Success Stories

RFSP Improves access to clean water in Jongei

Posted on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

By John Alier

June, 2017(RFSP)- South Sudan does not have large scale water purification plant and reticulation system that provides its residents with clean and safe water. The situation is the same from the capital city, Juba to the most remote areas. The affluent rely on commercial plants that purify water from the River Nile and sell it as bottled water.

The rest of the population rely on borehole water and the less unfortunate, unclean water direct from the river or open wells. The situation gets worse as one moves further away from the capital city. Vulnerable population rely on boreholes mostly drilled and rehabilitated by aid agencies. One such agency that has drilled and rehabilitated a lot of boreholes is Catholic Relief Services (CRS), through its Resilience and Food Security Program (RFSP). 

At least ten boreholes have been drilled and more rehabilitated to increase access to clean drinking water in the remote villages by RFSP in the former Jonglei state, funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Hundreds of women who bear the brunt of fetching water from sources kilometers away now have water available close to their homesteads, freeing up more time food security and livelihood activities, and looking after the welfare of their families.  

The RFSP team met with several women who shared their stories on how this initiative has helped them across the field locations. Rebeca Aluel Chuol, A 36-year-old mother of five from at Kuei village in Dorok payam of Duk County, also shared her relief along with other woman, from a burden they never thought would end. 


Children collect water from one of the ten boreholes RFSP drilled across Jonglei State to improve communities access to clean drinking water: Photo by John Alier (May 2017 in Dorok of Duk) 

We used to fetch water from places that are far like Dorok Center, two hours walk from here. If you have five jerry cans, they will take more than 10 hours to bring home. When you start in the morning, you will finish in the night.  During rainy season, we drink rain from the pools, which caused a lot of diarrhea in children.   This made life difficult for women, and even worse for lactating mothers, walking long hours, under the hot sun”, explains Aluel, who experienced it all.  

Multiple uses of water  

The RFSP approach to water provision has been multi-pronged. From field experience, the program knows that the scarcity of water affects the different facets of communities’ lives, from health to livelihoods. RFSP prioritizes access to water where it will have far reaching and multiple uses, such as water for domestic use, livestock production and vegetable irrigation. The program promotes a borehole structure that includes an apron and water trough for watering cattle and small ruminants. The boreholes are also sited where communities grow vegetables for consumption and trade, thereby improving their nutrition and income generating activities.  

Bringing water closer to the communities has several benefits because of the multiple uses of water. The relieved women had a lot of reasons for appreciating the project. When the borehole was brought to our village, we are no longer moving that far in search of water. We have time to sit and cultivate in our farms, and do other things which we couldn’t do before, thanks to CRS for this wonderful support.  

Keeping livestock is now possible in this part of the country, especially small ruminants which is a source of meat and milk for many children, and usually kept by women. RFSP also supports vulnerable women with livestock restocking and providing water is crucial for the success of this activity. With water availability for human consumption being a problem, no one would think of keeping livestock with no water.  

A standard RFSP rehabilitated or new water source includes an apron leading to a water trough where communities can water their small and large ruminants. 

We did not keep cattle. It is difficult to get them water. Small ruminants like goats used to be taken to Dorok for drinking by women and children, which was also a hard task. Today, we have our cattle at home, because we have enough water for them to drink here in the village from this pump. Each the borehole has an animal trough where the animals drink from. Every family now has a cow, can now keep it at home even during the dry season for children to drink milk. This has brought us a lot of freedom”, Aluel says. 

Women who once walked long distances to fetch water are now able to access clean drinking water atheir door steps: photo by John Alier (May 2017 in Dorok village of Duk County). 

The integrated approach RFSP has taken has brought multiple benefits to communities. The water points have created a lifeline for communities who now use them to water their livestock and engage in vegetable farming, whilst having a clean source of water that reduces the risks of waterborne diseases. Trained water pump mechanics are also expected to reap benefits of stipends once they start fixing boreholes that have broken down for a nominal fee. Rebecca Yar Gai in Bor, one of the beneficiaries of a new borehole in Payueny village in Bor was also happy the community could now access clean water.  

Drinking dirty water caused a lot of problems, like diarrhea, and other diseases. Cholera was common in this area, but this is not the case today”, Yar says. 

