With a worsening economic situation characterized by diminishing currency value, a hyperinflation, sharp increase in prices that continues to limit access to foodstuff and other much needed basic items in the markets, the situation remains dire for many people in Juba and other parts of South Sudan.
Due to adverse effects of the inflationary spirals, populations are struggling to make ends meet, with disturbingly low levels of food security.
It is in this regard that Smile Again Africa Development Organization-SAADO came up with the Women Economic Empowerment program, targeting women and girls as a vulnerable group. The program aims at increasing access to livelihoods and economic empowerment by providing entrepreneurship training and start-up capital for small-scale businesswomen in Juba, Central Equatoria state with support from the French Embassy.
The program is a pilot project, and currently, 120 households have benefitted since mid December 2016 within Juba. Beneficiaries have started small-scale businesses to enable them to sustain their families and meet other basic domestic needs such as affording food and paying school fees for the their children.
To be part of the program, individuals were selected based on the International Labor Organization Save and Improve Your Business model. To be eligible for the program, one had to be women below the age of 50 years, owning a small existing business with turnovers of less than 5000 South Sudanese Pounds per month. Whereas, the girls had to be either literate or semi literate so as to understand the model that was being implemented.
Twenty women and girls were selected from different localities around Juba. They first underwent rigorous training facilitated by ILO experts on how to start manage and sustain small-scale businesses, and each was later given start-up capital to establish a small-scale business. Each of them also received an energy saving charcoal stove to boost their businesses.
SAADO aims at reaching at least 70% of women in South Sudan with the program by providing them with the necessary skills to secure a sustainable livelihood under the Food Security and Livelihood plan.