South Sudan: “A Ray of Hope after the famine”

 South Sudan
 Food Security
 20th Feb 2018

By Killron Dembe and Joseph Scott

CARE South Sudan

In 2016, Panyagor situated in the state of Jonglei in South Sudan, experienced some critical food shortages due to a failed harvest. Rains didn’t fall as expected and the long dry patch that followed destroyed almost all the crops. The lucky few who planted early, had at least something to fall back on. But for the majority, hunger was inevitable. 

For the people of Panyagor, a new farming season with good rains would have been nothing short of a blessing. But their hopes were dashed as famine was declared in 2017. Many people, especially in Twic East, didn’t harvest as the ongoing conflict in the region made it difficult for them to work in their fields.

According to current UN statistics, about 7 million people in the country are in need of assistance. Many of these are displaced populations who cannot engage in farming activities.

“The rains didn’t come as we expected and all I had planted was destroyed,” says 36-year-old Ajah Bul Ghak from Twic East. “I had nowhere to fall back on and went for days without food,” adds Ghak, who is a returnee after having had fled to Kenya due to the conflict in her area.

A ray of hope shone on Ghak when she was registered as a beneficiary in CARE’s South Sudan Joint Response project. As a returnee, she had no direct source of income and to survive, her family relied on humanitarian assistance.

“I received agricultural inputs from CARE such as vegetables and cereals that I planted in my small backyard garden,” says Ghak, adding, “I also planted sorghum and maize, tomatoes, okra and onions and water melons for consumption and also selling the surplus to improve my income.”

Today, Ghak can feed her family. She produces more than they can eat and now has a small stall at the local market where she sells her extra produce for income.

Ghak sells some of her produce at the village market. She gets extra money to buy other basic necessities for her household

 “I have learnt and benefited a lot from CARE through this project and I am now able to stand on my own without external support. Thanks to this wonderful program my life has improved,’’ says the mother of four whose husband is cattle keeper who lives in the cattle camp.

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