Using Sociocultural Data to Identify Activities in South Sudan

SEADS Handbook Location: Chapter 4 (book p. 32, PDF p. 39)

A typical rural farming household in Rumbek East in South Sudan has low agriculture production, a low level of knowledge and skills in doing farming, and inadequate labor, with limited access to extension service facilities, market information, improved crop varieties, post-harvest management, and storage facilities. The baseline survey showed that 95.6% of the households have on average 6.5 acres per household (HH). Farming is a major source of livelihood, one that provides food. Main income sources are: farming (60.9%), livestock (16.0%), fishery (5.1%), forestry-related activities (1.3%), and others like salaried work, casual labor, etc. (16.7%). On average, 28.3% of HHs are female headed, and 37.9% of the HHs are polygamous. Overall, 83.1% of the HHs reported that women are involved in farming, while 65% reported men are involved in farming. Women comprise most of the members of community-managed microfinance (CMMF) institutions.

Overall, 76.6% of the HHs experience a food gap: they may have two meals a day but with very few choices. In the past, households in Rumbek East consumed mostly dry okra in the dry season, while now they are getting at least one fresh vegetable even during the dry season. In other seasons, they consume one to three types of vegetables and fruits.

According to the South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission/Protection Cluster Lakes State chapter, in Rumbek East (RE), cattle raiding, intercommunity fights, revenge killings, and hunger were identified as the main reasons for conflicts that cause insecurity. The conflicts have had adverse effects on community members, including loss of life, hunger, displacement of people, and destruction of property and crops. In a sense, insecurity and hunger feed each other. Women feel unsafe in almost all bomas (lowest-level administrative division in South Sudan). Internal and external threats pose significant threats to the population’s security, livelihoods, and health. There is a wide range of peace building and conflict transformation initiatives in the Lakes State by various agencies/peace actors. The initiatives include training on livelihoods, civil engagement, and participation; awareness raising on rights, roles, and duties/life skills; and holding peace and reconciliation conferences.

According to the South Sudan Development Plan, providing both mechanisms of social development and policies targeting the empowerment of women and youth will improve economic prospects for all by increasing human capital, creating employment opportunities, and reducing poverty.

Improving quality seed production, promoting peace, and adapting to climate change are the goals of the proposed intervention that will be carried out, using the concept of an integrated approach, in Rumbek East. The intervention will target 500 households.

Through the establishment of seed multiplication centers, vegetable farming groups, farmer field
schools, and fruit trees nurseries, the project will target the most vulnerable men and women who are impacted by emergencies caused by the effect of floods and dry spells.

The target groups were trained and supported with 6,000 kgs of assorted local improved seeds to produce locally available quality seeds on a total area of 500 feddans (1 feddan is equal to 1.038 acres). In addition, 5,000 fruit tree seedlings of guava, mango, lemon, custard apple, and paw-paw were raised and distributed to the surrounding farming communities. Planting trees around the homestead creates a microclimate by providing shade and food as the primary needs to adapt to climate change.

Proposed activities include:

  • community mobilization and sensitization of target communities and stakeholder (Ministry of Agriculture, payam (second-lowest level administrative division in South Sudan) administrators, farmers groups, and organized cooperatives) on quality seed production and peace promotion
  • provision of improved seed varieties to 500 beneficiaries
  • establishment of four nurseries for fruit tree seedlings and vegetables in four payams of Rumbek East
  • conducting of 12 trainings of 30 farmers each in the four targeted payams of Rumbek East on seeds and seedling production techniques and best agronomic practices
  • support for storage facilities that exist within the county such as in Atiaba, Maborduang, and
  • acquisition of land through community dialogue meetings in a timely manner.

Out of the 800 vulnerable households eligible for free seeds from the Input Trade Fair, 511 (64%) were female-headed households. Among the 204 seed growers to whom seeds were given, 43% were women.

By James Madit, Humanitarian Actors for Grass Root Initiatives (HAGI), South Sudan