Having boreholes rehabilitated or drilled by RFSP in the villages is the first concern, maintaining them is another. The communities have stated that they are committed to repairing and maintaining them. Kueithoi Tutdel, the chief of Kuei village in Duk, has been mobilizing his community to collect money to be used to repair boreholes in case of a breakdown. To add on to the sustainability of these water points, RFSP trained community based pump mechanics. These pump mechanics have proven to be very helpful in conducting small maintenance and repair issues, especially women mechanics. RFSP prioritizes women pump mechanics to repair and maintain water sources because they are culturally, the main users of water. The program has built the capacity of women to rehabilitate water sources and empowering them to decision making power in water point management. Since WASH activities started in 2014, the program has trained 95 pump mechanics (45 men and 45 women) on borehole maintenance and water point management. 

Women have empowered to maintain and repair water sources as they are culturally, the main users of water points. photo by RFSP. 

This water pump has been repaired twice by the community. The first time it broke last year, we paid SSP1,500 ($10.00) to get it repaired, money gathered by the community. It broke again this year, and we collected SSP3,000 ($20.00) for repairsIt did not break down again after that”.  

The borehole serves a nearby school with hundreds of children in this village. It also serves 360 households scattered across the village bringing about the much-needed relief for families who now use this water point for multiple purposes.  

Water sources as connectors to communities 

An additional benefit of the water sources is how they have acted as connectors to feuding communities in Duk County. Duk County has been the hotbed of ethnic conflict between the Nuer and Dinka communities since the 2013 conflict as the border county between Greater Bor and Western Bieh. With the continuing vulnerability and common needs however, RFSP water sources have served as a common ground for communities to come together, coupled with interventions from RFSP social cohesion activities. Nuer communities have now settled in Dinka dominated Duk County where they access many humanitarian services, such as food for asset interventions, WASH, nutrition, social cohesion and trauma awareness activities.  

Since the intervention, JFSP and RFSP rehabilitated 129 boreholes for rehabilitation, thereby improving access to safe water for 108,131 (50,260 men and 57,871 women) community members. Furthermore, the program drilled five new boreholes in Duk (1), Uror (2) and Nyirol (2) using the CRS drilling rig, compressor and other borehole components provided from CRS private funds, improving the access to safe drinking water for 6,588 (3,449 men and 3,139 women) in locations prioritized by local officials and communities to reduce pressure, and prevent conflict, around existing water sources amongst host communities and IDPs.

Women take lead to guarantee food security

Posted on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

By John Alier 

March, 2017 (RFSP)-Dry season vegetable production proves to be a better source of cash and healthy food, alleviating livelihoods of vulnerable households who lost livestock in Jonglei state of South Sudan, thanks to women leadership and their active involvement.  

Catholic Relief Service (CRS) in consortium with Save the Children run a special project, Resilience and Food Security program (RFSP) under USAID funding in seven counties of Pibor, Akobo, Nyirol, Uror, Duk, Twic East and Bor targeting nearly one million individuals to improve people’s livelihoods.  

Total of 3,579 individuals–including 2,396 women–have been participating in vegetable production. The participants organized into 105 groups and others operating individually across the seven counties were supported with 6,420 assorted inputs, including seeds and tools.

Vegetable producer groups in RFSP seven counties are now able to save cash they obtain on weekly bases from their sale:  Photo taken from Poktap  by John Alier, RFSP reporting and communication officer 

Adau Chuol Bul, a 43-year-old farmer who inspired the rest of her group members to start vegetable production, has now excel in the Duk, which was highly devastated by 2013 crisis. Under her leadership, each of the 20 female members gets cash and fresh green vegetables to nourish their meals which improve nutritional status of their children. 

“Idealness is a sickness; God makes you healthy for you to work. As people without cows, vegetables are source of healthy food for children and elderly,” Adau says. 

The accumulated cash on vegetable sales from February to March by vegetable producers in the operational areas touched SSP 829,360 $6,883 as per the current rate of SSP120.5 per $1) 

Tackling the earth with hoes in dry months of the year with patience persistently, contributed to the success of the groups which had just been converted to community based Saving and lending microfinance, in which the members invested part of their cash obtained from crops sales. 

“We are loaning this money to the people within our groups who are using it for the other businesses with the return of 10 per cent profit after a month,” she says. “When things go well, we will explain this and keep money for us to afford modern houses which we don’t have now,” she explains. 

The next plan for some of the groups is how they can expand their productivity to increase food security. Some vegetable farmer producer groups have now cleared their fields which they use to produce cereal crops this year.  

