed and are being adapted to the local context of Rumbek East County. They address, in particular, cultural issues related to gender based violence, the position of men and women, and the importance of girls’ education. New What’s Up?! Packages have also been developed specifically for this project, with a component directed at male community members.
The DAPs are innovative because they are easy, accessible, modern and environmentally friendly learning tools. They offer listeners the option to repeat a lesson anytime, anywhere, providing ‘on demand’ sessions not available through traditional methods. Through the project this methodology will be fine-tuned and expanded.
What has so far been accomplished?
50 school mothers have been identified, trained and deployed to work in the 25 target schools and the communities mobilising girls for enrolment and supporting them to stay in school. To date the number of girls that have enrolled has increased in the target schools largely due to the efforts of the school mothers. In 2013 the enrolment rate for girls was 27% and 73% for boys. This year the rate stands at 37% girls and 63% boys.
The community dialogue processes are yielding positive commitments from the parents especially the male parents to send and maintain girls in school. During the dialogues, the communities have come to appreciate and acknowledge that early marriages and the influence of getting cows as bride wealth to support the marriage of boys has played a key role in girls drop out. This was originally not agreeable. The communities have set community visions to enroll girls at an early age 5-7 and retain them in school.
Up to 37 teachers were trained in the teaching methodology and 38 more are targeted. Also 25 are targeted for the intensive English training course. These trainings are integrated with, What’s Up Teachers? Packages to address their role in girls’ education.
Education campaigns have been organised to promote girls education. These have drawn the attention of girls, boys, parents and local government authorities in playing their role in the promotion of girls’ education.
The key challenges
The operational context is largely characterised by a high incidence of localised conflicts in the form of clan fighting and revenge killings which affect the implementation of the project timelines.
The cultural influence of raising girls for marriage to bring cows is deeply entrenched and works against the enrolment and retention of girls in school.
The overall political turmoil in South Sudan as a result of the war between the SPLM in opposition and the SPLM in power also affects the project. Little attention placed on education.
The unfavourable policy environment particularly the recently concluded NGO policy has a lot of implications for the operations of NGOs in the country
The total lack of qualified teachers and more specifically absence of female teachers compromises the quality of education and discourages enrolment and retention
The economic turn down and depreciation of the local currency (South Sudan Pound) against the US dollar affects the project costs. High prices for project inputs.
Poor road infrastructure affecting access to project sites and the effects of weather especially flooding also making access difficult.