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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. jmumaw.solidarity@gmail.com. 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. www.solidarityssudan.org 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!

55 comments

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Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

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.

Photo of Debby
Team

At the South African Jewish Museum in Cape Town we host children from disadvantaged communities, where xenophobia, racism, prejudice and discrimination and intolerance of the other, are rife. At the Museum we have devised a 4-hour workshop called Education and Cultural Diversity Programme, where we teach the learners using the Museum's multi-media resources, specially designed games and puzzles, about tolerance, respect for all religions, anti-bullying, and cultural diversity. The groups of school children are divided into 4 groups and are guided through 5 stations by trained facilitators - Immigration, Challenges - language, culture, poverty, World Religions - artifacts and festivals, Philosophy - education, welfare and cultural rites of passage and finally a Plenary session which is held in the Great Synagogue, where a summation of the day's learning is done and evaluation forms are completed by the learners and their accompanying educators. The children then return to their schools, friends, family and communities equipped and educated about difference and make for better citizens practicing "ubuntu" - tolerance and "tikkun olam" heal the world. Perhaps something like this could be done in the South Sudan.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Joan,

It is great to see all the updates to your submission and all the hard work here. I noticed you mentioned trauma training. You might want to look at this submission From the Midwest to the Middle East: A Regional Center for Trauma Rehabilitation and Training 

Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

Thanks, Kate, I will check this out.
Joan

Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

Kate, I just checked out the reference. This is quite an idea and may work well in an area where there are better educated people. Just now in South Sudan we are working with very poor and poorly educated people. Capacitar works well here and it needs little in the way of equipment, but rather staff to train local people. Eventually, if there is peace and a better educated population, a center such as this may be possible. Perhaps something like this in Uganda or Kenya could serve the needs of the area. Trauma affects many in these areas.

Photo of John Sivalon
Team

I think that it would be good to not just say "others" in the partnering section. It would be good to list various institutions, ngos and civic organizations that will spread our exposure. Maybe emphasize the vast network of universities, colleges and high schools that could be used.

Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

I agree, John. Too bad the word count limited our options. We could add: Catholic Medical Mission Board, Mercy Beyond Borders, Loretto School in Rumbek, Christian Brothers projects in Yambio, teacher training programs that are a part of a collaborative in Juba, the Catholic University of South Sudan, etc.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Interestingly Mercy Beyond Borders has an idea for South Sudan in our emergency education challenge. I am not sure if you have seen it. It has been posted by Sr Marilyn - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/education-emergencies/ideas/girls-ombudswoman-in-every-school

Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

We need to seriously think about your going and accompanying Annette or working with Barbara as she offers these workshops. Capacitar exercises are easily integrated into any meeting and are enjoyed by the people involved. I saw this at the Catholic Health Training Institute when they celebrated Earth Day.

Photo of SisterDusty Farnan
Team

Joan your absolutely right about Capacitar. It is attractive because it is interactive and has the possibility of breaking down barriers they may exist between individuals or even members of different tribes. That's because Capacitar is a neutral tool in addressing trauma as well as all trauma. It would be good for women who gave birth to a still born child, to help her in this time of sorrow. Or Women who are pregnant and fearful of the process as well as all ages, young children through adults. I hope one day I will be able to meet the people of South Sudan and share this healing approach to trauma. I'm mindful too of the catechetical work Sr. Annette just comepleted in May. She managed to get to so many people in eleven days . I do think that outreach is the approach that will be needed to serve the people of South Sudan, and what a combo it would be to accompany her in her ministry and add the Capacitar after a day of input.

Photo of Ann
Team

I really appreciate the responses from Brother Bill and Sister Barbara. Sister Barbara's suggestion about taking groups of students to the Good Shepherd Center at Kit for more input and practice in trauma healing appeals to me. These students would then be able, after completing the Solidarity program they're engaged in, could help people in their own areas cope with the stress and trauma that is affecting so many people throughout South Sudan. This would be another invaluable contribution to peace and development that Solidarity with South Sudan could offer and friends in Solidarity could facilitate with adequate funding. This could truly change the country! Just imagine - in Sister Barbara's words:  teaching people "how to understand and hold emotions gently, how to dialogue: to listen longer, speak respectfully; how to express anger, sadness and sexual energy in healthy ways: e.g. Anger as courage instead of revenge. Working with singing and drumming can heal. Enabling children to feel safe is an essential foundation of healing from stress and trauma." It occurs to me that South Sudan is not the only country whose people need these skills - but there the need is immediate. If this could be taught, learned and practiced, South Sudan could become a model for the rest of the world. The possibilities are truly inspiring. Let's find the means to get this training underway!

Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

Thanks Ann,
Your comments just reinforce the input from Barbara who has been doing this work in South Sudan for several years. She knows from experience the impact trauma- healing workshops have on those who participate.

Photo of SisterDusty Farnan
Team

As someone who has been trained in Capacitar I really do see the impact that it can make. I use it every week here in Milwaukee with older sisters. It relaxes them and helps them to really experience touch in healthy and wholesome ways. Trauma work is important particularly in South Sudan because students cannot concentrate if they do not feel some relief from the surroundings and something that creates a capacity for safety and healing. I also know that the team goes to where the need is. Capacitar is one way to bring healing to others, there is not the need to carry a lot of documents or books to offer this training. In the African culture it is really accomplishable. Because Africans are an oral people they will learn these skills quickly and retain them. This is part of the beauty of Capacitar Trauma Training. It is portable so to speak. It is about respecting space of individuals as well as well mindfulness. It strenghtens one's possibility of healing. I pray that more people can share the gift that is Capacitar so that healing will take place in the country and spread through its own people.

Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

Thanks, Dusty,
Your comments about Capacitar programs and their suitability for African audiences affirms my own thoughts after participating with South Sudanese in some trauma healing training. These exercises also work well with groups and are simple and uncomplicated. They are non-threatening and do not harm. Africans like to dance and move around and these exercises when done in groups mimic dance.
Hopefully we can do more with Capacitar in our training of teachers and nurses.

Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

It may be confusing to some just why I am posting reflections from South Sudan. Those working in South Sudan found it difficult to access the site and asked that I post their responses. Their input has been so valuable in confirming our work and also planting seeds for the future.

Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

Sr. Barbara Paleczny, SSND in Juba, South Sudan
"Giving teachers, capable students, community members more training to teacher Healiing from Trauma methods in schools and throughout the community would be a major contribution toward peace and vibrant education. The methods can be integrated into morning assemblies, classes and specific classes for this training. Affirmative action to prepare women and girls as leaders would also be welcome."

"Building on the Capacitar multi cultural, popular education method to help the body to feel, to feel safe and to send that message to the brain is also essential. Only then can the neocortex function well (the thinking or executive brain).

"An essential need is healing from trauma and stress, including how to understand and hold emotions gently, how to dialogue: to listen longer, speak respectfully; how to express anger, sadness and sexual energy in healthy ways: e.g. Anger as courage instead of revenge. Working with singing and drumming can heal. Enabling children to feel safe is an essential foundation of healing from stress and trauma."

Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

Barbara, thanks for your input. All of this is so important and I hope we can expand our programs of trauma healing in the STTC and CHTI and train these graduates as trainers for their schools and communities.

Photo of Anna
Team

I want to remark the work that Solidarity is doing in South Sudan in keeping motivating students to exceed in their studies, obtaining the diploma and build their life and the new society of South Sudan. Almost 100% of the students who graduated during the last graduation in April 2017 immediately got a job as teachers, as previous students did. On top of it, many efforts are done in order to keep current students in contact with previous students. Being motivated by peers means so much for them!

Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

Anna, thanks for your comments. You are right on target. The challenge these days is to keep in contact with graduates in the midst of the economic collapse and sporadic outbreaks of violence. It seems few cell phone providers are able to continue service in some areas of the country.

Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

Input to the proposal sent from Sr Barbara Paleczny, SSND, Solidarity member, teacher training and trainer of trainees in trauma healing. Sr Barbara proposes additional training for students of the Solidarity Teacher Training College and the Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau, which is also sponsored and staffed by Solidarity with South Sudan. She writes,
"A goal is to form leaders, teachers, nurses, mid-wives, who can teach the healing methods in their communities, hospitals and schools. More time is needed to lay the foundation and to practice. Part of this formation is then to accompany them, forming a team or partnership, guiding them as they give a day or days for others.
Perhaps a goal might be to give an in-service development/leadership workshop for the faculty.
Could it be given as an elective for students?
Or is the best we can do is focus leadership formation in Psycho-social Support as desired follow-up, a scholarship for some from each College? Could a grant include a one or two week program at the Good Sheherd Peace Center in KIT?
In schools where I have seen good use of the program, the effects for students are tangible.
I might add that I have seen increasingly blatant, serious symptoms of trauma over this year. The crisis is unfolding before our eyes. . . within institutions as well beyond our walls. People are taking the war-faring into themselves and misdirecting anger and frustration in harmful ways, not the least of which show up as stress and physical illness.

I am very open to hear other suggestions how some of our shared goals might be addressed. Clearly, stress and trauma hinder thorough thinking and learning.

I think this area needs strengthening for the submission as well.
If enough money would be raised, could groups of students from CHTI and STTC be taken to KIT, Good Shepherd Peace Centre for a thorough immersion in methods and practise? Perhaps some with leadership potential and proven interest, effort to practise the exercises and interest could be identified for a program there. This plan could be for a three-year period and it could include follow-up guidance for the graduates in their subsequent locations of work.

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Joan and Team!

We’re excited to share with you feedback and questions from the BridgeBuilder team and an external set of experts. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your idea. Your idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.

When thinking about desirability, feasibility and viability here’s what experts shared:
• Desirable- Yes! You do a great job making a strong case for the need for individuals in the program and across South Sudan as a whole. You also do a great job discussing the different way your work bridges across ethnic groups and between men and women.
• Feasible – Yes, seems like you already have strong traction. Some questions I have are around your education model. What are some of the pedagogical frameworks or teaching practices you’ve found that have good results for fostering healing and peace building? You do a great job, clearly explaining what you do, and why you do it. Would love to understand in a little more detail what this program looks like, during and after the program. How do you support individuals after they complete your program and are working in South Sudan?
• Viability- Given the very real challenges of safety and financial instability, how does this impact your model for growth and sustainability? You shared some of the metrics you track around your program success, which are great, but how do you think about measuring your success in the areas of peace building and reconciliation among individuals and groups? What are some of your longer-term aspirational goals?

Human-centered design starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their real needs. How does this idea consider user needs?
• Yes! It is clear you have worked to understand the needs of your users and applied these learnings to your work. Would love to learn more about the questionnaire you did, for example, what was it about multi-ethnic education that was most important to students? In your user map Tereza shared she feels safer working side-by-side with men now, do you know what it was about your program or her experience that led to this transformational result?

Thank you so much for sharing the incredibly important work you are doing!

In case you missed it, check out this Storytelling Toolkit for inspiration for crafting strong and compelling stories: http://ideo.to/DXld5g Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - June 16 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Have questions? Email us at bridgebuilder@ideo.com.

Looking forward to reading more!

Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

Thanks for your comments and for summarizing them for us to think about. I have sent them all off to South Sudan and have received some very interesting replies. They have asked me to post them for you to read.
First from Br Bill Firman, FSC, Executive Director of Solidarity with South Sudan, in Juba:
1. QUESTION: What are some of the pedagogical frameworks or teaching practices you’ve found that have good results for fostering healing and peace building?

It is impossible to answer this briefly. We have developed a broad curriculum approach with a wide range of practical techniques that covers the following in Semester 3 of the Christina Religious Education programme. The terminology in use is carefully defined. Our curriculum material leads the student teachers through the following: SKILLS FOR PEACE BUILDING – (Summarized as: dialogue; consensus building; non-violence; conflict resolution with self, the other, in primary schools; problem solving; negotiation,mediation and arbitration; restorative justice, reconciliation and peace-making. Students are introduced to UN Declaration of Human Rights, Rights of the Child, African Union Charter and Arab Charter.) More details available.

Further to the delivery of the above curriculum, we offer Capacitar workshops to every class of students designed to introduce them to techniques that can be used for trauma healing in this conflicted society, Capacitar was first developed for use in El Salvador and deals with releasing the blocked energies of body, mind and spirit, through bodily exercises. It is non-threatening and used easily with communities and can be integrated into any meeting.
Sr Barbara Paleczny, SSND, a Solidarity member, developed the CRE curriculum which has been approved by the State. She is also a trainer of trainees for trauma-healing and Capacitar workshops.