From subsistence to income earning

Posted on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

By John Alier

April, 2017 (RFSP)-Since 2011, the Resilience and Food Security Program (RFSP), then named Jonglei Food Security Program (JFSP) has been working with vegetable producer groups with the aim of encouraging them to start producing for household consumption.

Six years later, now under RFSP, vegetable producers have moved from subsistence production for household consumption to profitable income generating production. RFSP, under agro-enterprise programming, has started training producer groups on financial education, value addition and market linkages. Working with the producer groups, RFSP identified and mapped more than 30 buyers who could be linked with both fishery and vegetable producers to complete the value chain in Bor, Twic East and Duk counties of Jonglei State.  

One of the best hotels in Jonglei State, named Pak Palace struck a deal with two RFSP-supported producer groups for the supply of fish and vegetables. Thiepriel vegetable producer group is among the groups supported by RFSP in Bor that supplied Pak Palace with vegetables. Its members grow sukumawiki (kale), tomatoes, green pepper and onion. One piece of green pepper cost 30 SSP (US$0.20) and 4 pieces of tomatoes cost SSP 70 (US$0.50). These are competitive prices when compared to local markets where the same products reportedly go for more than 100 SSP (US$0.66), as they are mainly imported from neighboring Uganda, via Juba. Depending on the volume of production and sales, the group says it makes enough money to sustain themselves and carry on with their activities.  

 David Ngeth sorts vegetables for Pak Palace Hotel in Bor County, Jonglei State. Picture by John Philip Omot (RFSP). August 2017 

David Ngeth, the marketing member of the vegetable producer group had this to say, “We make a daily average earning of SSP 1,500 (US$10,00) per day from sales and on weekly basis, we are able to make a cumulative amount of over SSP 10,000” (US$ 66.00). He continues, “This money helps us to buy immediate group needs like sugar and coffee. This group has a vision of establishing vegetable shop to maximize sales”. Besides using proceeds from sales for their own welfare, the group saves part of their proceeds for future business initiatives. Thiepriel vegetable producer group was established in January 2017 and has a membership of 20 farmers. In addition to training, the group has also been supported with vegetable seeds and tools previously. 

Fresh fish is a source of Protein and a basic nutritious and health requirement 

Another producer group that struck a deal with Pak Palace is Jarwong fishery based producer group. The group was established in 2013 and has continued operations despite the setback of the December 2013 violent conflict. Although the group has more than the 20 recommended members, at 30, they have shown great potential in the fishing business. The group members engage in collective fishing and marketing. Besides selling their fish locally, they also supply traders who come from as far as Juba. They also supply to individuals, restaurants and other institutions where there is demand for fish.  

Philip Wel sorts fish as RFSP and Pak Palace Hotel management staff look on in Bor. Picture by John Philip Omot. August 2017 

The group make average daily sales of SSP 2,000 (US$13), culminating into an estimated SSP 14,000 (US$ 93.00) per week. The money is used for the groups welfare and sustenance. Part of the money is used to purchase repair kits for their fishing gear, whilst some is saved for future purposes. This group is also earmarked by RFSP to become a cooperative as they have shown great potential and leadership characteristics. 

The role of RFSP in agro-enterprises is to create market linkages for the farmers. The program intends to promote highly performing farmer producer groups into cooperatives. A few farmer producer groups have been identified to this end and will receive training on marketing, financial education and business management. After training, they will be assisted to register as cooperatives and be monitored. The identified groups have taken different initiatives to increase their viability, with one group having purchased a tractor and another purchased a grinding mill to increase their productivity and source of income. If the situation continues to be stable, these groups hope to be viable enterprises that not only feed Jonglei State, but the rest of South Sudan. 

From civil war to commercial farming 

Posted on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

By John Alier

 March, 2016 (RFSP)-The Dewtong farmer group was badly affected by the South Sudan civil war in 2013/2014. After losing all of their belongings and farming implements, the farmers received tools and seeds from the USAID-funded Resilience and Food Security Program implemented by Catholic Relief Services. With this support, the farmers were able to re-plant crops and produce enough food for their families.  

 Following this recovery, the program continued to provide support in the form of trainings on seed growing and business management. As a result, the farmer group became one of the main suppliers of sorghum seed in Jonglei State. Catholic Relief Services, along with many other organizations, now purchases seed from the Dewtong farmer group in order to distribute the seed to other farmers in need elsewhere in South Sudan.  

