The RRP is a five-year initiative (2005-2010), including four years of implementation. The largest and most comprehensive recovery programme in Sudan, the RRP is managed by UNDP on behalf of the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan with funding of 55.8 million; 49.75 million of which comes from the European Commission, and 1.5 million from the Government of Norway. A total of 44 national and international NGOs are working together in 10 areas across the country (Blue Nile, Abyei, River Nile, Red Sea, South Kordofan, Northern Upper Nile, Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Warrap and Northern Bahr Al-Ghazal) concentrating on institutional strengthening, improving livelihoods and basic services.
This month's issue will focus on RRP work in Eastern Equatoria, the richly forested and culturally diverse gateway to Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Although this region of Sudan is beautiful, the lush habitat is marred by the memory of conflict. Torit, and it's surrounding areas served as the front lines during the war and the reminders are everywhere; from the abandoned trucks and artillery that line the side of the roads, to the ubiquitous landmine warning signs and countless barracks.
Frequent cattle raiding and ambushing increase insecurity; and when the rains come, these dirt roads are simply impassable. Lack of electricity further complicates project implementation in some of the localities. In the absence of mobiles and internet people must travel for hours on the difficult roads just to find someone to arrange a meeting.
But despite these immense challenges, the consortium in Eastern Equatoria, led by Catholic Relief Services, with Merlin, AVSI and the Cathlic Diocese of Torit; continues to focus on basic services; namely health and education. Through close relationships with the communities and a thorough understanding of the unique challenges this region faces, they are showing positive results.
Most notably, the RRP life skills centre in Hiyala is bustling. The programme provides training in literacy, tailoring and carpentry for community members who never had the chance to receive a formal education. The practical skills they are gaining at the centre allow them to create income; and improve their lives.
The consortium has also built schools and hospitals; and provided seeds and training for agricultural activities. With agricultural extension workers from the government on board, many localities are harvesting cassava, and other vegetables to help provide food during the hunger gap that grips this area in the dry season.
The RRP aims to reach out to those most in need; and here in Eastern Equatoria many of these rural communities are isolated, have little support, and struggle to meet their most basic needs. But because the will of the communities is strong, the potential is great for the RRP's successful realization of peace dividends.