Socio-economic Recovery in South Sudan and Uganda

Published on
April 23, 2014

The IS Academy Human Security in Fragile States presents two short films on South Sudan and Uganda: skilfully filmed, each shows us a fragment of reality in these two countries. In South Sudan, we see two businessmen in Juba, and reflect on the importance of the private sector for the development of a stable state. In the north of Uganda, we see how people seek to become food secure, and how Dutch NGO ZOA attempts to support their efforts. Both films highlight people’s own efforts, the need for international assistance, and some of the challenges involved.

Made by Talitha Stam, these films are a product of the IS Academy Human Security in Fragile States, a research project that seeks to nuance the general image of fragile states. While the concept of fragility draws attention to what does not work, our research explicitly focuses on what does work: the strategies of people to make a living, to increase their security, in combination with the activities of international organisations to support them. The films show people trying to make the best of their situation, in a reality that may quickly change, both in the positive sense as well as in the negative sense: fragility offers opportunities as well as challenges.

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The film on South Sudan shows Kamil Kowa and Sabit Asholi, two businessmen in Juba. Increasingly, the private sector, and especially small and medium enterprises, is seen as an important driver of stability. Nevertheless, SMEs are finding it hard to access support mechanisms. Mr Kowa and Mr Asholi give us their views, and Mr Johan de Waard of the Dutch embassy explains his position.

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In northern Uganda, we see two local farmers: one decided to drop out of the ZOA project, while the other decided to stay involved. The food security project was innovative when it started, offering local people vouchers for seeds and tools in exchange for their work on the reconstruction of roads. However, some people were in urgent need of cash and could not spare the labour: local ZOA staff explain how they attempted to adapt the project and the dilemmas involved.