Human Development Index
181 (out of 188 countries ranked)
People Helped in 2019: 508,987
People Reached by Nutrition and Health Programs
People Reached by Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programs
People Reached by Food Security and Livelihoods Programs
In July 2011, South Sudan achieved independence from the Republic of Sudan and became the world’s newest country. It has vast oil reserves, and comprises one of the richest agricultural areas in Africa, despite having struggled for more than two decades with war and extreme poverty. Although its independence was celebrated around the world with great hope, South Sudan is desperately underdeveloped, with very little basic infrastructure for education, health systems, safe water, functioning markets, or paved roads. About 80 percent of the population live in rural areas and rely on livestock and subsistence farming to survive.
Today, 7.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and nearly half of the country’s population – an estimated 5.5 million people – are expected to face severe food insecurity in 2020. Climate shocks, conflict, poor living conditions and public services, limited access to humanitarian aid and safe water, and inadequate hygiene practices are all key drivers of undernutrition.
Severe flooding in 2019 impacted livelihoods: reports indicate that 74,157 hectares of cultivated land was damaged and 72,611 metric tons grain were lost. The effects will be felt in 2020: large parts of the population are expected to face greater food deficits during upcoming lean seasons.
Action Against Hunger's team in South Sudan delivers community-based programs to treat and prevent malnutrition and to address malnutrition’s underlying causes, including poor water, sanitation, and hygiene and food insecurity. We are an active member of the Strategic Advisory Group for the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster, playing a fundamental role in developing policies and protocols to provide WASH services and behavioral change and pioneer the integration of WASH and nutrition interventions.
Last year, Action Against Hunger's team in South Sudan launched a new research project to assess the incidence and risk factors for relapse after children’s recovery from severe acute malnutrition. Our emergency program added two new response teams, now six, and conducted seven SMART surveys to better understand malnutrition across the country. We also established a new Stabilization Center in the hard-to-reach area of Paguir, providing treatment to severely malnourished children, in addition to treating common illnesses in the community and providing prenatal care.
Our teams provided agricultural support to 7,215 farming families and constructed dykes to protect flood-prone areas of Aweil East. We built 71 kilometers of community access roads, linking people to schools, health centers, and markets. We rehabilitated 68 water points and constructed four new ones and built 22 latrines at nutrition centers and 4,079 in homes. Our teams distributed 11,572 dignity kits – including water, sanitation, and hygiene supplies as well as menstrual hygiene supplies – to families of severely malnourished children and to pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
This year, I interacted with and witnessed the needs of the most vulnerable communities in South Sudan. It isn’t easy to be a humanitarian worker. But to me, it is a privilege. Many people have nowhere to turn, if not to humanitarian aid. Their expectations—and the sense of responsibility we feel—are huge.”
—Victor Mallelah, Action Against Hunger Emergency Nutrition Survey Program Manager, South Sudan