FrontLines - September October 2011

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					FRONTLINES                                       SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011


                                     Sudan & South Sudan/Education Edition
                                          From Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah

                                            A few weeks before South Sudan’s         skills, making it more likely they will
                                          day of independence, I had the oppor-      eventually drop out.

                                          tunity to visit the region and meet a         These failures leave developing na-
          HE WORLD welcomed its group of children who were learning                  tions without the human and social
          newest nation when South English and math in a USAID-supported             capital needed to advance and sustain
          Sudan officially gained its primary education program. The stu-            development. They deprive too many
          independence on July 9. After dents ranged in ages from 4 to 14.           individuals of the skills they need as
over two decades of war and suffering, Many of the older students have lived         productive members of their commu-
a peace agreement between north and through a period of displacement, vio-           nities and providers for their families.
south Sudan paved the way for South lence, and trauma. This was likely the              Across the world, our education pro-
Sudanese to fulfill their dreams of self- very first opportunity they had to re-     grams emphasize a special focus on
determination. The United States played ceive even a basic education.                disadvantaged groups such as women
an important role in helping make this      When you see American taxpayer           and girls and those living in remote
moment possible, and today we remain money being effectively used to provide         areas. In rural Liberia—where less than
committed to support-                                     education in a way that    2 percent of people have electricity—
ing the people and Gov-                                   improves the lives of      new solar-powered classrooms enable
ernment of South Sudan        Our goal is                 these children and con-    teens and mothers to study at night
build a peaceful, prosperous to improve                   tributes to the peaceful   after finishing a day’s work.
nation.                       equitable access            founding of a new na-         In Afghanistan, we have assisted the
   Also on July 9, we opened                              tion, you get a genuine    government to dramatically expand the
a full USAID mission in       to quality                  sense for the signifi-     number of children enrolled in primary
Juba, the capital of South education,                     cance and long-term        school—from 750,000 boys enrolled
Sudan, to strengthen the particularly in                  impact of this work.       under the Taliban in 2001 to approxi-
progress we have made                                        Our goal is to im-      mately 7 million children today, nearly
                              crisis and conflict
across the region in part-                                prove equitable access     35 percent of whom are girls.
nership with local com- environments.                     to quality education,         There is no more powerful tool for
munities. We have helped The challenge                    particularly in crisis     creating healthy, prosperous, stable so-
provide a million people is steep.                        and conf lict environ-     cieties than education. We need to con-
access to clean water, and                                ments. The challenge       tinue to seek evidence-based approaches
financed the construction of roads, is steep. An estimated 70 million chil-          and innovative solutions to providing
bridges, and health clinics. Perhaps dren—more than half of whom are                 engaging learning opportunities for the
most important, we have helped ex- girls— are not enrolled in school.                world’s most vulnerable children. ■
pand school enrollment rates from 25 Many of those children who do at-
percent to 68 percent.                    tend school are not achieving basic
    “I realize that there are among us those
 who are weary of sustaining this continual
 effort to help other nations. But I would ask
                                                                                             INSIDE THIS ISSUE
     them to look at a map and recognize
  that many of those whom we help live on
      the ‘front lines’ of the long twilight
 struggle for freedom—that others are new
  nations posed between order and chaos—
      and the rest are older nations now

 undergoing a turbulent transition of new
                                                           Two Sudans:
 expectations. Our efforts to help them help
       themselves, to demonstrate and to
                                                           The Separation of
 strengthen the vitality of free institutions,             Africa’s Largest

