Juba, Southern Sudan - 2007

Refugees International Japan visits refugee  communities around the world on a regular basis so that we can see at first hand the     
kind of impact your donations have. We are used to hearing bad news from countries affected by war. However, the people we      
meet, who are doing their best for their families and their communities, always
impress our teams. Their resilience is amazing. The programs we fund help them to rebuild their lives and prepare for the return home.

VISIT REPORT: Juba, Southern Sudan

This was the first visit made by Refugees International Japan to Sudan. Two years after a deal was signed to end the long conflict in southern Sudan, the area, and its capital of Juba, was going through both an economic and social transformation. Our team investigated the situation with regard to displaced people and discussed funding of some projects with NGOs. Subsequent to this visit, we agreed to fund a number of community-based projects.

Size of problem  
Around 4 million Internally Displaced   People (IDPs)
Returns (to-date)
130,000: 40,000 through the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the rest spontaneous where the refugees lived within walking distance of their old homes. UNHCR reports that the return program could benefit up to 500,000 people.

Camp situation
The South Sudan Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Council (SSRRC) gives out food provided by the UN World Food Program (WFP) to demobilized soldiers.

UNICEF cares for demobilized child soldiers. The camps in Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of the Congo will close by end April 2007.

Resettlement mechanics
UNHCR is working with 10 - 15 implementing partners. Waystations have been established where the returnees complete voluntary return forms and receive packages for resettlement: non-food items, food rations for three months and transport to destination.

Situation for returnees
Due to the length of time that people have been away, some encounter problems of family recognition in their home villages.
There are problems with health provision, especially HIV/AIDS treatment - in the camps NGOs provided such facilities. Refugees who are wary of the new government are slow to return.

Special problems
Returnee youth need activities: they feel redundant upon return, are not in school and cannot get into education because they need national ID to enter university. Some drop out and return to exile. So far about 2000 youth have returned to Juba and another 2000 are expected. RIJ is discussing the possibility of funding a program for youth returnees in Juba.

Our team talked to representatives of aid organizations in the area about their activities.

Japan International Volunteer Center
JVC operates a workshop owned by the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC). JVC is an implementing partner for UNHCR and services their fleet of vehicles, as well as running a training course for mechanics. SCC was given the land by the government in 1972 to help the UN. Now they rent the premises to JVC.
Refugees International Japan has provided funding to provide trainees with kits and facilities. The trainee scheme is small with just seven trainee mechanics. All the mechanics are returnees. We visited one trainee at his home because he was off work sick. He had been allocated a plot on a vast open wasteland set aside for returnees. The nearest water point is 5-minutes’ walk away; there are no latrines; and it is dusty and windy. His story was typical of many who are forced to flee their homes. He was separated from his brother when they fled the fighting and lost contact. He has since tried to find information about his brother and believes he is still alive.

Peace Winds Japan
PWJ is doing sectoral activities in Bor and Jonglei – health, education, water/sanitation, boreholes and school construction - with funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Japan (MOFA). Japan Platform organized their first mission and they found that many people asked for assistance in Jonglei.
So far they have completed 18 boreholes, and will do 20 more by end of April 2007. They are 60 meters deep and the water is drinkable. They are near the Nile so the water table is easily accessible. They also provide water/sanitation facilities and latrines. The Dinka, the dominant group in the Jonglei area, are cattle herders and there are continued raids in the area. So it is insecure and PWJ has a problem getting qualified staff because most are still in exile.

Islamic Relief
IR is running a waystation clinic in Yei and managing two camps - one for 429 Ethiopian refugees from Campella in Juba and another for 900 Ethiopian refugees in Pibor. Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) is helping with medical assistance, but movement is limited due to the poor infrastructure. There is a cholera problem in Pibor due to poor latrine facilities. IR is drilling boreholes in Terekeke for the Mondari people – 24 to be drilled.
They plan to build a primary school in the Juba area. The materials have been procured but they need an implementing partner.
IR also works with women in self-help schemes – providing small loans to run projects such as a restaurant.