Triumphs and Trials: Dan’s report

Godly Governance training at the university

Godly Governance training at the university

The final week in South Sudan we conducted the big “Godly Governance and Administration Training”. This training is designed to teach over 70 principles related to government policy and societal values which are necessary to encourage development.  The first day of training there was more than 40 participants.  The second day of the training started with only 4 people but within ½ hr the room was full once again.  Michael Maker, our extension specialist, had diligently called the 40+ students who came to the first day of training to confirm we had their name correctly and to make sure that they understood that if they came the second day they would receive a certificate.

The students placed a mark by their name if they were interested in me following up with them concerning small groups to further their involvement in Godly Governance and Administration. Please pray with us as these small groups begin to form. These could be the future leaders of this new country.

Here are the comments from the attendees’ evaluation forms:
“It will be encourage and improving the economic plans in the country and could be recognize as amicable solution.  It was very understanding to the people of the country or nation at large.”  Gov. Administrator 
 
“It is interesting that God plus government = Good Nation” Gov. Administrator 
 
“[Should] bring in higher authority to participate in this training. Training was given to junior groups in government who can not change the system now until they come up later.”  Gov. Administrator 
 
“The training is so good and well conducted by the trainer.  Even there was strong dialogue with the trainers and the trainer.” John Garang University student 
 
“I expect the training to be carried out for the whole South Sudan to help our government to improve the system.  I thank you very much for introducing this kind of training in Jonglei State and I am encouraging you to do it in the South Sudan at large.” Gov. Administrator 
 
“As youths of South Sudan we should work hard to increase capacity in production and also improve on educational skill for future development of our country.” John Garang University student 2015
 
“It’s actually very excellent presentation and I hope you can keep up to training other people.” Gov. Administrator 
 
“Thanks to almighty creator God for [this] training.” Gov. Administrator 
 
“This workshop training is very crucial to carried to all top managers at national level especially legislative assembly of all the states.” Gov. Administrator 
Agricultural Stewardship class

Agricultural Stewardship class

During my time in South Sudan, we also conducted some training for small farmers. We had a great Effective Stewardship class with about 60 women farmers from Malek and formed a good relationship with Gabriel, a pastor at the local church. This training is designed to help people see the need to invest in high value crops and save part of the income as money to reinvest and to allow them to support their own local ministries.

In my attempt to report on the activities, I should also comment on the barriers and disappointments we encountered and ask that you pray for us as we work through these struggles.  With every success there are many dead ends, rabbit trails, and disappointments. Much of this is rooted in the learned culture of dependency based on generations of aid: drops of food, hand outs of farm implements, and payment of sitting fees for workshops. A great deal of effort is then placed on reeducating people away from this dependency and causing them to take pride in the process of developing themselves.

Youth Mamma visit

Youth Mamma visit

Michael and I met with the Youth Mama group. They started the meeting with a list of things they need.  Michael was, in my opinion, a hero as he told them that “the time for relief is over” and they need to focus on developing the resources they had already been given. I watched their expressions change and even though what he said was in Dinka, I knew the gist of it just from how their expressions changed to disappointment that we weren’t there to just give them free stuff.

We also met with the Ministry of Youth and the head Minister met with us and endorsed the project which proposed setting up a drip irrigation program.  We had to reschedule because the youth did not show up and then the second time no one showed either.  I will keep communicating with them but there is a lot of work to be done to overcome the perception that agriculture is a backwards, undesirable career. They do not conceive of “Agribusiness” and a larger scale farm or a smaller scale one with high value crops.

I don’t want to leave this report without mentioning the excellent opportunities we had to visit with people on their farm plots and do small group and one on one consulting. We asked each farmer what her struggles were and tried our best to offer solutions that would help her be successful. Here are some photos from out farm visits.
Farm visit along the Nile

Farm visit along the Nile

 

Farm Visit

Farm Visit