The conditions in South Sudan are at the forefront of humanitarian attention, as widespread disease, poverty, hunger, and displacement have been affecting the country since it gained its independence from Sudan in 2011. Continuing armed conflict and a lack of stability across all sectors only increases the need for aid and assistance. Though the situation remains a dire one, with conditions failing to improve on a grand scale, many international humanitarian NGOs continue to be active in the country, providing invaluable assistance in building the country and its communities.
Save the Children works across eight different regions of South Sudan. Though the organization’s main focus is to protect children, provide education, and ensure a certain standard of health and nutrition for families, the organization plays an even more sprawling role in this country. Health programs for families are a top priority, as the nation has been plagued by outbreaks of disease due to poor sanitation standards in make-shift displacement camps and communities. Save aims to help children and families survive and thrive while coping with living in some of the harshest conditions in the world.
Medair is a large international NGO and one of the most active humanitarian organizations in South Sudan, where they have been working since 1992. Conflict has been further devastating the country since 2013, with extremely high levels of malnutrition and deadly disease plaguing the nation. Internal displacement is also rampant due to conflict, and the conditions within South Sudan are alarming. Medair focuses on providing three key areas of aid in the country: emergency response and relief, health and nutrition, and WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene). The rapid response teams are qualified and prepared to respond to natural disasters and rapid onset emergencies, such as floods and outbreaks of disease. Experts provide training and assistance with health, nutrition, hygiene, shelter, sanitation, and the distribution of supplies, bringing relief to hundreds of thousands of people across the country. When emergencies turn into long-term crises, the organization has committed their teams to establishing health and education centers, as well as providing nutrition programming and sustainable ablution blocks.
ZOA is a large Dutch relief agency that operates in several regions across South Sudan., including the Greater Upper Nile region, the Greater Equatoria region, and in IDP and host communities. ZOA uses a blended approach in its response to disaster and crisis in the region, engaging in disaster response activities while building sustainable recovery projects, as well. Around 25 percent of the total population of South Sudan has been uprooted and displaced from their homes due to armed conflict. Though the precarious conditions have caused projects to be suspended or terminated due to safety concerns, ZOA is committed to not abandoning the populations in need, though it is increasingly difficult with so many people on the move and scattering across many locations. ZOA provides aid across many sectors, including health, nutrition, psychosocial care, shelter and infrastructure, WASH, and monitoring and evaluation.
Terre des Hommes is an international NGO working on child rights abuses. They are headquarted in Cologny, Switzerland, but work actively around the world. In South Sudan, they work with children who have been recruited into armed groups, providing psychosocial support and facilitating their reintegration into their communities. However, the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan continues to deeply affect civilians, especially children. Terre des Hommes facilitates the reintegration process through the establishment of community-based interim care centers, which provide first-hand assistance with vocational training, life skill activities, recreation, and psychosocial support.
The ICRC works in communities affected by conflict, reuniting families separated due to conflict and displacement and aiming to increase resiliency and self-sufficiency. ICRC supports the building and maintenance of health care facilities, offering services to children and women that are not otherwise available due to the rampant destabilization of various regions. Their projects are put forth to rural communities that are often difficult or nearly-impossible to reach, providing medical training and services as well we supplies. Cattle and livestock are crucial for economic success in many areas of South Sudan, and the ICRC has installed projects and systems that aim to protect these sources of livelihoods for the South Sudanese people.