2. QUESTION: Would love to understand in a little more detail what this program looks like, during and after the program. How do you support individuals after they complete your program and are working in South Sudan?

The students follow a programme offered over four semesters. They practice micro-teaching in the classroom to their peers in semester two. In semesters 3 and 4, they go out to the local schools for supervised practice teaching. They are inspected each year by a visiting academic from Juba University.

In South Sudan, it is not safe to travel by road and air travel is quite expensive and unreliable. When our students go back to their diverse home areas spread widely over South Sudan, it is impossible to follow them up face-to-face unless they are in one of the areas where we operate.

While they are students, however, we do train them in the use of computers and give them access on an intranet to both Encarta and Wikipedia plus other curriculum material. Many ex-students do keep in touch by email or phone. Many students have ‘smart’ phones and access the internet that way.

A few of the most impressive graduates are/will be sent by us as sponsored students to undertake further studies with a view to them returning to work in the STTC (or CHTI in Wau). Currently we are searching out appropriate programs in Kenya and Uganda.

Photo of Joan Mumaw
Team

Again from Br. Bill Firman, FSC, Executive Director of Solidarity with South Sudan.

3. QUESTION: how do you think about measuring your success in the areas of peace building and reconciliation among individuals and groups? What are some of your longer-term aspirational goals?

The obvious measure of success is that we do get students to live together peacefully and cooperatively. We have faced occasional setbacks, including a night invasion in which one Sister tutor was knocked around violently by drunken solders and another was raped. But we have not gone away. Reluctantly, we are now building a solid wall to protect both staff and students – currently numbering 125 in residence. But we are still there. While walls may be necessary, our greatest protection continues to be the communities that we serve who appreciate what we are doing. In Riimenze we have an extensive, agriculture project. The rebels have passed through several times and the Government forces have also arrived in force; but our Solidarity community, our residence and the huge sustainable agriculture project have been left untouched. As Executive Director of Solidarity with South Sudan, I have described our aspirations and motivation in these terms: Our early Solidarity members did not expect, or choose, to come into this situation that seems so dangerous; but here we are and the question Jesus asked of Peter, now rings in our ears, ‘Could you not watch one hour with me?’ As Bishop Erkolano remarked at our recent board meeting, ‘If the missionaries leave, the people are more fearful.’

We stay because we feel called even more strongly to be missionaries of hope. Most teacher training colleges and health training Institutes have shut down as violence once again engulfs this land. But our two Colleges, each with over 110 in residence, continue, with students from many different tribes living and training together to be teachers, nurses or midwives. Our agriculture programmes help to provide the food required.

Even more importantly, our students are learning to live in peace with their neighbours from other tribes. We are preparing leaders of the next generation, promoters of peace and the promise there can be a resurrection - if only we stay with them in this critical time. Life here for us is surprisingly normal provided we accept the limited social and recreational opportunities and do not take unnecessary risks. It may not be totally safe but we are much safer than these poor people, the very poor who ask us to watch, to accompany, to seek with them a better South Sudan. The words of the proverb make resounding sense: ‘A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for.’ The seas may be a bit rough at present but our Solidarity ship is still making great headway. What better place for a religious to be.’

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And again from Br. Bill Firman, FSC Executive Director of Solidarity with South Sudan
4. QUESTION: Human-centered design starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their real needs. How does this idea consider user needs?

Last year, the SPLA rebels several times went through the peaceful rural community of Riimenze in South Sudan where we have our large agricultural project and other pastoral ministries. They were forcibly trying to recruit new members. The people would run to the bush to avoid them. This year, on New Years day just before mass, the Government soldiers attacked the people, looting and setting fire to houses, apparently acting on the false assumption they were sheltering or supporting the rebels. Two of our workers were burned to death, As usual, the victims were innocent people living in very simple circumstances who want peace not war. People fled to the Church for safety.

