Partner: Reach Out Ministries (ROM)
Location: Juba, South Sudan
A co-op program will give women in Juba the ability to lift their families out of poverty by teaching them how to farm and cook.
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 war which then 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 caused many individuals to seek out drugs and alcohol to alleviate the suffering.
THE PROBLEM AND THE SOLUTION
Due to these circumstances, 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 first husband in the war and her second to addiction, struggle to bring in enough income while still having time to raise their children in a stable household.
A co-op in South Sudan will provide a safe space for women to learn how to farm and cook, which will allow them to gain the skills, community, and opportunities they need to transform their lives as well as their families' futures.
Under the leadership of our local partner in Juba who has more than a decade of experience running a microloan ministry, a co-op will be created to empower women to take ownership of their own growth. This co-op will serve as a collective that is controlled and run by its own voting members. With a unified vision for this project, a group of South Sudanese women voted to learn how to farm, market their agricultural products, and financially steward those profits to reinvest in their businesses.
The co-op will offer initial training on how to farm and cook. It will also provide mentorship opportunities for the women so that they will be encouraged in their God-given identities, ultimately helping them understand that they are created and loved by a God that desires a deep relationship with them. After the training, the women will be given the 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 this program to become financially self-sufficient as it continues to serve the community.
Collectively, the co-op will give the women an ability to market the agricultural crops they grow and sell them in the market. Over time, we hope to see the 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.
Finalize a curriculum, select a training instructor, and invite 20 women to participate in the training program by next year.
Reach financial viability after the first year of opening the program.
Achieve an 85% retention rate of women who join the co-op after completing training.
Within two years of starting the program, witness a 25% increase in school attendance by the co-op members’ children.