John Prendergast’s commentary on South Sudan [“Reverse Course on South Sudan,” June 27] rightly draws attention to this country that too often falls outside the media spotlight. We work here in South Sudan, and despite many challenges, plenty can – and is – being done to build this country from the ground up.
When Catholic Relief Services started our project in Jonglei state after South Sudan’s 2011 independence, it was considered one of the most conflict-prone areas in the country. Yet it has remained relatively peaceful during the most recent violence. One reason is that the work of this project has brought people together. Another is the commitment of the local government. Many former enemies now work as one, building not only roads, schools, latrines and other community assets, but also literally building bridges between people who didn’t know each other before. And in the process, they’re building their country.
There are many other examples of such work all across South Sudan, some done by local church structures, others by the United Nations and other international agencies. These are making a real difference. What is needed, in addition to peace and security, is more and continued support for this kind of grassroots work. Our project is funded by the U.S. government.
No nation was built in a day – not even the United States, and given the many challenges facing South Sudan, its difficulties are far from surprising. But we know that the vast majority of the people here, as well as their civil institutions, want to work for peace and stability. Let’s all make sure they get the help they need.
Country Representative, South Sudan
Catholic Relief Services