Save the Children’s the only international organisation here
Early start. After two flights and a two and a half hour ride over awful roads we arrive at our compound in Aroyo in northern South Sudan. This is deep in the countryside and is very basic. I’m really impressed by our team who are working in very harsh conditions. Dealing with the geography is a real challenge for our operations.
The distances are vast, the roads poor and only accessible in the dry season. It was really brought home to me how important it is to get the communications in place. While we were there, the internet went down and, with no mobile coverage, the place is almost cut off. We do have a satellite phone but this is only for emergencies.
We carry out some food security work with the local community including providing advice on fishing and marketing, and on educating women in basic business matters. We give modest grants/loans to get them started, which has made a big difference.
Before it got dark we met with the local Commissioner who was delighted about the work we were doing in supporting the Reconstruction and Recovery programme. This three year programme providing post conflict support ends later this year and his main concern is retaining our help for a further three years. We made the point that this was dependent on funding. We are the only INGO in this community and if we were to pull out it, would really set things back. I went to sleep that night with the sound of hyenas in the night air. Although this region is close to the Dafur border, security is not currently an issue.