 are small in cost compared to our military                Country and                                     Early Education
      outlays for the defense of freedom.”                 the Road Ahead                                  Sets Nicaraguans
  —John F. Kennedy, Special Message to the                                                                 on Path to Success
  Congress on Foreign Aid, March 13, 1962         10 Reinforcing a Tenuous Peace as
     FrontLines is published by the Bureau
                                                     South Sudan Rises to Statehood           28 Message from USAID’s
       for Legislative and Public Affairs         14 Darfur’s Window of Opportunity              Education Chief
  U.S. Agency for International Development
    David Barth, Acting Deputy Assistant          16 South Sudan’s Greenbelt                  30 USAID’s Global Education
      Administrator for Public Affairs                                                           Footprint Takes Shape
                                                  18 Q&A with Bill Hammink,
          FRONTLINES STAFF:                          Former Mission Director                  36 Egypt Shakes Up the Classroom
    Kelly Ramundo, Managing Editor                   to Sudan                                 38 Mobile Phones, eBooks
    Claire McIntyre, Production Editor
       Angela Rucker, Writer/Editor
                                                  20 Baby Steps in One of the                    Turning the Page on Education
     Patricia Adams, Photo Librarian                 Worst Places for Mothers                 40 Higher Education Partnerships
 Marquita Wise-Williams, Human Resources
    Coordinator and Employee Liaison              22 Centuries-Old Wildlife Migration         42 Q&A with Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.)
          Alexandra Wise, Intern                     Untouched by Decades of War
           Taylor Nelson, Intern                                                              44 Talent Broker
                                                                                              46 In a New Nation,
 AFGE – Willy Hardin; AFR – Susan Quinn,          See the online version of FrontLines for       Building the Education Basics
 Diana Harper; AFSA – Francisco Zamora;           links to additional reading and videos.
 ASIA – Jan Cartwright; CFBCI – Heather
   MacLean; DCHA – Rebecca Gustafson,
    Sven Lindholm; EGAT – Jane Stanley,
 Elisa Walton, Ranta Russell; E&E – Michael
    Hathaway; OCRD – Gloria Blackwell;
 GC – Harmony Wade; ODP – Todd Kirkbride;
  GH – Sandra Jordan, Chris Thomas, Jessica
 DiRocco; IG – Debra Scott; LAC – Maxine
 Hillary; LPA – Barbara Bennett; M – Lauren
  Gabler; ME – Hope Bryer, Jan Cartwright;          Cover: National Anthem singers at the
  SEC – Dwayne Moore, Lorraine Meehan               Dr. John Garang memorial site in Juba, South
    Submit notices, story ideas, feedback to        Sudan, celebrate Independence Day, July 9.
  FrontLines articles, and requests to be added
 to the mailing list to
       Go to               Photo by Jenn Warren

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011

                                                    T WO
                                                    T H E S E P A R AT I O N O F A
                                                        By Angela Stephens

South Sudan Independence Day celebrations, July 9



                 N JULY 9, after decades of    more somber in Khartoum, where           The division of Sudan has brought
                 civil war and the loss of     the feeling among many was uncer-      changes for the U.S. Government as
                 more than 2 million lives,    tainty about their suddenly smaller    well. USAID’s Sudan mission, which
                 South Sudan seceded from      country’s economic future, since       was reopened in 2006—14 years
      Sudan and became the world’s new-        most of Sudan’s oil—the lifeblood of   after USAID’s international staff had
      est nation—a peaceful and demo-          the economy—is in the south.           evacuated Juba and four Sudanese
      cratic breaking-in-two of what was         Because of the severe human toll     USAID staff were executed by Suda-
      Africa’s largest country.                and destabilizing consequences of      nese military intelligence—became
        The event brought joy to the streets   conflict in Sudan—not only the         the USAID mission in South Sudan
      and dusty roads of South Sudan,          north-south conflict, but also the     on July 9, and the U.S. Consulate
                                                                                                                              Photo by Jenn Warren

      where nearly 99 percent of citizens      tragedy of the Darfur conflict that    became a U.S. Embassy.
      who voted in the USAID-assisted ref-     began in 2003—Sudan has for years        Despite the pride and exhilaration
      erendum on self-determination chose      been the U.S. Government’s highest     Southern Sudanese felt in achieving
      secession last January. The mood was     priority in Africa.                    independence, the challenges their

      FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                3
                       SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN

                       new nation faces are daunting. A land-       reconstruction, but in South Sudan,             South Sudan also faces the chal-
                       locked country with oil resources but        you’re really talking about construc-        lenge of integrating into productive
                       without its own pipeline to transport        tion. They had very little to start with,”   employment hundreds of thousands of
                       and export the oil, South Sudan is still     said William Hammink, who was                recent returnees who have come back
                       negotiating with Sudan on revenue            USAID mission director in Sudan from         to their ancestral home areas after
                       sharing or fees Juba would pay Khar-         2009 to 2011.                                years or decades living in northern
                       toum to enable export of oil through            “In 2005, Juba was still a garrison       Sudan. Since October 30, 2010, more
                       Port Sudan.                                  town that armed forces of the north          than 370,000 Sudanese have returned
                                                                    controlled. All the various infrastruc-      to South Sudan and the Three Areas—
                       SOUTH SUDAN’S ECONOMY is                     ture, such as sewers, electricity, roads—    the Abyei Area and Southern Kordo-
                       exceedingly oil-dependent. As the            dated to the British colonial days of the    fan and Blue Nile states.
                       country approached independence, 98          1950s. So not only is South Sudan               When the CPA was signed in 2005,
                       percent of Government of South Sudan         starting from scratch in terms of gov-       it created the autonomous sub-national
                       revenues came from oil, as part of reve-     ernment institutions, but also its infra-    Government of Southern Sudan—an
                       nue sharing agreed to in the 2005            structure,” he said.                         institution on paper only—with no
                       Comprehensive Peace Agreement                   South Sudan also faces a severe chal-     buildings, equipment, or personnel.
                       (CPA) that ended the north-south civil       lenge in terms of human capital—             USAID helped transform the concept
                       war. This almost total reliance on a sin-    shortfalls in the number of educated         of this institution into a functioning
                       gle revenue stream makes the country         and trained workers needed to run the        government, with ministries, transpar-
                       vulnerable to economic shock from            government of the new country, where         ent budget systems, a tax administra-
                       fluctuations in the price of oil or any      the literacy rate is only 27 percent, one    tion, and a central bank.
                       disruptions in production.                   of the world’s lowest. The rate is even
                          Additionally, the severe lack of infra-   lower among women, so USAID is pro-          SINCE 2005, USAID’s strategy for
                       structure in South Sudan has hindered        viding scholarships to help girls enroll     assisting Sudan had been based on
                       economic growth.                             and remain in school, and training           implementing the CPA, which expired
                          “In most developing countries that        opportunities for women, including           with South Sudan’s independence.
                       come out of conflict, you talk about         teacher training.                            In June, USAID released a two-year
                                                                                                                      transition strategy for the new
                                                                                                                      nation with the overall goal of
                                                                                                                      making it more stable in the post-
                                                                                                                      CPA period.
                                                                                                                         “In developing our strategy for
                                                                                                                      assistance to South Sudan during
                                                                                                                      this critical transitional period, we
                                                                                                                      built on four key objectives—miti-
                                                                                                                      gating the whole range of potential
                                                                                                                      conflicts in South Sudan; building
                                                                                                                      a sound system of governance for
Photo by Jenn Warren

