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South Sudanese refugees returning home get much needed food relief

April 12, 2021

By Janice Biehn

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Since 2013, civil conflict and violence have forced thousands of South Sudanese to flee their homes. Recently, some have been able to return home, but with little resources to feed their families or earn any income. Partnering with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, PWRDF aims to accompany refugees and host communities as they return home by providing necessary food relief and livelihood support.

The project is part of a $10-million grant from the Canadian government to the Foodgrains Bank, who will work with its members to address the impact of COVID-19 on food security in vulnerable populations in six sub-Saharan African countries: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan and Zimbabwe. Within this grant, PWRDF has been allocated $717,000 and will work with Finn Church Aid South Sudan as its partner on the ground.

FCA is an experienced and trusted partner holistically implementing food and livelihood assistance, education, and peacebuilding interventions in South Sudan since 2010. In 2014, FCA implemented a PWRDF food for work project that supported over 10,000 internally displaced people in Mundry county of South Sudan.

“We are looking forward to working with FCA on this very necessary response,” says Naba Gurung, PWRDF’s Humanitarian Response Coordinator. “The populations in this area are extremely stressed and vulnerable.”

The work will take place in Yei county in Central Equatoria just south of the capital of Juba, and just north of the confluence of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where so many South Sudanese have fled. The project aims to to reduce hunger, improve nutrition and contribute to resilience for people affected by conflict and COVID-19. Over the next 18 months, 2,800 households will be supported in learning resilient livelihood strategies that they will be able to sustain beyond the life of this response.

Project highlights:

  • 600 returnee households will be given cash, vegetable seeds, and tools, including necessary training and technical skills.
  • 70% of the beneficiaries will be women. With the cash (given without conditions) they will be able to buy nutritious food from local markets. They will also have access to vegetable seeds, tools and technical training to grow vegetables year-round, including during the dry seasons.
  • 2,600 households (made up of the 600 returnee households who received food assistance, and 2,000 host community households) will receive crop seeds, agricultural tools, training and technical support, and will be grouped and supported by lead farmers.
  • 400 lead farmers will be trained, and they will reach out to their cluster members along with the community mobilizers and extension workers. This will be done in close partnership with the county agricultural office with whom FCA has an excellent ongoing relationship
  • 200 small-scale entrepreneurs, including young women and men from both the returnee and host communities, will participate in a three-month training session to support them as they re-establish their local businesses. These include tailoring, hairdressing, catering and carpentry for youth. After the training, participants will receive tools, materials and mentorship.

Women will lead and be part of advisory committees that will play key role in design, implementation and monitoring. The committees will introduce and promote Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, gender equality, COVID-19 safety protocols and prevention of sexual and gender-based violence.

How you can help

You can support food relief in South Sudan by donating at and choose Emergency Response, then indicate South Sudan in the notes section. Youc can also call Donor Relations Officer Mike Ziemerink at 416-822-9083, leave a voicemail toll free at 1-866-308-7973 or send a cheque with a memo “South Sudan Food Relief” to 80 Hayden St. Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 3G2.

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For media requests please contact Communications Coordinator Janice Biehn at (416) 924-9199;366.

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