USAID Shares Lessons Learned on Supporting Communities to Build Resilience

The U.S. Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) held an event in Juba on March 16 to share lessons learned on a new approach to working with communities to build resilience to food insecurity and other shocks in South Sudan.  USAID’s Policy LINK activity over the last three years piloted community-driven ways to build resilience in Wau and Jur River Counties (Western Bahr al Ghazal State), Budi and Kapoeta North Counties (Eastern Equatoria State), and Akobo County (Jonglei State).

At the event, Policy LINK Chief of Party Jeffrey Campbell and field practitioners shared their planning process model, which brought together local officials, community leaders, women, people with disabilities, and youth representatives to prioritize local needs and plan for a more resilient future—thus supporting communities to guide government and donor development initiatives.

“Resilience initiatives work best when local communities lead consultations that include women, youth, and people with disabilities, because they know what their communities need most. This enables people to lead decision-making for development of their communities,” said USAID M600ission Director for South Sudan Kate Crawford.

In Jur River County, for example, a community resilience mapping exercise identified fire as one of the most impactful shocks disproportionately affecting women and children. Most households in Jur River County cook indoors and do not have a separate kitchen area, significantly increasing the likelihood of fire. Maria Ator, a community-selected delegate from the payam-level local action planning workshop organized by Policy LINK, collaborated with another female leader to invent a local stove to reduce the risk of fire from home cooking. Made from locally sourced materials, the stove prevents embers from escaping and igniting household effects or burning children.

Policy Link created a public resource portal about its resilience-building approach for partners who work on development and resilience activities in South Sudan: