Sudan

USAID Field Report Sudan Jun 2005

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Program Description

The overall goal of the USAID/OTI Sudan program is to strengthen Sudanese confidence and capacity to address the causes and consequences of political marginalization, violence and instability. The Office of Transition Initiatives is pursuing this goal within the framework of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The five main objectives of the OTI Sudan program are to: promote the emergence of responsive and effective civil authorities; provide opportunities for peaceful dialogue within and among communities; promote the emergence of an active civil society; increase availability of quality, independent information; and protect vulnerable populations from grave human rights violations and related abuses.

OTI's implementing partners are PACT, the Educational Development Center, and Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI). PACT manages the Southern Sudan Transition Initiative, which is a two-year small-grants program promoting and supporting good governance, local-level peace initiatives, the development of civil society, and an informative and balanced media. The Education Development Center (EDC) has established the Sudan Radio Service, which is a shortwave radio station that transmits six hours of programming daily on current events, civic education, health, and culture in nine languages. DAI is implementing Phase II of the small-grants program that will focus on critical transition needs in the aftermath of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan.

Country Situation

John Garang briefs Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak -- SPLM Leader John Garang stopped in Cairo, while en route to the United States, to brief Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Garang and Mubarak also discussed how to include Cairo-based opposition groups in the agreement. Egypt is the mediator in discussions between the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Sudanese government.

Garang meets with Secretary Condoleezza Rice -- John Garang, the SPLM leader, met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington. Garang went to the United States to appeal to the U.S Government for more economic aid and an increase in humanitarian assistance for the repatriation of the millions of refugees who fled southern Sudan during the nation's long civil war. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack assured Garang that the U.S. Government would urge other donors to follow through on pledges made at the Oslo conference in April.

U.N. chief urges countries to fulfill their pledges -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged countries that pledged troops and funds to help build peace in Sudan to fulfill their pledges. Annan, in his letter to the U.N. Security Council, cited the large shortfall in donor aid contributions pledged in Oslo, and urged the council to pay attention to the countrywide hunger in Sudan, aggravated by the rainy season.

Debate on the constitution begins -- Sudanese lawmakers started debating the proposed constitution. They are expected to unanimously adopt it before a Government of National Unity takes office on July 9.

U.N. warns of food shortages -- The U.N. is appealing for millions of dollars for food aid for southern Sudanese, who are still fleeing to Kenya and Uganda despite political developments after the January peace agreement. The U.N. World Food Program warns of food shortages in October and is requesting donor countries to provide $6.7 million in food aid to feed the large numbers of refugees.

USAID/OTI Highlights

A. Narrative Summary

The successful implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement rests largely on the smooth transition into power of both the Government of National Unity and the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan on July 9. In the larger towns throughout the south, there has been an increase in trade and returning populations due to the anticipation of peace and development during this period. The Office of Transition Initiatives program developed 42 grants in June that strengthened the capacity of local authorities, provided targeted resources to enhance women's participation in political life, and promoted collaboration and reconciliation among different ethnic groups.

One of the key features in early plans for the development of the Government of Southern Sudan is the emphasis on devolving more authority to local communities. The emergence of capable and efficient county structures is a challenge, given that, historically, local governance in southern Sudan has been weak, under-resourced, and, in some areas, non-existent. With support from OTI, several county offices in Nuba Mountains and Bahr El Ghazal will be reconstructed and furniture and supplies will be provided. OTI's efforts in the area of local governance are closely coordinated with a consortium of international development organizations and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). At the national level, OTI is providing resources for the construction of the SPLM Public Service and Finance Ministries in Rumbek. The grants complement the USAID Democracy and Governance Program, which provides capacity-building training and technical assistance to SPLM ministries.

In Nuba, the Kauda Teachers' College program has played a key role in bringing together people from diverse ethnic and religious traditions. As the only English-language training program in the region, the college has witnessed a surge in applicants from parts of the Government-of-Sudan-controlled Nuba. With assistance from OTI, the institution will receive audio-visual supplies and basic school dormitory furniture to expand its civic education component and increase the number of students admitted.