 To meet this growing demand, the farmer group purchased a tractor using revenue from the seed sales. With the tractor, the group expanded their acreage and their seed production 

 The potential of mechanization attracted the attention other farmers in the area who commissioned the Dewtong group to plough their fields on a fee-paying basis. Paul Angeth, the Dewtong group leader, explains: “When our neighbors saw the benefits that we were reaping from selling the seeds, they requested us to plow their farms because they wanted to expand their farms and become seed producers and suppliers. We sat as a group and came up with tariff for anybody interested in hiring our tractor. Since then, even cultivating our group’s farm is difficult because so many people want their plots to be plowed”.  

 With revenue from sales of seeds and from fees for tractor use, the Dewtong producer group has taken major strides from subsistence farming to commercial entity. The group has recently taken the next step towards entrepreneurial agricultural production by registering as a farmer cooperative society with the Jonglei State Ministry of Cooperatives. The group’s next business target is to sell its seed production to buyers beyond Jonglei in South Sudan.  

Diversifying and learning from experience 

The civil war in South Sudan has ravaged communities in Twic East state, and the farmers of the Thempour farmer group were not immune. Despite the war, the resulting loss of their belongings and tools, and fleeing their homes, the group has worked to become one of the most successful food processors in Twic East.  

The group initially received agricultural tools and seeds from the USAID-funded Resilience and Food Security Program implemented by Catholic Relief Services. Using those tools and seeds, the group was able to plant and reap a substantial harvest in 2016.  

“From the 2016 harvest, we used part of the grain as seeds for this year, as we doubled the size of our farm. We had enough for our own household consumption and sold the surplus to CRS. For the first time in our group’s history, we earned a huge amount of money [$4,900]”, reported Matiop Deng, Thempour FPG leader. 

To diversify their sources of income, the group bought a mill to grind cereal; this generated a net weekly revenue of $200 every week. The group has also started trading in agricultural tools as small livestock.  “We did not keep idle or misuse the money that we got from sales of our sorghum seedsWe bought 17 goats which we want to sell to humanitarian agencies that conduct livestock fairs in this area. We also used part of this money to buy 1,000 hoes at a unit price of $1.34 and sold them to Oxfam at SSP350 ($2.35) each”, Deng continued. 

Today, the group’s business activities include selling seed, tools, livestock and grain processing. The group’s ambitions include building a grain storage facility, both for their own harvest and to rent out to other growers.  Because of the risk of post-harvest losses and lack of modern granaries, most farmers must sell immediately after harvest when the market prices are at their lowest. “We will have a modern storage facility in which we will collect sorghum seeds from our own harvest and buy seeds from other villages. We will store them for some months and later resell them for a profit, said Deng. The group is also planning to buy a tractor that can be used to cultivate own farm and be hired by other farmers to generate money for the group”, added the group secretary, John Garang Lueth. 

Improving the nutrition welfare of children in Jonglei State

Posted on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

By John Alier

 The Resilience and Food Security program (RFSP) has been helping widows and other vulnerable women in Jonglei State with its small ruminant revolving credit program, restoring their human dignity, hope and pride and in the process making them more resilient. 

Vulnerable women in the targeted communities receive three goats or sheep, of which two are female and one male, on a credit basis from RFSP. Once these goats give birth, the women then repay the animals back to RFSP through the young ones. RFSP then passes the livestock to the next batch of vulnerable women.  

Although many people were affected by the 2013 crisis, women headed households suffered even more. Their hopes were dashed by the fighting and many lost any optimism they had about the future and that of their children. These women are now being empowered once again by RFSP restocking exercise and their livelihoods are now being restored. 

Rhoda Abiar Achiek got married when she was 18 years of age. Together with her husband, they struggled to make ends meet but they could survive and earn a living supporting each other. Unfortunately, her husband died when she was expecting her first child, a baby boy.  

Abiar gave birth to her first child in a remote area, during the peak hunger season in January 2013. Getting food was difficult for her and there was nobody to help as everyone struggled to survive in the islands along the River Nile. She had no parents to help her either. Abiar did not produce enough breast milk for her child owing to the food stress. Although the child survived, her life fell apart and her dreams of having a prosperous family were marred.    


Caption: Goats’ milk has given little children this one an easy means of survival as they can no longer suffer hunger and rampant malnutrition in Jonglei state: photo by John Alier

In July 2015, however life turned for the better when she was targeted and registered as one of the beneficiaries of the livestock restocking program under the Jonglei Food Security program (JFSP). This happened two years after rebels looted her village of Pakon in Bor County during the December 2013 crisis.  

