Welcome to the fifth issue of the Recovery and Rehabilitation Programme E-Bulletin. This monthly newsletter aims to highlight project successes while keeping development partners updated on RRP news.

The RRP is a five-year initiative (2005-2010), including four years of implementation. The largest and most comprehensive recovery programme in Sudan, the RRP is managed by UNDP on behalf of the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan with funding of € 55.8 million; € 49.75 million of which comes from the European Commission, and € 1.5 million from the Government of Norway. A total of 44 national and international NGOs are working together in 10 areas across the country (Blue Nile, Abyei, River Nile, Red Sea, South Kordofan, Northern Upper Nile, Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Warrap and Northern Bahr Al-Ghazal) concentrating on institutional strengthening, improving livelihoods and basic services.

This issue of the RRP E-Bulletin highlights some stories from our project in Warrap State, where the RRP is implemented by lead agency VSF-Germany and partners World Vision, CESVI, INFRAID and SEDA.

Cattle raiding and tribal clashes have made recovery difficult in this area, but RRP partners continue to work not only on delivering basic services in the face of conflict, but weakening the beliefs that act as catalysts for inter-clan fighting.

“If you can change the attitudes, then you can change everything,” says Hudson Shiverenje as he demonstrates how to hang a tin canister from a tree and tip it forward to make it run like a tap. Shiverenje is a consultant working with RRP in Luonyaker. He is currently leading a team that is training students how to use pit latrines.

“This way students can wash their hands after using the latrine,” he says. Shiverenje hopes that the students will listen to what he has to say; and pass the information on to their families.

“During these two years of RRP implementation, the level of understanding has definitely become better,” says Maluac Lueth, LGA planning officer. Traditional beliefs such as the ideas that cows should only be used as dowries and girls should not go to school are slowly changing, he says.

“There used to be a big problem getting children to go to school,” he says. Now the problem is finding teachers, not students. Also, people now seek out public health centres instead of going to witch doctors.

But a lot still has to be done, he adds.

“The problem is the manpower,” he says. With no young medical personnel and teachers assigned to health centres and schools, progress is stalled.

In spite of these challenges, the RRP team concentrates on the areas where they see improvements.

“We look to the positive rather than the negative; we see what works and then we focus on how to make it sustainable,” says Lueth.

The reason why it works is simple, he adds. Most of the partners are from this area and they are anxious to see development happen. The NGOs know how to interact with the local communities; and most of us have worked with the NGOs. There is a very strong relationship.”

Parents Proactive about Girls in School

Eleven-year-old Margaret Ayon Chan parks her bicycle under the shade of a big tree, and walks into a classroom full of boys. She takes a seat near the front of the room and eagerly waits for the teacher.

Chan sits quietly in the middle of the commotion; as her classmates shout and play with each other. It is easy to see why some girls would feel uncomfortable; but Chan doesn’t seem to mind.

“I feel at home here and it should be the same for girls as it is for boys,” she says with a confident grin. “Before the RRP I didn’t go to school. Then this school was built and those ladies talked to my mom, she says, pointing to a group of women who are sitting together near the building.

The women are members of the Yiik RRP Gender and Advocacy group; and they think sending girls to school is a good idea.

“We have seen in other areas, in other countries, girls being encouraged to go to school, and I have heard that there are positive results,” says 35-yr-old mother of two girls, Mary Abuk Akol.

Around here, it is more common to see young girls collecting water or helping out at home, rather than sitting in a classroom; but Akol says that through her advocacy work with the RRP she can now see beyond that belief and she hopes that others will be able to as well.

“I have seen the difference in the way that educated people respond compared to the way uneducated ones respond,” she says. “For example, our generation was not educated and now there is so much conflict in the clan. “But those who were educated are the ones who are doing something towards peace.”

The advocacy group travels to different communities and talks to parents about the importance of sending girls to school. They tell parents that education is not only for boys, and that girls are not only for collecting cattle.

Here, the number of cows a girl can bring in from a potential mate depend on things like her height, beauty, family and character. But education counts too, says Akol. And the women in the group say this is proving to be a convincing argument. More and more parents are changing their minds about sending their girls to school because an educated girl can win more cows; and that is seen as beneficial for the whole family. Getting girls in the classroom is the first step, and then the attitudes will change over time, she says.

“If a girl is educated she can do something good for the whole county instead of just doing something good for her family.”