                                                                                                                      the new state; ensuring the provi-
                                                                                                                      sion and further development of
                                                                                                                      basic services; and helping South
                                                                                                                      Sudan expand its opportunities in
                                                                                                                      agriculture,” said Jim Parys, super-
                       The South Sudanese National Guard greets VIPs on July 9 as they arrive in Juba for             visory program officer, who led the
                       celebrations of independence for the new Republic of South Sudan.                              team that drafted the strategy.

                                                                                                          SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN

   One of the goals of agriculture
development is to reduce the vulnera-
bility that comes with overreliance on
oil by diversifying the economy and
tapping one of South Sudan’s most
valuable resources—fertile land (see
article on page 16).
   While the new strategy guides how
U.S. Government funding will be
invested to help stabilize South Sudan,
USAID is also providing leadership in
the international community by secur-
ing commitments from the Republic
of South Sudan in four key pillar areas
critical to the new nation’s long-term
viability—creating an environment
that enables promotion of private              For larger image, go to
investment; bolstering the agriculture
sector to become the engine for South                        SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN FACTS
Sudan’s economic growth; developing             Sudan                                         South Sudan
a common platform and institutional             Population: 30.9 million (Source: 2008        Population: 8.26 million (Source: 2008
                                                               Sudan Population and Housing                 Sudan Population and Housing
structure for the international com-                           Census)                                      Census)
munity to invest in South Sudan; and            Land size:     1,861,484 square               Land size:    644,329 square
building the human capital necessary                           kilometers – 16th largest                    kilometers – 42nd
to govern and deliver services.                                in the world                                 largest in the world
                                                Literacy:      77.5 percent of adults         Literacy:     27 percent of adults
   “South Sudan is unusual among our                           (Source: UNICEF)                             (Source: South Sudan Center
development partners,” explained Dep-                                                                       for Census, Statistics, and
uty Assistant Administrator for Africa
Raja Jandhyala. “In the short term, it
will be financially vulnerable as it puts in
place macroeconomic systems and                resources, as the foreign assistance fund-     help the Republic of South Sudan, as
reaches agreement with the Government          ing levels for the United States and other     well as the Government of Sudan, to
of Sudan on sharing of oil revenues or         major donors are under significant pres-       make sound choices in the public inter-
user fee arrangements. In the medium-          sure. Considering this new economic            est with the resources they have, and to
to-long term, it will have national reve-      dynamic, our role is to use our leader-        help facilitate investments from others,
nue from oil that exceeds development          ship, political capital, and experience to     particularly the private sector.” ■

  O     ne of USAID’s key efforts to help South Sudan engage with
        the international community, including the private sector,
  on its development priorities is an International Engagement
                                                                      Bank, as well as private sector organizations including Citibank
                                                                      and the Corporate Council on Africa.
                                                                      The conference will allow the new nation to present its
  Conference to be held in Washington later this year.                development vision to the international community and to
  The U.S. Government will sponsor the conference with the            present its key policy commitments over the next two years
  African Union and Turkey, and with the participation of bilateral   while reaching consensus with the international community on a
  and multilateral government partners, including the European        framework for coordination of development initiatives.
  Union, United Nations, African Development Bank, and World

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                                        5

USAID ACCOMPLISHMENTS                                                                         participation, and domestic and interna-
     IN SOUTH SUDAN 2005–11                                                                   tional observation) for the April 2010

