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254 2 604565

No. of Headquarters staff 5
Fax 254 2 605 952 No. of Field Staff 25
Formed 1993 Budget US$ 893,919


by Fiona O'Reilly

SUPRAID implementing an ox plough programme in Twic County

I arrived at the modern SUPRAID offices at Airport View, Nairobi to be greeted by the Chief administrator: Acuil Malith Banggol, a 6 foot 9 Twic Dinka who is impressive not only in stature. Acuil, good humored and energetic, established SUPRAID in 1993 in order to empower the disadvantaged in agricultural technology. Having graduated from Alexander University in animal husbandry, he worked as part of the SRRA before branching out into the NGO world. Links with the SRRA remain strong and SUPRAID utilises SRRA personnel on the ground to implement many of its projects.

Acuil is philosophical about Sudan, its needs and SUPRAID's enabling role. He explains that the southern Sudanese are 'disadvantaged' rather than poor and illustrates this with the image and juxtaposition of a malnourished man sitting on a wealth of resources. He explains that 'advantage' will only come with peace, infrastructure and capacity to utilise available resources to improve farming productivity. Acuil asserts that relief is not the answer to southern Sudan's plight and recalls two specific incidences that prompted him to place so much emphasis on the transfer of agricultural technology. The first was a relief assessment, which resulted in a poor farmer getting the wrong seed: Sudan grass instead of sorghum. The second, a comment from his nephew when asked by Acuil while flying with him to Nairobi, whether he would like to be a pilot when he is older. The boy replied that he didn't want to do anything when he is older. When Acuil pressed him on this issue by asking him how he expected to feed himself and his family, he was discouraged to hear the boy say that there would be no cause to worry as the UN would supply the necessary food.

Prominent amongst SUPRAID's activities is agricultural technical training. Contact farmers are trained and successes then demonstrated to the rest of the community through the example of good results and experiences. SUPRAID is also involved in improving water and sanitation by; installing and maintaining hygienic drainage around water pumps, encouraging the proper use of water facilities, and empowering communities to take responsibility for their water sources. Plans are under way to involve women in training to repair pumps and to 'say no' to those who misuse the pumps. The community is also educated about water borne diseases and the use of simple techniques like filter cloths. In the future SUPRAID want to include hand drilling as part of the water and sanitation activities. The plan is to bring Vondor rigs (manual rigs) from Zimbabwe and to install them with the help of the community. Education is the other major activity in which SUPRAID is involved. As Acuil puts it 'conflict can destroy material inputs but raiders can not take away abcs'. SUPRAID, in collaboration with the SRRA and the UN Dept for Education, are providing teacher training in a number of counties.

Though SUPRAID is more of a 'development agency' the events of 1998 demanded relief interventions. SUPRAID therefore responded by establishing feeding programmes in two payams in Twic County and were supported in this new endeavor by Christian Aid, DFID and UNICEF who helped establish the required technical proficiency within the agency. Two international consultants worked along side SUPRAID. Acuil describes the experience as very positive and a success in terms of capacity building within the orgainsation.

SUPRAID Chief Administrator Acuil Malith Banggol

I asked Acuil about one aspect of relief intervention which is currently emerging as a key issue in southern Sudan, - targeting of emergency food aid. Acuil felt that firstly there was an over-focus on food aid. He gave anecdotes of assessment missions he had gone on with donors and international agencies where his understanding of local dialects allowed him to observe how people within communities, and even those translating for assessment teams, often express need in terms of what respondents believe a particular donor or agency can supply, (there is no point asking a car dealer for a camel). In this way actual needs, which are multi-sectoral may be overlooked and the universal response - food - is applied. Second, food aid should be targeted through the use of community social structures rather than parallel decision-making bodies established from outside. While community structures involving chiefs, sub chiefs, ghols, and household heads, may not be fool proof in terms of ensuring equity, these systems and structures are known by the community and have mechanisms for appeal if community members feel unfairly treated. Acuil kept coming back to the overall importance of training and capacity building for the people of south Sudan. After all, when the security situation worsens, and international NGOs evacuate, it is the indigenous organisations that must provide services for their people. Furthermore, he is confident that peace will eventually come, and that when it does, the management skills should be present to create the capacity to utilise the abundant natural resources of southern Sudan. Donors, he feels, should therefore give greater emphasis to capacity building within the southern Sudanese administration.

One last element of SUPRAID's work is the promotion of peace and reconciliation through advocacy and other initiatives. Recently one such initiative brought together Nuer local leaders with spiritual leaders as a precursor to a gathering between the Bul Nuer and Dinka Twic who have been at war with one another for a number of years. The ears were cut from a ram to signify ' A Non aggression pact' to be ratified in the gathering between the two communities the following month. As part of this initiative, SUPRAID distributed 2500 relief kits to Nuer households and 2500 to Dinka households.

SUPRAID is linking its deliveries to Neur and Dinka with efforts to promotea peaceful coexistence. Support in the form of farming and fishing inputs shelter material and veterinary services are provided to help resume normallivelihoods. SUPRAID require donor support for peace activities and are committed to supporting communities as long as "they work hard for local peace" explains Acuil. Communities are encouraged to resort to their traditional conflict resolution methods to ensure that common grounds, fishing zones and farming land plus cross border movement are protected and allowed.

SUPRAID also advocate for good governance and justice plus empowerment of the local community. Acuil describes this kind of activity as an obligation rather than a programme.

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Reference this page

Fiona O’Reilly (). SUPRAID. Field Exchange 6, February 1999. p23.



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