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The Intersection of Peace and Prosperity in a Fragmented Society

Peace and prosperity in South Sudan depends upon education in settings which overcome ethnic mistrust and create respect for diversity.

Photo of Joan Mumaw

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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional Beneficiary Feedback in this field

Photo 1 and 2 are one map describing the process that a student might go through to enter the Teacher Training College in Yambio South Sudan. It is a composite of real life experiences encountered by staff of Solidarity. Students coming from a distinct tribal affiliation are attracted to the college, initially because of the quality of education and are transformed by the process of living and studying with persons, both male and female, from other tribes.

Explain your project idea in two sentences.

Peace and prosperity will only come to South Sudan when its people see themselves as S Sudanese. Multi-ethnic educational institutions can help this happen when students and staff are multi-ethnic.

What is your organization name? Explain your organization in one sentence.

Friends in Solidarity, Inc. is the US partner to/supporting work of Solidarity with South Sudan.

Is this project idea new for you or your organization? If no, how much have you already executed on?

Idea has evolved since 2009 when Catholic religious men/women went to South Sudan to build the capacity of the people in education and health care. Institutions are built(2012) and training is ongoing. Next phase is training leaders to assume responsibility for institutions. Ongoing support needed.

What is the problem you aim to solve with this idea? How would you define this problem as urgent and a priority in your target community?

South Sudan needs leaders who see themselves as more than members of one tribe. The country is being decimated by ethnic conflict; revenge is endemic and violence is seen as the only way to solve disagreements, whether over cattle, land or who has power. Multi-ethnic education is a way forward.

What is the timeline for your project idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

2016 5 yr. plan accepted - Solidarity with South Sudan and Sudan Bishops Conference 2017 - Increase intake; identify potential candidates for further training; collaborate with diocesan J and P Offices; strengthen local boards; strengthen links with religious congregations for personnel and funding. 2018 - Send candidates for training; mentor those returning; build long term partnerships with donors 2019 - Hire South Sudanese; develop scenarios for transition to local control; mentor

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of responsibility).

Solidarity with South Sudan is the implementer of the project on the ground in SS: Friends in Solidarity, Inc. is the US Partner to Solidarity with South Sudan. Friends... is raising awareness of the situation and seeking funds to train teachers, nurses, midwives, farmers and pastoral teams.

What do you need the most support with in this project idea?

  • Exposure

What is your primary goal over the next 6 weeks of Refinement?

  • Try something different, new or scary :)

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) results for this project?

We track the graduates of our institutions as to their employment and quality of work; Measurements of outcomes include: graduation rates, assessed level of competence, identification of graduates for further study. Do students honor bonding and return to serve in S Sudan? Do we have sufficient personnel (primarily religious) to teach and mentor going forward? For Friends in Solidarity - increased level of funding/ and engagement of religious congregations, Catholic agencies and others.

How has your project proposal changed due to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase?

Those reviewing the proposal who have familiarity with Solidarity with South Sudan concur that this puts into words what is happening. As one board member put it, "Doing the Challenge has helped us to have greater appreciation and awareness of what we are really doing in the learning environment. Questionnaires done by students and feedback confirm the impact of multi-ethnic educational settings.

(Optional) What are some of your still unanswered questions or concerns about this idea?

Biggest concern is the impact of continued violence and famine in the country and its impact on families of students. So far there has been no attack on the institutions staffed by Solidarity. The need for multi-ethnic educational experiences grows with each passing day. Solidarity staff is courageous and standing with the people for the long term. There is need to support and track graduates in this uncertain environment. The need for ongoing external financial support is a challenge.

During this Improve Phase, please use the space below to add any additional information to your proposal.

Feedback from Sr Barbara working in South Sudan indicates that there is greater potential for assisting students to deal with their own trauma from the civil war and for training them to facilitate workshops on trauma healing, Everyone in the country is a victim of trauma from war. Some have known only war the entire lives since it has gone on for more than 60 years prior to independence and is now engulfing the country again. This is a man-made conflict, a power struggle between leaders coming from different tribes. Their struggle has exacerbated hostilities not dealt with prior to independence. The only way people know to settle differences and take revenge is through armed struggle. The following tribes were represented in the STTC late last year: Dinka, Zande, Tira, Luo, Toposa, Moro, Balanda, Nuer, Kresh, Lango, Kwalib, Atuot, Abul and Maban. There were 33 from Nuba Mountains. The next biggest group was 20 Dinka, followed by 12 Lango (from Torit) and 8 Nuer. Many of the Nuba Mountains and Nuer students come out of the UN Protection of Civilian camps in Juba. Until people learn to respect differences between tribes and learn methods of conflict resolution, they will not have a peaceful nation. Solidarity staff at the Teacher Training College are men and women religious representing eight nationalities and coming from Africa, India, Europe and the US. This multi-ethnic community witnesses to the possibility of peace among those of differing races and cultures. Training teachers and nurses in a multi-ethnic environment, where they learn to respect those from other cultures and learn to negotiate differences through dialogue, is a way to form new leaders for South Sudan. There is also a need to train teachers and nurses to deal with their own trauma and that of their communities. These aspects of our programs can be enhanced using expertise known to Solidarity provided there is funding for such programs and sufficient security to access locations suitable for training, such as the Good Shepherd Peace Center located at Kit outside of Juba.

