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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.
The statement on LOGOSEED project reads: ‘The Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) is implementing the Local Governance and Service Delivery Project (LGSDP) financed by the International Development Association as well as the bi-lateral donor Denmark. The LGSDP is implemented on behalf of GRSS by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) and the Local Government Board (LGB). The Project was approved by the World Bank Board on March 28, 2013 and the Project is currently scheduled to close on December 31, 2018.
LOGOSEED is an ACRONYM devised from Local Governance and Service Delivery Project (LGSDP). For simple pronunciation, the Project partners agreed on LOGOSEED instead of LGSDP to be used as the project name. The project is divided into four components namely
1. Block Grants to Counties for Payam Development,
2. Community Engagement,
3. Institutional Strengthening and
4. Project Management.
The Objective of the Project
The Specific Objective of the LOGOSEED Project is ‘To promote and strengthen the engagement of communities in inclusive and participatory planning, implementation and oversight of local development activities at Boma, Payam and County levels using conflict sensitive approaches’.
Across was contracted to facilitate the Community Engagement component in the Lakes State region in January 2015 and the contract was renewed in December 2015 for 2 more years till December 2017, with a possibility for extension to the completion of the pilot period that ends in 2018.
Project Partners and Coordination
The Community Engagement component of LOGOSEED is implemented by Across in Lakes State under the supervision of the Project Management Unit (PMU) in Juba, and in coordination with the State Project Coordination and Support Office (SPCSO) of PMU, the States’ Ministries of Local Government and Law Enforcement Agencies and the County Authorities. Across as the Facilitating Partner also collaborates with the Co water, a Canadian firm contracted to provide Technical Assistance to build County Authorities’ capacities in construction and financial management and accountability among other areas.
Across is facilitating community engagement as follows:
72 Bomas in 21 Payams of 4 Counties namely Rumbek East, Yirol West, Wulu and Rumbek Central are being facilitated by Across in Lakes State region
Over 12,000 people have attended the community consultation meetings whereby they have carried out conflict, social and resource assessment & mapping and identified needs and prioritized them
Each of the 72 Bomas has formed Boma Development Committee (BDC) and 726 members have been trained in their roles and responsibilities
Each of the 21 Payams has formed Payam Development Committee (PDC) and 334 PDC members have been trained in their roles and responsibilities
For the 27 Bomas in the 9 Payams started in 2015, 40 projects were approved and have started. These include: 4 Primary Schools (with 2 classrooms for each school), 31 Boreholes, 1 Primary Health Care Unit, 2 Primary Health Care Centers, 1 public toilet (with 5 stances) at a market place and a 46 km road.
The Payam Development Grant fund for these 40 projects is USD 1,850,012.
Each of the 40 projects formed a Project Supervisory Team (PST) and a total of 202 PST members have been trained in their roles and responsibilities.
Some of the notable changes in attitude and action from the communities through the engagement are:
Communities are now positive that the projects will succeed. Initially when the stakeholders meetings and community consultations were carried out in each County, the people told Across that the project will not succeed because previous government projects have not succeeded. The people were informed that this project is different in that the communities participate and decide which projects and where they will be allocated. They also participate in the implementation and management of the project. Currently, the communities are quite happy and are fully involved in the planning, implementation and management of the projects.
Communities are taking responsibility to manage the facilities and are maintaining them. For example, 19 boreholes were constructed in Rumbek East in 2013 and to date all are operating well. Communities through the Water user committees collect money and in some places Ground nuts which are sold for use in repairing the pump when needed. They buy spare parts and pay a technician to fix it.
Elite capture has been successfully contained. No one individual decides where the project should be whether it should be near his/her own place or so. The whole community discusses and agrees where the facility should be. There some places where the chiefs wanted to divert the location of boreholes to be near their homes and away from the general population. The BDC and PDC members stood firm and successfully resisted such moves.
Women have participated fully. About 40% of the participants in the community consultations meetings have been women and have successfully influenced which kind of projects should be selected. In a place called Wulu Gedim in Wulu County, youths residing in Wulu town but coming from Wulu Gedim, came to the community meeting prepared to influence the community to select the Boma Administration construction as the project to be taken. The women said they wanted water. When the voting came which was by standing in lines for the project one wanted, all the women went to the water project with some men supporting them. They were singing even as they lined up. The youths were so embarrassed that they could not even stand on their own in the administration office construction line, instead they joined the line for the water project. The women joked saying ‘where are the young men for the administration office? Some women in Abarkou Boma in Rumbek Centre after the voting for projects, whereby their choice of a Primary Health Care went through, were so happy and said that ‘this democratic system of making decisions jointly, should also be used in family decisions in homes’
The PDCs are involved in the management of the projects work and approve payment when the work has been completed. In some places the contractors wanted to be paid before the completion of the work. The chairmen of the PDCs do refuse to sign for the payments until all the work is completed well.
The Project is managed by Dr. Jonas Njelango at State level and is supported by 3 Project Officers. John Malou manages Rumbek East and Rumbek Centre; Poth Madit Manages Wulu County work and Peter Majur manages Yirol West County work. The project has 3 vehicles among other assets/equipment and has recruited 3 Drivers to facilitate movement to the Counties and communities. The Head of Programs supported by the Across Leadership Team in general in Juba main office, provide technical and leadership support for quality assurance and interface with the Project Management Unit/Local Government Board/Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (PMU/LGB/MoFEP) in Juba. The Across Lakes State Region Team Leader provides on the ground general oversight and coordination of the LOGOSEED work in the State. The finance manager/Accountant and Logistician in Lakes State location provide support to the project.
The major challenge in Lakes region is security. Many times the work has to stop because conflict will be going on in an area. Recently, Across staff were robbed on the road from Rumbek Central to Rumbek East. Border disputes exacerbate the security problem. Currently the LOGOSEED team cannot travel to Bhargel Payam and carry out the work due to the border dispute between the newly created States of Western Lakes and Gok.
The roads are very bad especially during the rainy season. Rivers and streams and flooding hinder travel to many of the communities and project sites. Our preference is to carry out most of the work during the dry season but funding delay forced the projects implementation to be done during the dry season.
Communities being involved in the implementation and management of projects is a new approach. Authorities are not used to having communities participate in decision on contractors’ selection and management of the projects. It took persistence and continued dialogue with County Authorities and they are beginning to understand and accept the involvement of communities in the projects implementation and management.