With 150 CHF (138€), you fund 1 month of vocational training to a South Sudanese destitute in Juba!
Context and identified needs
Born in 2011 in a post-conflict situation, the youngest country in the world (and one of the poorest) had just started a process of resilience and reconstruction when an internal conflict broke out at the end of 2013.
The area of intervention of the program is the capital, Juba, and its surroundings. The city has been spared by the fights (except the first few days and in July 2016), but has welcomed tens of thousands of displaced people.
Located South-east of Juba, Lologo is a slum of 5000 people. In 2007, we decided to support there the creation of a Vocational Training and Community Development Center (VTCDC).
The overall objective of the project is to "remove the rifles from the hands to put in trowels or spades", in other words to participate in the pacification of the country and its development.
“Because of the chronic crisis situation, development aid is unfortunately scarce or nonexistent in the country, and the priority, for the donors, is the humanitarian emergency aid. Rather than treating the symptoms, SVDP's initiative to set up a high standard vocational training Centre tackles the sources of evil that led the country to violence: poverty, the lack of opportunities and of basic conditions to face the future with some serenity." *
Indeed, after decades of conflict, many adults today are still deprived of all kinds of capital:
- Financial: impossibility of investing in a tool.
- Land: no subsistence farming; in Juba, many displaced people no longer have access to the land they used to cultivate.
- Human: conflicts have caused victims in all families, everyone has lost a relative; and migrating does not help networking along.
- Intellectual: illiteracy induces a lack of perspective, limits, constraints and continuous impediments in the professional approaches.
- Technical: having never taken any training, these adults find themselves doing the same kind of activities, those that require little skills in an informal economy (production and sale of alcohol for women; taxi-motorcycles for men). The offer of training in state institutes is very limited.
- Time: energy is devoted to tackling emergencies, to surviving; learning a trade and starting an activity require time and is not immediately profitable.
- Cultural: women are limited to their traditional role (housewife, cooking, child care...). The subordination of women is deeply rooted in the patriarchal system and the local customs.
- Confidence: entrepreneurship is less contemplated than assistantship.
Within a few years, in a country with a social body suffering from all kinds of disabilities resulting from decades of civil war, the Lologo VTCDC has become a regional - even national - reference in terms of dynamism and resilience.
"SVDP has proven its ability to identify the needs of the local population, to set up responsive programs, and to organize and manage them with transparency and professionalism." (Extract from the evaluation report >> of the external consultant mandated in 2016 by the City of Geneva)
The Lologo Vocational Training Centre
Built in 2008 and inaugurated in 2009, this center started with three trainings highly needed in a region where everything is to be (re)built: Masonry, Electricity and Carpentry (the latter has been stopped after a few years).
Then in 2012, in order to meet the strong local demand, it was decided to set up three new trainings: Sewing, Computer and Auto-repair.
Since 2015, the Center is also providing an Agricultural training for women, and a Health/Hygiene/First aid training.
In 2020, has started a Welding training.
By the end of 2020, more than 4300 adults have been trained since the opening of the VTCDC. More than 3600 have graduated with a diploma.
With the graduates’ family circle, one can estimate the number of beneficiaries to date at about 18 000 people.
The target group consists of adults (16-40 years old) with an income of less than 1 € per day, especially those living in Juba and its surroundings, i.e. a population estimated at about 160 000 inhabitants. Particular attention is given to the most vulnerable: ex-child soldiers, widows, single mothers, veterans, young people with a sporadic schooling, unemployed, adults who never had any vocational training, prisoners, persons with minor physical or mental disabilities… However, about half of the training places proposed require a minimum of literacy.
The proportion of women graduates increased from 3% in 2011 to nearly 50% since 2015.
The CFPDC responds to a growing demand from the population: more than 800 applicants for the 360 places in the last years.
Training starts in February. The graduation ceremony takes place in December.
To take account of the multicultural environment of this region, the courses are given in both Arabic and English.
Each course includes both a theoretical and a practical part.
The practical work generally takes place in the workshops of the Center. But for three weeks, they take place outside the VTCDC so that trainees get acquainted with their future professional environment.
In 2012 and 2013, SVDP collaborated with the UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) by training 700 adults in addition to the 360 adults of its own program. In 2018 and 2019, SVDP also trained 80 people for the NGO World Vision.
In total, at the end of 2020, nearly 900 graduates received tool kits to help them start a self-employed activity.
Since 2018, about sixty graduates have had access to micro-credit each year.
More than 50% of graduates are financially independent three months after graduation.
“The representative of the Ministry of Labour has also expressed his admiration for the quality of the work provided by SVDP that, according to him, represents "the most important and best vocational training initiative in the country."
He encourages replication of the Center in other states (…)
The Auxiliary Bishop of Juba, Archbishop Santo Laku, is proud of the results achieved by SVDP on the land that his diocese has graciously given to the organization. He confirmed that nothing more useful would have been possible on this large area of 9 hectares…” (extract from the evaluation report >> of the external consultant mandated in 2016 by the City of Geneva)
A Vocational Training… and Community Development Center
Another objective of Lologo VTCDC is to strengthen personal and collective capacities in order to improve social harmony.
All project stakeholders learn to resolve conflicts, to work together, to share goals and to plan a common future.
They participate in various activities within the VTCDC while obeying the principles of respect for pluralism and diversity (sexual, ethnic, religious and cultural) clearly expressed by the local partner since the VTCDC inauguration in 2009.
Conferences, open to all, are organized within the VTCDC, on various topics: promotion of peace, responsible farming, human rights, respect for pluralism and diversity…
On the VTCDC land, have been built:
- a kindergarten and a primary school for more than 1000 children from disadvantaged families;
- a shed where a meal is distributed 3 times a week to 350 children under 5 (including pupils of the school);
- a chapel that became a place of Sunday worship for the local population.
“Excellent relationship and symbiosis between the Lologo Centre and the local population, through community activities, thanks to active participation of the community in decision making, to the support provided to malnourished children, to school education for all, and to vocational training offered in priority to the community (…)
Finally, the two representatives of the Council of Elders I met confirmed in their own words the harmony between the Centre and the local population. They claimed to be regularly consulted in order to share ideas when strategic decisions over the life of the Centre are taken. They are aware of the direct benefits to the community, since their children have priority access to trainings (…)
In most cases, strategic decisions are first taken with the local population and then in consultation with the management team on site” (extract from the evaluation report >> of the external consultant mandated in 2016 by the City of Geneva).