By Julius N. Uma
December 6, 2010 (JUBA) – The Southern Sudan Health, Nutrition and Empowerment (SSHiNE) program has received a $50 million donation, from United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The three-year program, which targets children under five years and household women, will mainly be implemented in the three Southern Sudan states of Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile.
SHiNE’s s strategic objectives, according to Idrissa Kamara, the program’s chief of staff are to reduce malnutrition in children under five, decrease prevalence of illnesses, especially childhood diseases and enhance women empowerment within households and communities.
While officially opening the 10-day workshop being held in Juba, the South Sudan capital Monday, Samson Paul Baba, Director General for Planning and Coordination in the Health Ministry lauded the newly initiated SHiNE project, describing it as a vital initiative towards improving child nutrition needs and women empowerment in the semi-autonomous region.
“Nowadays, when you address the essential needs of children and empower women, you are directly empowering the society and its inhabitants. This program should involve the active involvement of all stakeholder and partners,” Baba said.
He advised the program implementers to focus on the importance of education, provision of food security needs and train beneficiaries to gain skills that will help the region fight the dependency syndrome problem.
On his part, however, William Hammink, USAID’s Mission Director said child malnutrition remains a serious problem in Southern Sudan, adding that the three-year program will focus on preventive approaches that will address multi-sectoral aspects of nutrition.
SHiNE is a consortium composed of four international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), namely; Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) as lead agency, Food for the Hungry, Malaria Consortium, Concern World Wide and the Johns Hopkins and Loma Linda universities.
As part of the program’s strategic objectives, the implementers will also focus on promoting training and training mothers on health, nutrition and hygiene topics. Other areas include preventing malnutrition in children below the age of 2 (PM2A) ration distributions, home treatment of malaria, diarrhoea, among others.
Local NGOs including Africa Mission Assistance (AMA), Nile Hope Development Forum (NHDF) and Aweil Community Development Organization (ACDO) will carry out task such as food distribution, hygiene promotion and women empowerment aspects, in Warrap, Upper Nile and Northern Bahr El Ghazal states respectively.
A total of $55,759,581 has been earmarked as the life of funding activity for the three-year program, expected to be raised from ADRA and its partner’s contribution, USAID Sudan mission and food for peace projects.