“This is the first time in a year that I feel like a human being. The whole of last year, we were congested in a small hut with one of my relatives with over 10 people. Now with our own house, my children and I can find enough space for ourselves. My youngest daughter keeps saying, Mama our house is beautiful, yes our house, we now own a home!”
Mary (name of fantasy to protect the person’s identity) is an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) from Kotobi in Mundri West. She is 49 years old and a mother of six children - four girls, two boys. Two of her daughters are living with their husbands, also IDPs in the same area, though living in a camp. For the past 18 months Mary had been living under the care of a relative with her 4 children and 2 grandchildren, in two small congested rooms that are housing over ten members.
To support her family and the host, Mary did all sorts of casual work, including brick-laying. She also started a small business of selling local bread and tea on the roadside where she raises small money to buy food, clothes and other basic necessities for her children. “The money is not enough to take them to school but I will work hard (so) probably next year they can begin”.
During the Western Equatoria clashes of 2016/17, Mary and other people like her fled to Mundri town in search for safety. For some IDPs like Mary who had relatives in Mundri was easy to settle down and adapt, while many others ended up in camps and collective centers as the only option. “Life was very hard in Mundri, as we were over ten families in one small hut. After a horrible year, we decided to return to Kotobi but were welcomed by an empty ground with no house and my gardens had been destroyed,” Mary said. Once again Mary was homeless and hopeless and with the tension still high in the area, she decided to walk back together with her family and to adapt to the situation in Mundri town. One of her priority needs when LCED reached the field was to have an independent shelter in order not to be a burden to her host. “I did not know how I could provide myself with shelter since I had no money nor land”, narrates Mary.
At the end of 2018, Mary’s household was registered by LCED staff and volunteers as beneficiary for emergency shelter assistance. “This was a dream to me! I kept thinking this was a joke and somehow encouraging myself that God wants to remember the poor me at last. However, I shared the news with my host who allocated me a plot of land to put my house just in case”.
In early January 2019, this dream came to be true! Mary received cash vouchers in order to be able to purchase poles and grass to construct her new home. “Since I was already doing casual work that included brick-laying, I encouraged my fellow women to utilize this opportunity and make lasting and proper shelter structures”. In a group of five (LCED encouraged the project beneficiaries to support each other in groups), Mary and other women made bricks for each shelter and the LCED staff embarked on construction of their dream houses. By the end of February 2019, Mary’s group had completed their houses and is currently living their dream. “I will never forget the day I slept in my own shelter. I could not sleep. We all slept like babies that first night and my 8 year old son asked me if I was as happy as he was!” said Mary.
“Thank you Jesus through LCED for your help, my children now can say our house. My family is happy again, and this had not happened in a long, long time. I am also happy because I encouraged many women like me to make better houses rather than sleeping in those plastic sheets. With this house, we feel we are part of Hai Faki community because no one can recognize that this house belongs to an IDP unlike with plastic sheets!”
Prepared by: Sherrie Lilian (LCED M&E Officer)
In 2016/2017 LCED implemented three main projects. The main activities included distribution of shelter material and construction of emergency shelters, distribution of Non-Food Items (NFIs) to vulnerable displaced population, and implementation of a cash voucher pilot project in Mundri West County, WES. LCED also successfully completed its registration in Uganda, and opened an office in Kampala.
• We reached 42,960 beneficiaries (5,084 HHs) with distribution of shelter material and NFIs.
• 23,654 women and 19,306 men were targeted by our activities.
• 313 displaced HHs were accommodated in emergency shelters.
• We reached 80 HHs through distribution of cash vouchers.
• We partnered with INGOs such as IOM and NRC, as part of the Shelter and NFI cluster and the WASH cluster, and Non-violent Peaceforce (NP).
• We built capacity of NNGOs, including Lozoh Women Development Organization (LWDO) and APT Succor.
For more information, download the pdf LCED Annual Report 2016/17 (1.79 MB) .
More than three million people have been forced to flee their homes since the conflict began in December 2013. The ongoing conflict in South Sudan has generated nearly 1.9 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 2016/17 (50% of which estimated to be children), it has created food insecurity and lack of proper shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI), and it has hindered the access to proper education and healthcare. According to UNOCHA estimates, tens of thousands of people are estimated to have been killed since December 2013. Mortality has been exacerbated by conflict, acute malnutrition and disease, and there continue to be reports of sexual violence, including rape and gang rape, committed by all parties to the conflict.
Despite efforts made to contain famine, 6 million people are in need of urgent assistance - the greatest number of food insecure people ever recorded in South Sudan. The combination of conflict, economic crisis and lack of adequate levels of agricultural production have eroded vulnerable households ability to cope. As of May 2017, 5.5 million people were estimated in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Acute malnutrition remains a major public health emergency in several parts of South Sudan. More than one million children under age 5 are estimated to be acutely malnourished, including more than 273,600 who are severely malnourished. Armed conflict has resulted in massive population displacement, disruptions to people’s livelihoods, trade and access to humanitarian assistance, which remains people’s main source of food in conflict areas. This is compounded by below-average food production and high food prices which have eroded household purchasing power.
The economic crisis has escalated, leaving the urban poor increasingly desperate and destitute. The South Sudanese Pound (SSP) rapidly depreciated in 2016 and 2017, reaching an all-time low of more than 100 SSP to 1 US Dollar in November 2016, and to 160 SSP to 1 US Dollar in July 2017. The cost of living has risen exponentially, while insecurity along main roads has diminished trade and trader’s ability to access hard currency for imports.
Susceptibility to disease has risen after three years of conflict and crisis: more than 2 million cases of malaria werereported from January to November 2016, and the cholera outbreak in 2016 caused more cases and spread to more locations than in 2015. There are rising cases of the deadly tropical disease kala-azar and more than twice the number of counties have been affected by measles outbreaks in 2016 (13) compared to 2015 (5).
More than 1.17 million children aged 3 to 18 years old have lost access to education due to conflict and displacement since December 2013. About 31 per cent of schools open have suffered at least one or more attacks by armed actors. Child marriage is reportedly increasing due to conflict and economic pressures, while an estimated one million children are believed to be in psychological distress.
Similar issues affect the huge number of South Sudanese refugees who found shelters in Uganda, among other countries. At the end of 2016, the number of South Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers amounted at almost 2million, with more than a million residing in Uganda. The refugee camps in the norht of the country are overcrowded, with little formed personnel and little resources for the huge number of people hosted. Furhtermore, the ethnic conflict is continuing within the camps, where episodes of inter-communal violence, looting and rape are not isolated.
LCED seeks to mobilize, empower and support South Sudanese local communities, IDPs and refugees in re-building their lives and source of livelihoods, fulfilling their human rights, enhancing their wellbeing, and promoting conflict-resolution and peaceful co-existence. We use a grassroot approach in all our activities, involving all stakeholders in all the planning and implementing phases of our projects. Through the establishment of Relief Distribution Committees (RDCs) in all project locations in South Sudan, we optimize assessment, distribution and we are able to manage conflicts that might arise within the population after the identification of beneficiaries. Our staff is also supported by local enumerators and laborers, hired for specific activities, and using a gender-balance approach. We strive to ensure accountability to the beneficiaries in all aspects of our project activities, and to act under the principle of DO NO HARM.