Message from Director of Programs:
Seeds that plants hope in the hearts of many:
In a land scarred by conflict, many South Sudanese farmers see something unexpected, opportunity. In a period of 5 years of conflict, reminders of South Sudan war and conflict are inescapable as you drive the country’s capital city Juba. Yet if you can manage to look past Konyokonyo, Jebel, Gudelle and Munuki Markets, you can begin to seeing something familiar—small market stands dotting the horizon inside the markets, punctuated by the occasional watermelon, cabbages, tomatoes, onions, kale, fresh green maize, traditional vegetables among others, stand sitting quietly by the side as you make the ways to the market sites from the hardworking women from and within and the outskirts of Juba.
While some parts of the Country are still experiencing insecurity, many areas of the country aren’t in conflict but not productive due to the populations still in the refugee camps and IDPs Camps. And so on a small scale production within and the outskirts of the City, there exist farming activities commercially, of eggplant, including the afore-mentioned ones. There is light in their eyes and a lifetime of experience at their back. “They have known farming better than they used to know due to present knowledge and skills of doing such impacted by organizations among them Pilgrims of Hope (POH).
After years of loss, optimism can be in short supply in South Sudan if only good planning and response around building resilience can be programmed as scenes like this instill hope. They give a glimpse at the possibility that still exists within South Sudanese’s farmers—and what it looks like when they are able to achieve it through such new avenues.
From Pilgrims of Hope perspective, food insecurity and un-attended malnutrition cause poor physical and cognitive development, increase vulnerability to disease, limit productivity over a lifetime, and impede economic development. By increasing the resilience of food security to progressively complex influences (e.g., conflict, climate change, price volatility), in our programming, we target to strengthen the foundation of well-being upon which vulnerable populations and communities especially smallholder farmers, can build secure, productive and just communities.
The Sustainable Development Goals challenge countries, by 2030, to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition, promote sustainable agriculture, and achieve food security among other ambitious objectives. Today, the 72 developing countries that have achieved the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving hunger within their borders have done so in large part by sustaining economic growth, particularly driven by pro-poor development of the agriculture sector, while providing reliable government-supported services and safety nets. And so, active and productive networks quickly work better if resources can be directed to such good programming.
This is good and encouraging efforts and so, such an approach should be scaled up in places experiencing inclusive economic growth alongside strong government commitments and good and attractive agriculture budget allocation to reducing hunger and improving nutrition. Our programming here focuses on holistic impact, going beyond improving access to food as we work to translate increased incomes to improved diets, ensuring individual behaviors that promote good health, while promoting peaceful, well-governed communities that provide an environment conducive to positive change in FSL activities.
However, in the places POH focuses, these conditions are seen absent. Where we encounter food insecurity, communities are not resilient to the myriad constraints, shocks, and stresses that undercut their wellbeing. And so to successfully increase food security in these contexts, Pilgrims of Hope has developed a distinctive approach—that incorporates best practices and resilience thinking, integrated by gender- fronting Women and Youths—that can be applied in a range of contexts and addresses the root causes of these challenges. And remember, Change is imminent, you can be the change and hope for many: