VSO has been working in South Sudan since July 2011. VSO is focusing on the issues of health, basic education and good governance, the last of which is tied strongly to the voices of community in holding with local government to account for basic services through the building of civil society.
The population has been affected by massive displacement and trauma in war lasting over 40 years leaving a profound paucity of infrastructure, a tremendously fragile economic base, and a poorly educated and underserved population from which to build a state. In addition, the new government has to establish internal peace, provide for large numbers of refugees, and make progress in unresolved oil and border issues with Sudan.
Overall the country has only 27% literacy, falling to 8% for women and in 2012-13 education received only 6.8% of the countries budget. Fewer than half of primary age children are enrolled in school and 43% of teachers have only primary school education. VSO is supporting the government in setting standards and developing primary education services, and supporting teacher training to raise the numbers and quality of those entering the teaching profession.
Health services received only 2.9% of the budget of 2012-13, although under-five mortality is very high, almost 30% of the population needed food aid, and maternal mortality is the worse in the world. There are only 1.5 physicians and 2 nurses/midwifes for every 100,000 citizens, so VSO is supporting the development of the nursing training colleges and supporting the design and management of health services nationally and locally.
Finally VSO is working to mobilise communities to encourage people to engage with the government and develop their ability to hold it to account as many years of fighting for freedom have prevented the normal development of citizenship and state relations. Our work includes local support to civil society and elected bodies, and engaging citizens in the planning of local services to meet their needs.
VSO’s work aims to build better basic services for communities across South Sudan, and to support the development of healthy relationships between the state and its citizens in a country which needs time to resolve its internal conflicts and needs skills across all areas of the civil service to develop its most basic services.
Get in touch with VSO South Sudan at:
Tong Ping, Plot 309, Block 2 Residential Area behind Goal International, Juba, South Sudan