CARE International Vision 2020 advocates for working with and through alliances to ensure a more efficient allocation and use of national resources for the vulnerable. It also recommended working with governments, the private sector and civil society to generate evidence of successful strategies and to bring them to scale. The ECSA region road map has a pillar called “Transforming How We Engage’ that seeks to transform the way CARE has worked in the region – to allow for more partnerships and collaborations. As a result, CARE’s presence has gradually evolved towards a lighter footprint – examples of countries like Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda and Tanzania, where a considerable amount of intervention is done through partners.
CARE started operations in South Sudan in 1993, in the former states of Unity, Jonglei and Upper Nile. CARE initial interventions were primarily in the health, WASH and livelihoods sectors. The management office was then based in Nairobi, and was run together with the Somalia operations. The office in Juba was opened in 2006 after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2006 that ended the conflict that had prevailed for 21 years – the South Sudan operation was separated from the Somalia one and was run independently from then on. Currently, CARE in South Sudan operates in the former states of Unity, Jonglei and Unity carrying out interventions in Health, Nutrition, Protection and Gender based violence, Food security and Livelihoods and also empowerment of local actors in the spirit of localization of the aid flows.
Even with the external pressures (Drivers of partnerships) mentioned earlier and the internal emphasis on partnership and collaboration, CARE International in South Sudan has not been able to improve its ability to partner as well as build any meaningful collaborations across the various sectors. CARE in South Sudan has had a limited experience of working with partners. In the past three years, CARE has worked with 4 local partners – 3 in the implementation of 2 projects funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign affairs and 1 in a project funded by the DEC UK. In all the 3 projects, the decision to partner was not driven by a strategic need to partner from CARE but by donor requirements at the proposal stage that ‘forced’ the Country office to seek out a partner. The partnerships were at the delivery level, whereby the 4 partners implemented activities and delivered services on our behalf. Three of the partnerships have since ended, with the end of the projects – there has not been any engagements with the said partners since the project ended.
CARE international in South Sudan grants portfolio has not grown substantially in the past 3 years, with the portfolio of donors remaining almost the same over the same period. The geographical scope has also shrunk, with the closure of projects, it means that CARE has to exit an area in case we cannot raise an additional grant to intervene in the same area. In order to continue having an impact in South Sudan, CARE needs to embrace partnerships and collaborations – not just with the international and national NGOs but also with educational institutions – both local and international, corporates operating in and out of South Sudan and also bilateral and multilateral donors.What needs to be done
The biggest challenges that face the world are not going to be solved by one organization or one group of people in just one country. They will be overcome by an interdisciplinary group of people working across industries, countries, and cultures. The humanitarian needs will not decrease – on the contrary, we should expect them to increase. The amount of resources towards addressing these needs – we should expect this to shrink with every passing year, just as it has done for the last 3 years. Donors are requiring a greater value for money with a shrinking pot, with greater impact. CARE International has been in South Sudan for 25 years now, for it to continue being of value and relevant to the people of South Sudan, we need to re-think how we operate, with the need to partner and collaborate being primary to our thinking.
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