Sudan: Recovery and rehabilitation programme monthly update vol.5, Oct 2009

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Welcome to the fifth issue of the Recovery and Rehabilitation Programme E-Bulletin. This monthly newsletter aims to highlight project successes while keeping development partners updated on RRP news.

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 issue of the RRP E-Bulletin highlights some stories from our project in Warrap State, where the RRP is implemented by lead agency VSF-Germany and partners World Vision, CESVI, INFRAID and SEDA.

Cattle raiding and tribal clashes have made recovery difficult in this area, but RRP partners continue to work not only on delivering basic services in the face of conflict, but weakening the beliefs that act as catalysts for inter-clan fighting.

"If you can change the attitudes, then you can change everything," says Hudson Shiverenje as he demonstrates how to hang a tin canister from a tree and tip it forward to make it run like a tap. Shiverenje is a consultant working with RRP in Luonyaker. He is currently leading a team that is training students how to use pit latrines.

"This way students can wash their hands after using the latrine," he says. Shiverenje hopes that the students will listen to what he has to say; and pass the information on to their families.

"During these two years of RRP implementation, the level of understanding has definitely become better," says Maluac Lueth, LGA planning officer. Traditional beliefs such as the ideas that cows should only be used as dowries and girls should not go to school are slowly changing, he says.

"There used to be a big problem getting children to go to school," he says. Now the problem is finding teachers, not students. Also, people now seek out public health centres instead of going to witch doctors.

But a lot still has to be done, he adds.

"The problem is the manpower," he says. With no young medical personnel and teachers assigned to health centres and schools, progress is stalled.

In spite of these challenges, the RRP team concentrates on the areas where they see improvements.

"We look to the positive rather than the negative; we see what works and then we focus on how to make it sustainable," says Lueth.

The reason why it works is simple, he adds. Most of the partners are from this area and they are anxious to see development happen. The NGOs know how to interact with the local communities; and most of us have worked with the NGOs. There is a very strong relationship."