Note that you may also edit any of your previous answers within the proposal. Here is a great place to note any big final changes or iterations you have made to your proposal below:

The full proposal attached to the proposal (Idea 3.31.2017) below has been edited to incorporate some additional information from South Sudan. It seems from feedback from South Sudan that trauma-healing and training to offer this needs to be better integrated into the over all programs of teacher training and also training of nurses. It complements the multi-ethnic education and can help students to accept and appreciate the cultural diversity present in the colleges. We did not try to integrate peace, prosperity with PLANET due to space restrictions. However, from the very beginning, Solidarity has used solar power for electricity, internet, and pumping of water. They have also worked to retain rain water through collection from roof tops and storage tanks. Appropriate technology is used in farming methods in the Agricultural Training Project at Riimenze which, ordinarily, provides 75% of food requirements for the Teacher Training College. The students are thus exposed to alternative forms of energy production and learn how to collect water for use in gardens, etc. This provides alternative solutions for people in the area. When in the market you find people using solar panels, hooked to car batteries, to charge cell phones. When the poor are exposed to alternatives that will improve their lives, they learn quickly. This is important in a country which has no land lines, no electrical grid, no postal service, no provision of clean water, and no paved roads.

 See attachment: The Idea 3 31 2017. above - revised on 6/8/2017


Explain your idea

South Sudan is the newest country in the world, yet it is a country unable to “stand on its own two feet” for lack of infrastructure and an educated population. Ethnic strife is tearing the country apart and erasing any gains won since independence in 2011. The literacy rate in the country is only 27% with women having a much lower rate of literacy. The economy is in free fall with a 900% inflation rate making the local currency useless. The income from oil is being spent on procuring armaments and is lining the pockets of corrupt leaders. This war torn country will not prosper in anyway or provide sufficient food, health care or services for its people until peace comes. There is a need to bring people together in educational settings where they can get to know people from other ethnic groups and learn to live and work with the diversity which is present in South Sudan. Peace and prosperity will only come when people rise above tribal identification and see themselves as South Sudanese. Solidarity with South Sudan, an initiative of the International Union(s) of Superiors General (both men and women), is developing a model of ministry and a model of education that is transformative. The composition of the student body of two institutions is multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and ecumenical. These are national institutions as opposed to institutions based on tribe or regional affiliation. Peace and reconciliation initiatives as well as trauma healing workshops are integrated into all aspects of the program. The staff of Solidarity models what they hope to achieve. They are multi-ethic, multi-cultural and international in composition. Currently there are 28 priests, brothers and sisters working in four sites coming from 17 Catholic religious congregations and 14 countries, including those in Africa and Asia. The collaborative nature is inclusive of men and women religious, working with the laity, developing the capacity of South Sudanese to assume responsibility for their own educational institutions. The plan is, within the next few years, to provide promising students with the opportunity to pursue graduate studies in education and health care so that they will return as tutors and administrators of these institutions. Identifying those who may be sent for further studies is being initiated with graduates of the Catholic Health Training Institute (CHTI). Graduates who work for the local Catholic hospital may apply for a "top up" on their salary for up to two years. This is an attempt to retain competent staff who are easily lured to higher paying NGOs. During that time they will be monitored and evaluated by hospital and CHTI staff. Should they be assessed as having the ability to pursue higher studies and a willingness to return as a tutor or administrator, they will receive scholarship funding for further studies. In this way, we hope to build the capacity of South Sudanese to assume responsibility for their health care institutions.

Who Benefits?

