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Catholic Relief Services
CRS Leads $54 Million USAID Food Security Initiative
Nairobi, Kenya, October 13, 2011 – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is launching a $54 million consortium led by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), a three-year program designed to help more than a half million people in the Jonglei region of South Sudan.
The $54 million will support the Jonglei Food Security Program (JFSP) that will target almost 150,000 vulnerable households in eight counties in Jonglei State. The JFSP will support the nascent South Sudan Government’s mission to establish an operational and strategic framework to enhance the resiliency, income and general wellbeing of Jonglei’s communities.
“Food insecurity is a very real threat for many southern Sudanese,” says Andrew Rosauer, CRS’ Country Representative. “While the challenges are numerous: severe rains, lack of roads, and ongoing intermittent conflict, Jonglei State is a fertile land ripe with potential to become an agricultural bread basket for South Sudan.”
Issues of food security in Jonglei state are compounded by four factors: ongoing conflict, limited investment compared to other states in South Sudan, weak infrastructure, and natural shocks such as drought and excessive rains that make much of the region inaccessible for several months out of the year. The JFSP will work to address these obstacles by: bolstering infrastructure and the local economy through food-for-work programs, building the resilience of affected communities to extreme weather shocks, increasing crop productivity, and helping small-scale farmers access local markets.
On average households in Jonglei purchase over half their food. Increased production activities will enable the severely food insecure to better cover their own food needs and free up cash resources that they would otherwise have used to purchase food.
The JFSP will support communities’ creation of comprehensive community based disaster preparedness plans that will help them cope with weather fluctuations and intermittent conflict. This will improve participants’ ability to manage their resources and protect their gains in crop and livestock production. Additionally the program will work with the local government to recruit and train community animal health workers to help maintain the health of herds in an area where people rely heavily on livestock for food and income.
The creation of micro-finance groups and livestock water resources is also an integral part of the JFSP along with training in improved water and crop production, and a comprehensive food-for-work program that will bolster local infrastructure and access to markets through road construction and rehabilitation
Other agencies in the program are Save the Children and Joint Aid Management.
“The world’s newest nation, South Sudan has enormous untapped agricultural potential,” said Rosauer. “While Jonglei may be poor in infrastructure it is rich in resources and hope. The Jonglei Food Security Program has the ability to make a huge impact in not only the 8 counties we’ll be targeting but on the region as a whole.”
CRS has been in South Sudan since the 1970s and has been working in the Jonglei region for the past decade in health and peace and reconciliation projects.
For more information, contact Sara Fajardo.
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community. The agency provides assistance to people in nearly 100 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, nationality or creed. For more information, please visit crs.org or crsespanol.org.