“It was in the evening when I returned from the water point, I found the chief and my brother-in-law waiting for me at home. My heart beat faster fearing what the big man wanted to say,” Abiar says.  

She still recalls the statement the chief said, “Abiar, you are very luck. CRS is now looking for vulnerable women like you to be given some goats that they will keep for 12 months, after which you give back 3 young goats share to another person from this village. It’s like a loan that is paid with no interest rate charged. Would you like that?” 


As widow and taking care of children, she did not have any means of feeding them. She saw this as an opportunity especially for her children who desperately needed milk. Goat milk is an essential component of children’s nutrition in Jonglei State. She accepted the offer without hesitation. Abiar built a small shelter in which she kept the three goats she received from the livestock fair.  

“… I looked after the goats properly so that the young ones are not attacked by monkeys and foxes. In a day five goats produce approximately one-and half to two liters of milk. At this point, it was like the flip of a coin . . ..  Some neighbors whom I used to ask milk from started coming to me for assistance with milk,” she says. 

By December 2016, Abiar had 13 goats from which she paid three to the next beneficiary, another vulnerable widow affected by the 2013 crisis. Four of the goats are lactating and are a source of milk for her children.   

“Goat’s milk is even better than cow’s milk. It is easy to digest and does well for children than cow’s milk,” she says.  

She is now planning to sell some of her goats and buy a cow for added security. Having goats and cows is a sign of social security. Since her husband passed away in 2012, she is no long just a woman, but now an important person in the community.  

“This program has empowered women by enabling them to own livestock like goats. I have voice over what they should be used for and when, nobody can come and take a male goat and use it for marriage or anything without my approval. When there is a meeting in the community, I am now asked to attend and contribute just like other people,” she continues.  

From June 2015 to February 2017, the program reached 725 women headed households with 1,932 goats, through the livestock restocking program in nine operational counties of Jonglei state. In addition to the livestock restocking program, Abiar is a vegetable farmer also supported by RFSP with seeds and tools and farming expertise. Her vegetable garden yields an average of 9,000 South Sudan pounds (USD75.00) income every month.

RFSP nourishes children in Jonglei state

Posted on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

By John Alier

Anyier Marial, nearly—2 year old girl—-saw her world upside down after birth in 2015. Her parents were living in Poktap after they returned from Awerial displaced camp. Poktap is among the places highly devastated during the crossing, a situation which forced children lactating and pregnant mothers to Poor feeding and lack of proper hygiene at the household levels.  

The mother, Adior Thon, returned to Jonglei and settle in Poktap when Catholic relief Service (CRS) started starting distributing high energy biscuit (HEB).  

“My child was thin, inactive, always cry and refused to play,” Adior said. The mother of this little girl acknowledged the positive impact of HEB on her child after she enrolled her for this support in April 2017.  

Resilience and food Security Program ( RFSP ) distributes HEB to prevent physical and nutritional deterioration of IDPs or vulnerable groups in conflict affected areas. This activity satisfies the food requirement of Pregnant and children under the age of 2 years in terms of quantity and quality. The provision of HEB is the part of Supplementary Food Program (SFP) and aims to reduce the prevalence of malnutrition, and stop illness and deaths among those at-risk. HEB distribution implemented together with the DRR/FFA or can be implemented as a ‘stop-gap’ measure until sufficient food supply is established.  

“USAID support especially HEB contributes significantly to improving the life of my child. She became active and looking healthy after just few weeks, thanks to USAID for giving HEB”.  

Anthropometric parameters indicated a significant improvement on child nutritional status. Baseline measurements were taken before HEB distribution in April, 2017 indicated that the child Weight was 7.3kg indicating that the child was under risk of malnutrition. After the child received HEB, the post distribution measurements were taken two months later, her weight was 8.5kg. This second. The child’s weight increased by 1.2 kg, which indicated that the child status improved. 

Children under below five years of age, pregnant and lactating mothers are always under threat of malnutrition due to poor diet and frequent sicknesses they face. Between February and September 2017, recovery and food security program (RFSP) provided HEB to 4,471 malnourished children and women in Both Twic East, Duk, Pibor and Akobo, countries, rescuing them from detrimental diet.

Success Stories

Posted on Monday, October 10th, 2016