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‘Are we really part of South Sudan’, Rasol residents ponder

Alfred Taban
In Rasol Boma a lack of basic services leaves residents pondering if they are really part of the Republic of South Sudan.
10.10.2013  |  Yei
Children in front of a school in Yei County, May 2, 2007.
Children in front of a school in Yei County, May 2, 2007.

Rasol Boma is part of Tore Payam in Central Equatoria State’s Yei River County, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo. Residents complain about the lack of basic services and growing challenges in every day life.

County authorities now try to tackle growing challenges through increased coordination with the over 40 NGOs and Civil Society organisations in the county.

Speaking during a forum organised to gather citizen’s perspectives, Prasu Levi, a resident of Rasol Boma, said that South Sudan’s independence has not transformed our community”.  

South Sudan’s independence has not transformed our community.”
Prasu Levi
Most big people, leaders from the government and the organisations, come to assess our challenges, but then they go for good without returning with potential results,” Levi said.

Poyube Marga Hanan, a women representative, pointed out: We are forgotten because there is no clean water source, the schools are closed and health services, especially for the pregnant women, are limited.”
Our business is failing because of the poor road that hinders the movement to Yei town to supply goods that provide some income to get basic necessities,” Hanan added.
The Commissioner of Yei River County Juma David Augustine confirmed during an outreach visit that Rasol Boma has no school among other challenges. We have to quickly rescue the situation. I am especially appealing to the aid agencies in the county, come in so that we all join in answering their [the community’s] call,” the commissioner said.

According to Commissioner Augustine health and education were the main areas of focus of most NGOs, however without tangible impacts and often not even reaching the local communities. Now many organisations operating in the county are involved in water and sanitation (WASH) projects -- why WASH projects”, the Commissioner asks.
Health and education are key basic requirements for every society. We want to see that the people are well and healthy -- health in terms of physical fitness, health in terms of facilities which are accessible and facilities providing the services needed,” Augustine stresses.  

We have to quickly rescue the situation. I am especially appealing to the aid agencies in the county.”
Juma David Augustine
He warned that as the commissioner of the county it is his responsibility to ensure that NGOs deliver the needed services to the community and that he has the constitutional mandate to drive an organisation out of the county, if the organisation does not deliver.

Augustine further stressed that the county authorities will no longer tolerate organisations only focusing on one issue and that the organisation’s interventions must be in line and revised to meet the common man’s needs.

He added that all projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have to directly deal with the local government so that they fund programmes according to the priorities of the local government.

United Methodist Church of South Sudan’s Rev. Fred Dearing said that NGOs mostly follow their country specific programmes, hence it is challenging to meet the demands of the local government.

Mawa George Lazarus, a civil society activist, appreciated the commissioner’s move to ensure organisations are better coordinated. He called on NGOs to take this seriously and to take people’s concerns into consideration before developing a programme.