Mobile Clinic Reaches Remote Communities

Abuop Deng lifts up her baby’s shirt and shows a community health worker a rash that covers the infant’s stomach. He has had it for weeks, along with a fever and diarrhea, she explains. They, along with dozens of other community members, are sitting under the shade of a huge tree in the centre of the small village of Mawut.

“I didn’t know the health clinic would be here today, she says as Deec Akot Deec, a RRP health worker writes out a prescription for antibiotics. “I live very far away and came here to collect water. Then I saw everyone gathered under the tree and realized what was happening.”

This is the second time Deng has received treatment at the RRP mobile health clinic. The last time was a few months ago when she brought her other son to the clinic. He was also suffering from fever and diarrhea. After a health worker examined him he was given medicine and is now fine.

The mobile health clinic is an RRP initiative that brings basic health care to remote rural communities. A team of health workers is trained; and travels to different villages every month to provide services to people who might otherwise never see a doctor.

“Before I would have to walk to Luonyaker,” says Deng. “It takes about three hours,” she says. Deec explains that her son has a parasite from drinking dirty water and directs her to a small table that is littered with drugs; mostly, antimalarials, paracetemol and antibiotics. Three men sit around the table divvying out pills. They slide them into small paper cones before giving them to the patients. Deng takes her pills and leaves the clinic.

Parasites, malaria and malnutrition are common health problems in rural Sudan and these are the types of things community health workers are trained to diagnose and treat. The serious shortage of doctors, nurses and registered health workers means that even the most basic training can save lives, says Deec.

Similarly, a simple examination by a trained midwife can make the difference between a safe pregnancy and one with complications, says Theresa, a midwife who is working out of a tukul as part of the health team.

She gently prods a woman’s stomach, and determines that she is two months pregnant. This woman, like many others who have come to see her today are iron deficient, and in danger of contracting malaria. Theresa writes a prescription for her and tends to the next woman in line.

“I am tired, but these women need me, and this might be the only chance some of them get to have a proper check up,” she says. “This may be the only chance for all of the patients here today to get the help they need. That’s why we do it.”

“In the community the men lead but here the women are in charge.

Farmer’s field schools have proven to be a successful way of improving food security in Gogrial East. In Luonyaker, the RRP trained a group of 40 women in agriculture. These women were chosen by the community leaders, based on how much and often they cultivated at home. Here is what some of the women had to say about the programme:

“We were trained how to plant vegetables and how to cultivate groundnuts. Before we didn’t know how to work in agriculture; we worked at home, just broadcasting. We would take care of the home, cook and cultivate.”

“We work from eight until five most days of the week. My family is complaining that I don’t bring a lot of food; but I try to explain that it is for the good of the community. We sell the produce and save the money. With the money that we save, we hope to build an office or get some more seeds.”

“Working here is better because we are making money. Before it was very rare to have vegetables like eggplants and tomatoes. We take turns going to the market – we are just close to making money so we won’t stop now.”

“The RRP taught us how to keep and feed animals. Before the holding cell some of the cows were stolen.”

The animal auction at the Mayien rural market is an important gathering place for the men of the Gogrial communities.This is where cows are bought and sold – one of the most crucial economic activities in this region; and one that wasn’t subject to quality control before the RRP. Since the programme provided a slaughter block, holding ground and training in vaccines and animal diseases, the animal auction is thriving, keeping the animals and the economy healthy. Here is what some of the men had to say about the improvements they have noticed:

“I bought this cow here for 900 SDG. I know that is healthy; so I will take it to Wau and sell it for around 1300 SDG.”

“Now there is a clean place to slaughter the animals and there are no flies on the meat when they are preparing it. It will not get dirty; there is good control of the meat. After you slaughter a cow you can make more money than you would selling the live animal.”

“Before, sometimes you would buy a sick cow and so you have to sell it and lose the money. Now, after the RRP training in Mayien, I feel confident buying my cows here because I know they have been taken care of properly.”


Other RRP News :

- Two campaigns on human waste disposal were conducted in nine villages; in River Nile, reaching. 1,280 participants.

- GPS mapping and testing of water sources was conducted in Ikotos County, in Eastern Equatoria.

- In Aweil, two women’s groups completed constructing their shops during this past quarter. The women contributed labour and other locally available materials for the construction of the stores. They hope to start using them in the next few months.