Since the South Sudanese civil war began in 2013, the war-torn country has been on the verge of economic collapse with millions of people facing hunger and poverty. A new women's co-op program will give women the ability to lift their families out of poverty through learning how to farm and cook. Through their collective efforts, the women will bring in additional income and also have time to raise their children in the ways of the Lord.
South Sudan’s civil war has been one of the largest humanitarian crises in the past decade, causing an estimated 400,000 lives lost, displacing more than four million people, and leaving 7.5 million people in need of urgent assistance.
South Sudan is the world’s newest country, one born out of civil war and that transitioned immediately into a civil war between the tribes battling over power in the new government. The country has an extreme poverty rate of 82%, according to the most recent estimates. The economy is in ruins, with a lack of job opportunities causing a deep depression that has turned many individuals to seek out drugs and alcohol to alleviate the suffering.
As a result, many mothers—left behind by their husbands due to war or addiction—have been left to lift their families out of poverty, send their children to school, and create stability at home. Many women like Mary, who lost her husband in the first war and her second husband to addiction, struggle to bring in enough income while still having time to raise her children in a stable household.
To meet some of these needs, Mission ONE partners in South Sudan are starting a co-op for women to learn how to farm and cook, gaining the skills, community, and opportunities to transform their families’ futures.
Under the leadership of our local partner in Juba, who has more than a decade of experience
running a microloan ministry, Mission ONE partners will start a co-op—a collective controlled and run by its voting members—that will empower women to take ownership of their own growth. Through this co-op, a group of South Sudanese women voted around the unified vision to learn how to farm, market their agricultural products, and financially steward those profits to reinvest in their businesses.
The co-op will offer an initial training on how to farm and cook. It will also provide mentorship opportunities to the younger women so that they see themselves as image-bearers, created and loved by a God that desires a deep relationship with them. After the training, the women will be given an opportunity to join the co-op and invest a portion of their income back into the business so other women can go through the program.
While the first year will incur initial startup costs such as purchasing training equipment, vegetable seeds, and marketing the co-op, the goal is for the co-op to become financially self-sufficient and continue to serve the community.
Over time, we hope to see economic gains from these women’s business ventures reach the next generation, lifting their families out of poverty and giving their children the opportunity to go to school. Collectively, the co-op will give the women an ability to market the agricultural crops they grow and sell them in the market.
Finalize a curriculum and select a training instructor by October 2021.
Invite 20 women to participate in the training program by December 2021.
Reach financial viability by December 2022.
Long term, achieve an 85% retention rate of women who join the co-op after completing training, investing enough money to continue as members after one year of operation.
Within two years of starting the program, witness a 25% increase in school attendance by the co-op members’ children.