South Sudan has been described as the most fragile country in the world. Decades of struggle to separate from the rest of Sudan resulted in two million deaths and left the newly independent nation with a shattered infrastructure. 

The 2011 break from Sudan only brought a temporary respite to the violence that has beset this nation – within three years, conflict between the dominant Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups erupted and sent a million people fleeing for safety. Afraid to return home, subsistence farmers taking sanctuary in squalid camps missed the sowing season and the world’s newest country is now on the brink of a widespread famine. 

Sudanese child eating a PlumSup bar.

Even before the most recent outbreak of fighting, South Sudan faced immense challenges. Decades of civil war and oppression have left vast regions of the country insecure and impoverished, with many complex and inter-related difficulties. These include lack of clean water, an inability to grow sufficient food or feed animals without constant movement and insufficient income to access basic healthcare and education. Weapons left over from the fighting have also fuelled the traditional practice of cattle rustling between neighbouring communities, creating a perpetual environment of fear and mistrust which undermines the basic structures needed to build a functioning society. 

Expanding our infrastructure to meet the growing demand from partners 

With the future of South Sudan at a critical stage, the demand for MAF’s services is far outstripping the programme’s operational capacity. Up to 60% of requests from partner organisations are currently being turned down, impacting their ability to support the physical and spiritual needs of hundreds of thousands of people. Presently, MAF’s two Cessna aircraft based in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, operate at their limit and the scope to bring in further flight capacity from neighbouring programmes in Kenya and Uganda is also exhausted.

To meet the current transport demand from development workers, medical teams and mission staff, in the next four years the South Sudan programme is planning to expand to one of the largest in the MAF Africa region, to a fleet of five aircraft flown by nine pilots. With only two locally-based pilots at present, this creates an urgent need for housing.

“MAF enables us to access remote communities we would otherwise find it impossible to reach safely and effectively. Vaccines can’t be transported by boat as they would be ruined before they arrived. MAF really is a lifeline to these communities and to the CMA staff.”

Peter Muiruri, Emergency Preparedness Officer, Christian Mission Aid

 

The current MAF compound in South Sudan’s capital has limited space and all current houses was full by the end of 2014. As the expansion of MAF’s services continue and more staff are recruited, six new homes will be needed in the next two years.

The total cost of the new development will be £1,610,000 (including permits and a construction manager’s salary) and will be split over five phases. Funds for the lease purchase of the land have already been secured and the process of acquiring the plot has commenced. We are now seeking to raise the £688,000 which will be required for us to commence work on the first four duplex homes.

Please contact us at fundraising@maf-uk.org or alternatively, telephone us on 01303 851948 for more information on how you can partner with us on this essential project.