As part of the programme of the Dutch Consortium for Rehabilitation (DCR), our colleague Saskia Nijhof coordinates the Knowledge Network. The purpose of this Knowledge Network is to effectively formulate lessons learned, and to help put these lessons into practice in the ongoing work. The network consists of staff of the 4 agencies in the consortium, its partners in the field, and a range of knowledge centres around the world. Saskia recently travelled to South Sudan for a field visit.
Post war South Sudan
My last visit to South Sudan was in 2001 during the civil war, so I was very curious to see how things have changed after more than 20 years of conflict and almost 8 years of relative stability. My main activities this time involved facilitating three workshops with the DCR teams spread over several States in the country, to develop a learning agenda for 2013. After two weeks and lots of conversations about ‘how change happens’ and about the constraints to programme implementation in this country, my impression is that on the one hand, South Sudan is attracting a lot of investors, both South Sudanese as well as foreign. Especially in Juba, houses, offices and hotels are being constructed, and the quality of life - for people who can afford it - is surprisingly high. But the rural areas remain shockingly behind. Roads are terrible, restricting access to markets, and there is virtually no investment of the government in basic services. The good news is that the DCR programme approach has great potential in these areas.
The good news
Our researcher Helen Mountfort, hosted by ZOA in Lainya County (Central Equatoria) found that there is a clear link between livelihoods improvement and access to basic services. Especially the members of the Village Savings and Loans Associations report that they now have increased access to healthcare and education. Unfortunately, many health posts and schools are understaffed, and the quality of these services is still very poor. At this point in time the HealthNet TPO DCR programme is only concentrated in Western Bar el Ghazal, but the good news is that HealthNet TPO and ZOA are planning to work together in Lainya in 2013 to increase the potential synergy of the combination of livelihoods programming and quality healthcare.
DCR and the Knowledge Network
DCR is a collaborative association with regard to the planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation of a joint MFS II program (a Dutch co-financing system for 2011-2015). Together with Save the Children, ZOA and CARE, HealthNet TPO implements a cross-thematic programme. See http://dcr-africa.org/en/ for more information about DCR. See the Briefing Paper in pdf for more information on the knowledge network.
DCR programme beneficiairy in Lainya County