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South Sudan: A mammoth task for CSOs 0

South Sudan won its independence after the large majority of its population voted to secede from the North in a referendum last January. With a humanitarian emergency and crisis looming, a number of development NGOs and community-based organisations are posed not to relax but focus on new approaches of aid delivery.

On the other hand some developmental organisations and agencies suggest that it will take a while for the world’s newest nation to stand on its own as there are many social problems.

“Everyone needs to refocus,” say Suzanne Jambo of New Sudanese Indigenous NGO Network. “It is imperative that civil society organizations and other democratic forces work together for the greatest impact so as to turn all negative challenges into positive opportunities for the good of the society.”

Jambo also says that CSOs in the new nation had a big task of mobilising and rally the people of South Sudan around their noble cause of unity, peaceful co-existence and development.

Looking to the future, Terri Morris, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) head of mission for South Sudan says: “South Sudan is experiencing a massive humanitarian emergency. The people have acute needs now and will continue to do so in the coming years. The situation is already critical in terms of the availability of healthcare.”

UN Development Programme in a report released at the end of last week echoed Morris sentiments: “In the South, capacity of local NGOs is extremely low and even international NGOs are struggling to deliver services effectively.”

Meanwhile the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) has urged all stakeholder to give a helping hand to South Sudan. In a communiqué released in Kenya, the Catholic Bishops said that just like any new nation South Sudan has real needs of its own that need to be met.

“As AMECEA Bishops we appeal to all member countries to translate their solidarity with the Republic of South Sudan into more practical means by committing personnel and resources to this new country,” reads the statement.

The documents continues: “We look forward to a time when our governments will embrace the spirit of democracy. Those who thrive on violence and conflict must be challenged. We further acknowledge and encourage regional and global partnerships that seek to bring about reconciliation, justice and peace.

South Sudanese overwhelmingly voted to declare independence from the north in a January referendum – the climax of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war with the south.

North and South Sudan fought each other for all but a few years since the 1950s in civil wars

According to official reports the conflicts killed an estimated 2 million people and forced 4 million to flee, destabilising much of the surrounding region.

By Joe M. L. Kaluba – Afronline

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