We did respond strongly to assist people when this community was first ravaged by marauding soldiers. We provided meals, blankets, tarpaulins and raised money to install boreholes. We had pit latrines and shower shelters constructed. In Riimenze, we still have more than 5000 people gathered around the Church and our compound.

Currently, there is almost too much focus on humanitarian relief in South Sudan to the detriment of funding for capacity building. Yes the people still need help desperately in some situations but we notice there is also a ’pull factor’ with free handouts. We know some people have come from relatively secure areas not to escape violence but to get ‘free goods’. They are not really in need but try to get anything that is there for free.

More recently we brought in gardening tools and seed for a thousand families. But we have now moved our focus back to our Sustainable Agriculture project where we employ 50 to 80 people each day on our large farm. There is more dignity and a better future in helping the people to help themselves. By paying our employees, money is injected into the local economy so that the market flourishes. We remain deliberately labour-intensive using oxen and small ‘walking tractors’ for cultivation rather than big machinery. We are training the farmers in techniques they can use themselves.

The Riimenze crisis has impacted on out teacher training college 30 kms away in Yambio. Large quantities of a variety of food that were normally produced in Riiemnze for the College have been diverted to feed the displaced people. Clearly we have responded to the real needs but are maintaining a focus on helping them to develop the capacity to sustain themselves.

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And question no. 5 from Br. Bill Firman, FSC.
5. QUESTION: what was it about multi-ethnic education that was most important to students? In your user map Tereza shared she feels safer working side-by-side with men now, do you know what it was about your program or her experience that led to this transformational result?

In answering the first question, I have already drawn attention to the various declarations of rights that are introduced to the students as part of the level 3 curriculum. This creates a platform for understanding the rights of others and creating a climate of mutual respect.

The College Board states the following to our students in the STTC, knowing they come from a wide variety of tribes with different, and sometimes hostile traditions and that affirmative action is needed for better educational opportunity for women and girls. It is given to the students in printed form, with a contract to be signed, and explained by the Principal. We believe clarity and consistency are most important if people such as Tereza are to enjoy their experience of living in the STTC and undergo genuinely transformational experience. The Statement reads as follows:

‘Students come to the STTC voluntarily and are free to leave at any time; but if they choose to stay they must understand:
1. the vision of the College for building a united South Sudan
2. the limits of what the College can offer them and
3. what rules are necessary for security and a happy spirit in the College

1. The Vision of the College
a) STTC is owned by the South Sudan Catholic Bishops and administered, in this development stage, by members of Catholic Religious Congregations belonging to Solidarity with South Sudan.
b) Solidarity with South Sudan is working to develop a self-sustainable College that will be administered, for the Catholic Church, by South Sudanese with South Sudanese tutors.
c) STTC is a National teacher College accepting students from all over South Sudan and Nuba Mountains (a decision of the SCBC in 2007)
d) STTC is open to accepting students of all religions but all students, whether Catholic or not, must respect the Catholic ethos and practices of the College
e) The STTC exists not just to train teachers but to promote reconciliation and healing of divisions among all peoples.
f) The STTC will produce a new generation of leaders who want to create a safe and prosperous South Sudan within which all can live, without fear, in peace.
g) STTC has gained the right to issue nationally recognised teaching certificates to graduates who enter the teaching profession as registered primary teachers.
h) While the economic crisis exists, the STTC will offer an accelerated programme so that students achieve registration more rapidly.

Excerpts from rules.
Some STTC Rules and Regulations – to be read in conjunction with student contracts.
a) Students are expected to live peacefully with one and another in a mutually respectful and supportive way.
b) Tribal identity is to be respected but not used to create division or disunity.
c) Any student threatening, or attempting to coerce another student, will be suspended.
Etc.

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Hi Joan

I love this idea, and just wanted to say thank you for contributing :)
I'm looking forward to keep an eye on this and see how it evolves!

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Thanks, Alex.
This is definitely an evolving ministry with lots of potential.

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Dedicated religious men and women with professional qualifications have remained in a situation of civil war and chaos in order to help transform a situation from one of hopelessness to one of hope. South Sudanese learn the skills and mindset needed to serve all of their fellow citizens regardless of ethnicity, or political or religious affiliation. We owe our gratitude to such caring people.

