South Sudan: After 10 Years of Independence, Greater Efforts Needed to Address Hunger

As South Sudan marks 10 years of independence on July 9, Action Against Hunger, a leading humanitarian and development organization in the country, calls for increased global funding and action to confront the country’s malnutrition crisis. Approximately 7.2 million people, or 60% of the population, struggle to find enough food each day.

In order to reach 6.6 million people in need of urgent assistance in 2021, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners, including Action Against Hunger, require $1.68 billion to provide sufficient lifesaving services. Currently, less than 30% of this funding has been secured – and this massive funding gap could result in countless lives lost and futures cut short. 

In a statement, Sulaiman Ken Sesay, Action Against Hunger’s Country Director in South Sudan said:

“Hunger and malnutrition are soaring in South Sudan, as funding dwindles. Our teams are doing everything they can to help struggling families, but we cannot meet growing needs alone. All stakeholders and citizens must prioritize building local resilience and investments in food security.

Families have the right to a peaceful environment to grow up in, clean water to drink, and enough nutritious food to eat. But, too many times, we have had to revive severely malnourished children because they have gone hungry for too long. Sometimes, the children arrive too late for our help – and each time represents a preventable tragedy. No child should die of hunger.

It is therefore our collective and individual responsibility to ensure that every family has access to enough nutritious foods to maintain a healthy diet. This is only possible if communities are at peace.

Over the next five years, Action Against Hunger will expand our expertise to address recurring cases of malnutrition and food insecurity by working closely with partners to combat the root causes of hunger and amplify community efforts.”

Action Against Hunger in South Sudan

Over the last 25 years, Action Against Hunger has worked to save children’s lives from malnutrition in South Sudan, focused on areas of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warap and Jonglei States. Our teams deliver community-based programs to treat and prevent malnutrition and to address malnutrition’s underlying causes, including limited access to water, sanitation, and hygiene and food insecurity. 

Currently, we maintain permanent bases in Warap, Northern Bahr el ghazal and Jonglei. Additionally, our emergency response team operates from temporary field bases in the Greater Tonj area (Warap State), Kasingor (Pibor Administrative area) and Akobo (Jonglei State).

Between 2016 and 2020, our teams reached more than two million people (more than 63% of whom are women and girls) with integrated nutrition services, thanks to the support from the donor community. Our work includes management of malnutrition cases at stabilization centers and outreach posts, training of caregivers, and integration of water, sanitation, hygiene, food security and livelihoods programs. We also provided agricultural support to more than 284,000 people.

Right now, Action Against Hunger is working to improve access to water, sanitation, and hygiene and provide psychosocial support in the Greater Tonj area, where a wave of local conflicts has displaced communities. Our versatile emergency response teams have served more than 279,000 people over the last five years with support from USAID through the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, offering integrated health, mental health, water, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, food security, and livelihood services.

Action Against Hunger is leading a global movement to end hunger in our lifetimes. It innovates solutions, advocate for change, and reach 25 million people every year with proven hunger prevention and treatment programs. As a nonprofit that works across 50 countries, its 8,300 dedicated staff members partner with communities to address the root causes of hunger, including climate change, conflict, inequity, and emergencies. It strives to create a world free from hunger, for everyone, for good.