Enabling communication

Enabling communication

Sometimes all the passenger seats are taken out of our Caravan aeroplanes. As was the case with a chartered flight for Tearfund in South Sudan.

On a chartered flight for Tearfund, MAF South Sudan’s dispatch team loaded a generator, a satellite dish and sacks of building material.

Story and photos by Thorkild Jørgensen.

MAF South Sudan Dispatch Team and a generator for Tearfund

They were then transported, by pilot Chris Ball, from Juba to Pieri, Uror County, South Sudan where Tearfund runs an integrated response to life-threatening malnutrition of children with Nutrition/WASH/Food components.

Four people from Tearfund joined the cargo flight. Their purpose was to install internet in order to enable Tearfund teams on the ground to communicate with teams in Juba, and elsewhere in the country, by sharing reports and other important projects or security related information.

Security is important for many of our partners who work in South Sudan. In trying to save lives, they risk of their own lives. Last year Tearfund had a base in Motot, Uror county (same county as Pieri), that was looted and temporarily closed. Since then, every effort to re-establish it was met with news of growing insecurity, and the plan kept on being postponed. Therefore, Tearfund took a decision to establish small bases in the county, that could be used temporarily until the Motot base and its surrounding area are considered to be safe again.

MAF South Sudan Dispatch Team and a satellite dish for Tearfund

Without Internet, Tearfund’s efficiency in running the programme is compromised, as there is no other way of receiving and sending information to and from the field.

The nutrition programme, supported by UNICEF, World Food Programme and Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, require weekly reports on children admitted and treated, and of supplies distributed. That can only be facilitated by a reliable internet source, since there is no telephone network in Uror, and sharing the information over a satellite phone was found to be an inefficient way of doing business.