, 31 August, 2020 / 7:30 PM
In a three-year initiative, Caritas Switzerland is seeking to improve the livelihoods of at least 20,000 deprived South Sudanese in a County within the Catholic Diocese of Torit, an official has told ACI Africa.
The project that kicked off in 2019 has targeted “1,500 farmers benefiting from increased agricultural production, 1,000 mothers or caretakers benefitting from village gardens, (and) 150 vulnerable households benefiting from alternative income-generating activities.” Caritas Switzerland Country Director in South Sudan, Julian Jekel told ACI Africa Friday, August 28 in an interview.
“The project intends to reduce the high dependency on external aid by addressing the challenges that communities face to recover their livelihoods,” the Caritas Switzerland official further said.
The native of Germany added, “We have 11,000 households benefiting from improved water schemes for drinking water or water for productive use, 2,600 households benefiting from hygiene promotion and 4,900 schoolchildren benefiting from the Blue Schools.”
“The objective of the project shall be achieved by enabling the target population in Ikwoto County to have access to safe and affordable water,” Mr. Jekel told ACI Africa hinting to the planned market assessment plan expected to take place in October in Ikwoto County of South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state in Torit Diocese.
Dubbed “Restoration of Livelihoods for rural and Semi-Urban Communities,” the project that targets over 20,000 deprived persons in the Diocese of Torit is being implemented by Caritas Switzerland in partnership with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Mr. Jekel said.
“The overall aim of this integrated response is to strengthen the resilience of the vulnerable population,” the South Sudan Country Director of Caritas Switzerland told ACI Africa, adding that the Catholic charity that is a member of Caritas Internationalis is also implementing projects in the fields of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and food security in South Sudan.
In the 36-month period, Caritas Switzerland is expected “to improve health and hygiene, supporting farmers to increase their agricultural productivity, better post-harvest management, encouraging individual community members to create their own business, creating linkages between farmers and business holders with the market,” Mr. Jekel explained during the August 28 interview with ACI Africa.
“Hygiene, safe water, water for agricultural purposes, nutrition and food storage techniques are considered alongside food availability and access to income,” Jekel further explained about the South Sudan project that is expected to conclude in 2022.
Community resilience in South Sudan, Jekel said, “shall be achieved through improved livelihood and food security, economic empowerment, and better health through improved hygiene and safe drinking water.”
“Food, water and health are all interconnected and jointly contribute to strengthening the resilience of the population and their capacity to prevent, prepare for and respond to shocks,” He further said.
“1,500 female farmers have already benefited from staple food seeds and tool distribution and on-the-job-training for 1,500 farmers to improve farming techniques and post-harvest management,” Mr. Jekel said, adding that 15-farmer field schools have been erected and 30 central nursery beds additionally established for mothers and male caregivers.
“We have rehabilitated 10 boreholes, issued vegetable seeds to 1,000 mothers and male caregivers and constructed WASH-related infrastructure at several schools in Ikwoto,” Jekel further highlighted what Caritas Switzerland has been able to accomplish in South Sudan’s Torit Diocese.
Caritas Switzerland is part of the global confederation of 165 Catholic relief agencies. Operational in some 20 countries around the globe, it has the mission to prevent, alleviate and combat poverty.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa