Conflict in South Sudan Creates Difficulties for Kissito

Kissito’s operations in East Africa have been a success, saving many lives in Somalia, Uganda, and Ethiopia. However, it has been extremely difficult to engage services in South Sudan due to the ongoing conflicts. Tribal disputes and raids constantly threaten the lives of many innocent families, and there is continuous tension with the neighboring (recently divided) north state. Shortly after arrival to begin operations in Pibor, Kissito was forced to evacuate.  Staff is still waiting for tensions to wind down peacefully enough return to the region.

Kissito’s project was accepted into the consolidated appeal of the United Nations Office of Coordinated Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) to provide lifesaving emergency nutrition services and local healthcare capacity strengthening for malnourished mothers and children in the state Jonglei of South Sudan.

The project is being funded jointly by UNOCHA and Plan International. In collaboration with Plan International, KHI initiatives include:

  • Performing rapid assessmentsSouth Sudan Juba Office
  • Establishing stabilization centers for mothers and children
  • Establishing outpatient therapeutic programs
  • Providing supplementary feeding programs
  • Providing community outreach and education
  • Building capacity of local health workers
  • Improving health management information systems
  • Coordinating with local partners and government health services

In the meantime, Kissito is working hard to develop some kind of model that will harness community peace. A successful model will be easily duplicated in multiple locations. UGANDA ONE  is a pilot program being implemented in Uganda that incorporates health, the environment, and community needs in parallel with Kissito’s mission: “The betterment and care of human life.”  As of now, a local church in Yei has donated 1 square mile of land for Kissito’s use. This land can be used to cultivate biomass for alternate energy production. 1 square mile is not enough to support an entire nation, but 1 square mile CAN be the beginning of a movement toward peaceful communities all over the region.

Bill Gates’ annual letter on improving farming globally to end world hunger

Throughout my careers in software and philanthropy—and in each of my annual letters—a recurring theme has been that innovation is the key to improving the world. When innovators work on urgent problems and deliver solutions to people in need, the results can be magical.

Right now, just over 1 billion people—about 15 percent of the people in the world—live in extreme poverty. On most days, they worry about whether their family will have enough food to eat. There is irony in this, since most of them live and work on farms. The problem is that their farms, which tend to be just a couple acres in size, don’t produce enough food for a family to live on.

Fifteen percent of the world in extreme poverty actually represents a big improvement. Fifty years ago, about 40 percent of the global population was poor. Then, in the 1960s and 1970s, in what is called the “Green Revolution,” Norman Borlaug and other researchers created new seed varieties for rice, wheat, and maize (corn) that helped many farmers vastly improve their yields. In some places, like East Asia, food intake went up by as much as 50 percent. Globally, the price of wheat dropped by two-thirds. These changes saved countless lives and helped nations develop.

We have the ability to accelerate this historic progress. We can be more innovative about delivering solutions that already exist to the farmers who need them. Knowledge about managing soil and tools like drip irrigation can help poor farmers grow more food today. We can also discover new approaches and create new tools to fundamentally transform farmers’ lives. But we won’t advance if we don’t continue to fund agricultural innovation, and I am very worried about where those funds will come from in the current economic and political climate.

The world faces a clear choice. If we invest relatively modest amounts, many more poor farmers will be able to feed their families. If we don’t, one in seven people will continue living needlessly on the edge of starvation. My annual letter this year is an argument for making the choice to keep on helping extremely poor people build self-sufficiency.

My concern is not only about farming; it applies to all the areas of global development and global health in which we work. Using the latest tools—seeds, vaccines, AIDS drugs, and contraceptives, for example—we have made impressive progress. However, if we don’t make these success stories widely known, we won’t generate the funding commitments needed to maintain progress and save lives. At stake are the future prospects of one billion human beings.

For more information visit Gates Foundation online.