Graduates of the Solidarity Teacher Training College (STTC) and the Catholic Health Training Institute (CHTI) are the immediate beneficiaries. New teachers graduate with a two year certificate in elementary education that is certified by the Republic of South Sudan. The STTC at Yambio was the only TTC in the country to graduate new teachers at the end of 2016. Registered nurses and certified midwives receive three years of training and practical experience and are nationally accredited. Over half of all registered nurses in the country have graduated from the CHTI since 2014. Indirect beneficiaries are the thousands of children who will receive a quality elementary school education. The average teacher will teach a classroom of 80-100 children. There is a need for 26,000 teachers in a country. Nurses/midwives staff hospitals and clinics across the country and in Nuba Mts (Sudan). The nation benefits from educators who can work together across ethnic lines for the good of all people.

How is your idea unique?

Solidarity with South Sudan is a creative model of ministry among Catholic religious men and women in that it is a collaborative approach in an area of the world in which church groups tend to work in silos. Dioceses are often ethnic based and religious congregations tend to live and work with their own. Rarely do men and women, priests and sisters work as equals. Women in South Sudan are valued lower than cows! Solidarity is modeling a new way of ministry among the poor: men and women working together from 17 congregations and 14 countries building the capacity of the people. Educational institutions in South Sudan tend to be located in areas dominated by specific ethnic groups. The original model of Solidarity envisioned a teacher training college in each diocese. National events have led to the development of national institutions with multi-ethnic, multi-cultural student bodies. Perhaps this is a work of the Spirit bringing about another vision for the nation as a whole.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Full-scale roll-out: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the users I am trying to reach with my idea. I am ready to expand the pilot significantly.

Tell us more about you

Friends in Solidarity, US partner to Solidarity with South Sudan, is a newly established not for profit organization supporting the work of Solidarity with South Sudan. Friends was established in late 2015 by major superiors of Catholic religious congregations of men and women in the US who have personnel and/or interest in the work being done in South Sudan. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the situation in South Sudan and funding for the work of Solidarity with South Sudan. The President and Chief Administrative Officer, is a Catholic religious sister with years of experience in Africa and in congregational leadership. The Board of Directors is comprised of religious men and women with an interest in supporting the work of Solidarity with South Sudan. The office is located in Silver Spring, MD. It is supported by LCWR. Solidarity with South Sudan The Catholic Bishops of Sudan invited the religious of the world through the International Unions of Superiors General (men and women; UISG/USG) to come and build the capacity of the people and the church. The literacy rate is 27% with only 18% of women able to read and write. Most girls never get more than 4 years of education. Maternal death rates are the highest in the world and most never see a health professional prior to giving birth. The religious, responding to the call to ministry in South Sudan, take their inspiration from the International Congress on Religious Life held in Rome in 2004 which recommended that religious men and women collaborate in ministry among the most marginalized and poor in the world. After assessing the needs in concert with the Bishops, the first teams of religious men and women set out as pioneers for South Sudan in 2008. They train teachers, nurses, midwives, farmers and pastoral teams. Solidarity teams are located in Yambio, Riimenze, Wau and Juba. Solidarity is supported financially and with personnel by over 200 religious congregations from around the world. Partners in this specific initiative (the Challenge) are: the Executive Director of Solidarity with South Sudan in Juba, South Sudan; the principal of the Solidarity Teacher Training College, Yambio, South Sudan; and the principal of the Catholic Health Training Institute, Wau, South Sudan. These are the leaders and implementors of strategies in South Sudan and members of the South Sudan Management Team of Solidarity with South Sudan. Additionally, the Board of Friends in Solidarity has also critiqued the proposal as well as the staff of Solidarity in Rome. Solidarity collaborates with the Ministries of Education and Health of the Republic of South Sudan, the University of Juba, the South Sudan Catholic Bishops Conference, Jesuit Refugee Services in Maban and other local groups who share their concerns. The work is supported by religious congregations and Catholic foundations and agencies, primarily in Europe and North America.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.
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Attachments (3)

The Idea 3 31 2017.docx

This attachment has been edited as of June 8.2017

201606 IMPACT STUDY Mr Gabriel Nyany (1).pdf

One of many evaluations done by students at the Solidarity Teacher Training College: Note the references to learning about different cultures, learning to respect the diversity and the new respect of women as equals in a society where women are of less importance than cows!


Join the conversation:

Photo of Joan Mumaw

This is a great idea. I will pass it on to the staff in South Sudan. If the civil unrest would stop and people could think beyond survival, this would help them to see themselves as South Sudanese. There are some brave people collecting artifacts and trying to preserve the complex history of this country. If I get to South Africa, I would love to visit this museum and see this program in action.

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