One of the areas most devastated by inter-ethnic conflict is Upper Nile, where ethnic groups were divided along Government of Sudan and SPLM lines. An OTI grant to the Presbyterian Church of Sudan will support the gathering of key leaders and intellectuals in the Murle community to focus on reconciliation efforts. The meetings will examine how the community will address common conflict triggers, such as natural resource competition, and facilitate increased civic engagement at the regional and local level.

An innovative business-skills project in southern Sudan has resulted in the emergence of one of the largest women's cooperatives in the region. Lulu Works Ltd. is a micro-enterprise that has helped set up 36 women-owned and operated shea-butter processing centers, with more than 700 members in 11 counties across southern Sudan. The centers produce cooking oil and soap for USAID-funded humanitarian relief operations and lotions for both local and export markets. In order to better inform the women on political developments, OTI has provided support to Lulu Works Ltd. to incorporate a civic-education component into its existing training modules. The cooperative will receive additional resources to expand its current operations and training to enable more women to participate in the business. This grant will enhance the women's ability to engage with civil authorities and improve their level of participation in local decision-making.

The OTI-funded Sudan Radio Service (SRS) successfully conducted a publicity workshop in Kurmuk to introduce the shortwave radio station to community leaders and county authorities. SRS staff made several presentations at the Funj Conference in Kurmuk, which was attended by leaders from across the region, including those from government-controlled areas.

From the Khartoum office, OTI issued 10 grants in June. An OTI grant to DRDA (Diar for Rehabilitation and Development Association) was successfully implemented in the Mandela Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Khartoum. More than 100 women from the Mandela, Soba Aradi and Mayo IDP camps came together for three days of discussions on the implications of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Before the meeting, women in the camps had little information on the peace process, nor had they ever had the opportunity to publicly discuss the implications of the agreement on their lives. In Juba, OTI supported a conference that brought together 40 local community leaders and key U.N. Peace-Keeping Operations (PKO) and Civil Affairs personnel to discuss the arrival of U.N. troops in the area. The participants reviewed how the U.N. troops would engage with the local community, and identified points of contact for community members to prevent possible conflict.

B. Grants Activity Summary

Objective
June Total No
Total Funding
Program Total No.
Program Total Funding
Promote emergence of responsive, effective and inclusive civil authorities.
10
$188,502
57
$1,987,068
Provide opportunities for peaceful dialogue within and among communities.
17
$160,166
74
$2,370,515
Promote the emergence of an empowered and an active civil society.
15
$236,789
94
$1,511,802
Increase availability of quality, independent information.


47
$4,299,328
Protect vulnerable populations from abuse.
2
$ 86,480
6
$1,583,602
TOTAL
44
$671,937
278
$11,752,315

C. Indicators of Success

Since the signing of the peace agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, the bustling town of Yei in southern Sudan has witnessed an exponential growth in population and economic activities. A stroll along the main road reveals a wide array of newly opened shops with goods from Kenya, northern Sudan and Uganda. With increased trade and returnees from throughout the region, there is concern that the spread of infectious diseases could occur. Local authorities and health officials are worried in particular about the HIV/AIDS virus that has severely ravaged Sudan's neighboring countries. With a grant from the OTI, the International Rescue Committee developed a multimedia campaign to educate residents of Yei and surrounding areas on the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and on issues related to reproductive health practices. The project produced radio programs, fliers, a Straight Talk Sudan newsletter, and other materials for dissemination. The response from local authorities, religious leaders and community groups was overwhelmingly positive. After a stakeholder workshop organized by the project, the religious groups decided to form the Inter-Church AIDS Awareness Association that now meets once a month to discuss HIV/AIDS issues.

NEXT STEPS/IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES

- Work with a local governance consortium to develop standard "local authority in a box" kits that provide such items as desks and chairs to the offices of local officials.

- Prepare for the temporary duty of senior field adviser Eleanor Bedford to work with OTI and Development Alternatives Inc. program staff.

- Continue reviewing opportunities to program activities in the north.

For further information, please contact:

In Washington, D.C: Nhelly Saleh, Sudan Program Manager, Tel: (202) 712-0795, nsaleh@usaid.gov