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And the composition of the staff of Solidarity TTC is a key element in supporting the students. Currently, there are 9 men and women from 9 different religious congregations and 7 different countries. Additional staff from South Sudan and Kenya make up the team. Students see the diversity among the staff.
Over all the staff of Solidarity number 30 from 17 congregations and 14 countries working in four sites, training teachers, nurses, midwives, farmers and pastoral teams.

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Just read the comment employment of students who have gone through the program in South Sudan. I have a lead for you, Joan, on a possible venue for employment for secondary teachers from the SWSS program. A new secondary school in Bor is expanding to include 11th grade in January 2018. They are especially interested in connecting with SWSS graduates because their goals for their students match the training SWSS teachers receive - that of having a multi-ethnic experience, and coming to understand, respect and appreciate people from tribes or nations other than one's own. The secondary school will also be adding a dormitory so students can board there...and that opportunity, along with their studies, really demands that ethnic differences be understood and respected. Since the teachers from the SWSS training program have gone through that experience themselves, they could ably guide students in Bor through this as well. Their voices would be completely credible because of their experience.
 I'm looking forward to seeing further development of this proposal - this project's experiences with diversity in religion, ethnicity, age, etc. makes it a perfect "template" for a more peaceful and developed global society. Many thanks to the extraordinary people who are part of this endeavor!

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Ann, this would be a great connection for Solidarity TTC.
We are focused on training primary (Grade 1-8) teachers. We are placing a priority on improving the quality of education at this level at this time. But the concept of multi-ethnic education is so important. We are would like to know more about this school and perhaps some of the students might want to come to STTC for teacher training. Be sure to let us know who to contact in Bor.

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We can certainly make this connection! I'll be in touch with you on this.

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This is a fantastic model, drawing off the resources of many different religious communities when no one alone can afford to have a substantial presence in a country like South Sudan. These religious incur great risks to themselves but are doing life-altering work.

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You are so right, Tom.

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Providing education and teaching the future generation of South Sudan to live in peace and appreciate diversity is the key to break the culture of war in this country! Morevoer, empowering women and giving them tools to be active leaders in the society will benefit the whole country. There's hope for South Sudan!

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Hi Joan,

It is great to see the updates to your project proposal - especially the feedback from the male and the female student on how they have benefited from collaboration.

Do you have any data on employment/job prospects of students who have gone through the program?

If some of the students went abroad for their training, how would you guarantee their return?

Are there certain types of organisations or organisations working in specific geographies that you are keen to connect to?

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Dear Kate,
Excellent questions:
Re: data on employment - Solidarity tries to track graduates. Most of the nurses and midwives seem to have employment either in church sponsored clinics and hospitals or in state clinics, etc. Many graduates (teachers and health care professionals) return to their homes in Nuba Mts which is in Sudan, but is disputed territory on the border of Sudan/South Sudan. With the teachers it is more difficult to know if students are able to retain their jobs as the government fails to pay them on a regular basis. Some go to work for non-governmental organizations.

One of the issues in South Sudan is the fact that non-governmental organizations are eager to employ our students because they are well educated and speak and write English. NGOs pay is significantly higher than state sponsored institutions. Solidarity is piloting a project with a Catholic hospital in Wau to see if it helps retain health professionals who then can be evaluated as to their suitability for further studies. E.g. Solidarity is "topping up" the salary of a couple of students who applied for this supplement and who are doing some supervision of students from the Catholic Health Training Institute (CHTI). Provided they do well and are faithful to their commitments, they may be suitable candidates for further studies.

Solidarity has searched out places in Kenya for further training for health professionals, and those receiving assistance for further education will be "bonded" and can pay off the bond either by working at the CHTI for a specified period of time or paying off the costs of their further education (almost
impossible.) There is no legal status to these "bonds." There are good options in both Kenya and Uganda for further training of teachers in education. There are some options at the University of Juba, but the quality may be poorer given the strife in the country.

The situation in the country just now demands some flexibility in operationalizing plans. But efforts are being made to move forward with training people to assume greater responsibility for the two institutions established by Solidarity. The timeline for all of this to happen is being pushed back because of the instability in the country.

