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Supporting the new state of South Sudan through basic agricultural, water and sanitation services - ACTED is committed to meeting the emerging needs and challenges of the new state of South Sudan through the provision of basic services. ACTED South Sudan focuses on agricultural support, provision of water and sanitation services and support for basic infrastructure to communities in transition, particularly those who have returned from Sudan. Community-based approaches, including Community-Led Total Sanitation and Cash for Work, are emphasized in order to support the most vulnerable households and promote local sustainability. ACTED is also working to react to new areas of need such as the refugee crisis’s in Upper Nile and Unity States, and the inter-tribal conflicts in Jonglei. ACTED is currently supporting refugee populations in Jamam camp as well as host populations, following massive displacement of populations from Sudan: camp coordination, delivery of basic goods and services, access to potable water, etc.
Economic reintegration for returnees
Throughout 2011, hundreds of thousands of returnees from northern Sudan resettled in their traditional areas of origin in South Sudan. These returnees faced a host of reintegration challenges including accessing land, information, and legal protection. Having lived in peri-urban areas, they lack both farming skills and the resources to engage in non-farming activities. To support returnees in re-establishing agricultural skills and developing sustainable livelihoods, ACTED established 20 agricultural committees and provided agricultural inputs (seeds and tools) to 6,727 households. ACTED also provided trainings on improved agricultural techniques, complemented by establishment of demonstration plots. In addition, ACTED began to repair feeder roads to connect agricultural communities to markets. This critical infrastructure rehabilitation was undertaken utilizing Cash for Work; returnees and host community members both provided labour. Cash injections allowed beneficiaries to cover both their immediate needs (such as food stocks) while also providing a source of income to invest into livelihood sources such as tools or improved seeds for agriculture. Provision of agricultural and infrastructure services have helped address the needs of returnees as well as alleviate the strain placed on host communities. These activities also provided a solid foundation for longer-term development in Greater Bahr-el-Ghazal.
Focus on water, sanitation and hygiene
Water availability and sanitation conditions are at critically low rates in South Sudan. In Western Bahr-el-Ghazal state, less than 40% of the population has access to improved water sources, and only 8.5% of the population uses latrines. Overall health indicators, particularly those corresponding with water borne diseases, are poor: prevalence of diarrhoea is at approximately 50%, for example. Stress on already poor water and sanitation infrastructure is deepened by the inflow of returnees. In order to ameliorate water and sanitation conditions in Western Bahr-el-Ghazal, ACTED has been working on several aspects of the issue. ACTED has constructed and rehabilitated over 50 boreholes in the state. To promote sustainability, local water committees have been set up at every borehole site, and at least one member of the committee has been trained in operation and maintenance of the boreholes. In terms of sanitation, ACTED has constructed institutional latrines, provided incentives to households for construction of household latrines and implemented a community-led total sanitation approach whereby communities develop their own sanitation solutions. ACTED has also provided hygiene training and promotion throughout Western Bahr-el-Ghazal State. These interventions have improved access to water, thereby supporting positive health outcomes.
Maintaining a strong focus on emergency response while developing early recovery strategies
Overall, throughout 2011, ACTED worked to meet the urgent and priority needs of the newly established country. ACTED focused on providing services to vulnerable communities affected by the influx of returnees from Sudan, focusing on agriculture, basic infrastructure and water and sanitation. Additionally, 2011 was also a transitional year for the ACTED mission as it prepared to expand its current mission into two to three new areas of intervention. ACTED realizes the growing challenges facing the nation and is working to react to new areas of need such as the refugee crisis’s in Upper Nile and Unity States, and the inter-tribal conflicts in Jonglei.