In 2017, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that 6.01 million (50% of the population) people in South Sudan were severely food insecure in June-July 2017, compared to 5.5 million (45% of the population) people in May 2017. This was said to be the greatest number of people ever to experience severe food insecurity in South Sudan. The food security situation has kept rising and is at the most compromised level since the crisis commenced in 2013. The combination of conflict, economic crisis and lack of adequate levels of agricultural production have eroded vulnerable households’ ability to cope. More than one million children under age 5 are estimated to be acutely malnourished, including more than 273,600 who are severely malnourished (OCHA).
These are not merely statistics and behind these numbers are real people suffering. And calls for solutions. “Whom shall I send?” says the Lord to Isaiah. The Jesuits in Sudan have seen a high need of knowledge transfer, vocational training and agricultural education as a response towards sustainable food security in Sudan. The Jesuits of East Africa are implementing a multi educational and agricultural institute (MAJIS) in Jiir County, Rumbek / Lake State. MAJIS addresses its services to the entire county (Rumbek Centre) with 288 villages and an estimated population of 170.364 people (IOM-Village-Report 2013). Permanent food shortages during the dry season, inadequate water sources, limited health services and insufficient access to education are the main threads of the agro- pastoral communities. The long civil war has socially destabilised the communities which have causes a high rate of insecurity in the area.
The project stated in 2010. The Community of Akol Jal Village contributed approximately 300 acres of savannah land to the project. The educational initiative is supported and highly appreciated by local authorities in the area. In 2013, the Irish Jesuit Mission Office organised €90,700 worth of funding for this project which funded the first phase of building.