By Rose Ogola
A Story from the South Sudan Famine
With her 12-month-old son on her back, Sunday Santino touches her thumb to an ink pad. Then she puts her thumbprint next to her name on a list. The paying agent responds by giving her a small stack of cash, which she puts in her purse.
Sunday is one of the people receiving a monthly allowance of about $45 (USD) under a Cash For Training (CFT) project to help during the famine in South Sudan. This project enables vulnerable households in Juba, South Sudan to improve their purchasing power for basic goods and services, particularly food.
The project, which World Vision is implementing with the support of World Food Program (WFP), aims to improve the livelihood and economic status of 42,000 vulnerable urban populations in Juba.
Hunger in South Sudan is compounded by an economic crisis. Inflation and the value of its currency has plummeted more than 800 percent in the past year. Food is now unaffordable for many families. In Juba, the capital, an estimated 230,000 people are food insecure.
The program targets households with malnourished children under the age of 5, such as Sunday’s baby, Peter Ladu.
Peter has been receiving SuperCereal (a nutrition supplement to treat malnutrition) since December. But his health records indicate that he has made very little progress.
“I make mandazi (donuts) to sell. But the money I make is so little that I cannot buy food for the family. So I make porridge for the whole family with [SuperCereal supplement] that I get at the clinic for the baby. Now with this money, I can buy food for the rest of the family and preserve the porridge for the baby,” says Sunday.
Tackling Food Insecurity
According to Gift Sibanda, World Vision South Sudan’s Urban Program Manager, children and mothers in food insecure households were not recovering as fast as they should. This is because the whole family shared the nutrition supplements given to them.
Other targeted groups for the cash assistance program include households with malnourished pregnant or nursing mothers, elder- or child-headed households, those with chronically ill members, or those hosting persons living with disabilities.
In addition to receiving cash, the beneficiaries get training in nutrition, hygiene, home gardening, food preservation, entrepreneurship, gender equality, peacebuilding, and protection. The training aims to strengthen the resilience of the community by creating sustainable knowledge and skills.
“Each selected household attends training for 5 days in a month and is entitled to an amount equivalent to $45 (USD), payable in South Sudanese pounds,” says Gift.
Programs like Cash For Training provided by World Vision and the World Food Program are vital to the resilience of communities struggling with famine. Please speak out on behalf of those suffering from famine to help children like Peter. Ask Congress to prioritize programs that help protect communities against famine and that provide relief in dire circumstances.
Photo: With her 12-month-old baby on her back, Sunday Santino dips her thumb on the ink pad. The paying agent then has her put her thumbprint against her name on a list. The paying agent hands her money, which she puts in her purse. © 2017 World Vision/ photo by Rose Ogola