Solidarity is networking with organizations in the country who are concerned with education of teachers and training of health care professionals. We need an increase in staffing to do this well and to adequately track and support graduates as well as to do the work necessary to assist development personnel in Europe and the US.

I hope this is helpful information. Do not hesitate to reach out with more questions.
Joan

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From Ann Howard
This is excellent! It is clearly written and speaks of a great effort to support peace and right-relationship in So Sudan.
Question: Would a bullet about religious beliefs strengthen the experience? Maybe no, but I am just wondering..... perhaps add, in last bullet, "...enabling Joseph to feel more comfortable in his religious and tribal identity; more open to others.
Really, this is great! Had I a class to share this with, it would be an excellent topic of discussion.
All best,
Ann

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Sorry, I did not get this before uploading our experience map. It is a good idea since many of the students are of other faiths.

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The beauty of this program is that it helps to break down ethnic barriers since the student body is comprised of men and women from the diverse ethnic groups. This can only help to bring peace to this country. And of course, education is one way in which barriers can be taken down. Good Job.

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I concur, Dusty! It may be our best hope for transformation in South Sudan.

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Comments from the Board of Friends in Solidarity:
"We have adapted for safety and security and to compensate for the loss of one school to the war. In the process we are shortening the time for students to gain the same content (eliminating long breaks). Providing protection for students in their travels. Capitalizing on the multi-ethnic mix of students in a country sharply divided along ethnic lines… seeking to transcend the ethnic divide.

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I  appreciate how this project has been able to adapt and demonstrate flexibility in response to the violence in South Sudan, which has exploded since its founding. Rather than flee the country, the program has recognized that in the face of violence, the needs it is working to meet are greater than ever. The program has been able to continue its mission of training teachers and nurses/midwives, and in fact has graduated teachers this past year - the only program to do so. This is because the dedicated staff is not only courageous but smart and strategic about how to continue its vital work, even in the midst of violent conflict. The effectiveness of this program is a beacon of hope for the South Sudanese people, to partners, and all who hope and pray for the successful resolution of the conflict and continued development of the country.

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Ann, this is a great observation. At our meeting earlier this week, one person noted that "participating in the Challenge has helped us to have greater appreciation and awareness of what we are really doing in the learning environment. The civil war has limited our options, but made the colleges multi-ethnic facilities with programs that help students to appreciate and respect other cultures.

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I like this project because it is at the heart of education, it aims at solving the literacy issue within this region and it is a good start in radically changing a community, whether it is training for work or getting the education where it is needed most.

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Thanks, Carolina,
I agree with you. Perhaps we are helping to create the new South Sudan from the ground up. Multi-ethnic education in such a crisis is developing new leaders for South Sudan whether or not they remain as teachers or health professionals. They will be South Sudanese in the real meaning of the term.

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A good insight, Carolina. -"a good start in radically changing a community" and perhaps a country, one student at a time.

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It's very important to support this project: South Sudan is living a season of endless violence. And Education is the first step for a better future in this young country.
Thanks Joan!
Claudia

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Thanks to you, to Claudia!

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This is an amazing organization and its work is so much needed for the dear people of South Sudan.
Mary Beth

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Thanks Mary Beth and thanks for your input at the meeting.

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This project is a marvelous effort involving the collaboration of several religious congregations and tends to the needs of a people who have suffered so much violence, educating teachers and enabling an agricultural training school, sensitive to the local bioregion, and which will provide leaders for the future and assist in the creation of needed systems which will contribute to the re-building of the country where peace and prosperity become a greater possibility. 

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Perhaps we are educating South Sudanese leaders, and not just tribal leaders, one student at a time.

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Hi Joan, thank you so much for sharing the amazing work your organization is doing!

In a couple sentences in the first section can you share how you define your work in South Sudan around supporting peace, prosperity and planet? I ask because this Challenge is intentionally broad to help source a range of creative solutions to these topics.

Second, can you share a few sentences about your plans for growth in the next 1-2 years?

Last question, in 1-2 sentences how do you measure impact of the important work you are doing?

Thank you and I look forward to learning more!

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Thanks, Ashley for your comments and suggestions. Much of this information is included in the expanded document which is attached to the idea. I have however, attempted to include some additional information in the Idea statement.