2019 News

Empowering a Resource Rich Community

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

While the vast majority of South Sudan’s population know the difficulty of living with low income, the country is rich in natural resources and has an abundance of fertile land. Chelkou Church of Christ in South Sudan is planted amongst some of the most established mahogany forests in the country. With your support, the Chelkou community is being trained to use this resource to improve their income and the education of future generations.

With minimal funding for education in South Sudan, only one in four schools in the country has a functioning building. The Chelkou community worked hard to save for and build the brick work for a secondary school building, but lacked the funds to complete the roof, windows and doors. This left the county with no secondary school and no local education for its young people. Children who couldn’t afford to travel (mostly girls) missed out on high school completely.

During a visit from Global Mission Partners (GMP) in 2017, Chelkou community leaders requested financial support to finish the school. Instead of providing funds to see one positive outcome, GMP worked together with the community to reach a longer-term solution that would improve income and therefore the community’s ability to complete the school and support the community further into the future.

During discussions about how to improve income within the community, the local timber assets were raised. A small timber mill would not only enable them to fell timber, but to mill it, increasing value and productivity significantly. 

Cutting down trees, of course, requires planting new ones to be a sustainable long-term solution. Churches of Christ Overseas Aid (COCOA) is supporting a forestry-training program alongside the provision of the mill. Participants will plant 15 trees for every one that they cut down. They know there are lots of things that can go wrong for a sapling so they are making sure that they provide a future for coming generations. Participants in this program are also pledging a percentage of their increased income to community projects. In this way the school will be completed and further community projects can be supported into the future. 

While this solution will take longer than simply sending money for a roof, your support of COCOA and this program means that the community can not only complete the school, but will have the resources and vision to use their assets to improve the overall outlook of the community for generations to come.

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