A    s part of its efforts to strengthen peace in Sudan and support the
     2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which the United
States helped negotiate to end the north-south war, the U.S. Government
                                                                                              nationwide elections, Sudan’s first mul-
                                                                                              tiparty contests since 1986 and a
                                                                                              requirement of the CPA.
provided nearly $10 billion in humanitarian and development assistance to
Sudan during the CPA, from 2005-2011. Major achievements during this                          Referendum
period include:                                                                               USAID provided comprehensive assis-
                                                                                              tance for the January 2011 Referendum
Government of Southern Sudan                  of Southern Sudan to draft the Interim          on Self-Determination for Southern
USAID provided technical and func-            Constitution of Southern Sudan (which           Sudan, through which the southern
tional support that helped transform          was in place 2005-2011), and provided           Sudanese people voted to secede from
the autonomous Government of South-           technical assistance for drafting of, and       Sudan and form an independent nation.
ern Sudan from a concept to a function-       public outreach on, the South Sudan
ing government. USAID was the lead            Transitional Constitution, which was            Combating Corruption
donor in establishing the Ministry of         approved July 7, ahead of South Sudan’s         USAID assisted in implementing transpar-
Finance and Economic Planning, which          independence, and will be in place until        ent and accountable systems in Ministry
included instituting transparent budget       a permanent constitution is adopted.            of Finance and Economic Planning func-
systems and a tax administration.                                                             tions, including modern tax collection
USAID assistance is creating a fully func-    Census                                          processes and a Financial Management
tioning Central Bank, including advice        USAID helped the Southern Sudan                 Information System for public budget and
on issuing a new currency. Strategic          Center for Census, Statistics, and Evalu-       expenditure (also implemented in Minis-
assistance to several other key govern-       ation conduct its portion of the 2008           tries of Finance in all 10 states).
ment institutions has been critical to its    nationwide census required by the CPA.
readiness for independence.                                                                   New Currency
                                              Elections                                       USAID provided technical support to
Constitution                                  USAID provided comprehensive assis-             help South Sudan successfully launch a
USAID worked with the Government              tance (election administration, civic           new currency shortly after independence.

1                                                                                         2

 1. A southern Sudanese woman registers last November to take part in January’s USAID-supported referendum (Photo by Tim McKulka,
 AFP). 2. Southern Sudanese rally on the streets of the southern capital Juba on Dec. 9, 2010, marking the one-month countdown until the
 landmark independence referendum (Photo by Peter Mar tell, AFP).

                                                                                                          SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN

Infrastructure                                 electrification in 2011 to Kapoeta in           45,000 borrowers to launch or expand
USAID has removed landmines,                   Eastern Equatoria and Maridi in West-           businesses.
repaired dilapidated and dangerous             ern Equatoria. USAID has also funded
bridges, and improved hundreds of              technical training for staff of the Minis-      Increased School Enrollment
kilometers of roads, including the cru-        try of Energy and Mining, South Sudan           With USAID assistance, primary school
cial paved 192-kilometer Juba-Nimule           Electrification Corporation, and the            enrollment in South Sudan increased
road that connects South Sudan to              Yei, Kapoeta, and Maridi utilities.             from approximately 20 percent of chil-
Uganda, a key trade partner; and the                                                           dren in 2005 to 68 percent in 2010.
gravel-surfaced 262-kilometer Yam-             Land Policy
bio-Tambura and Diabio-Ezo roads in            USAID assisted in drafting South                Built and Rehabilitated Schools
Western Equatoria state. These road            Sudan’s first comprehensive land policy         USAID built or rehabilitated 140 pri-
improvements enhance transporta-               to facilitate equitable access to land for      mary schools and four secondary
tion, economic opportunity, delivery           agricultural development; encourage             schools, improving the learning environ-
of government services, and security.          long-term, economically sustainable             ment for more than 80,000 students,
USAID provided more than 75 per-               land use; prevent land grabbing; and aid        and supported the rehabilitation of five
cent of funding for emergency road             the return of internally displaced per-         regional teacher training institutes.
repairs implemented by the World               sons to their areas of origin or other
Food Program between 2005 and                  areas of secure settlement.                     Improved Learning
2007, opening 1,500 kilometers of                                                              USAID provided literacy instruction
roads in southern Sudan to facilitate          Microfinance                                    through radio, reaching nearly 100,000
humanitarian support in areas where            In 2003, when there were no financial           students and 445,000 youth and adults
food deliveries were previously made           services in South Sudan following               who did not have access to regular
by airplane.                                   decades of war, USAID launched the              school instruction because of conflict
                                               region’s microfinance sector so that            and displacement. USAID helped to
Electricity                                    entrepreneurs could access credit to            revise and unify the teaching curricu-
USAID developed South Sudan’s first            start and expand enterprises. Microfi-          lum and supplied 36,089 textbooks and
electrical cooperative in Yei, benefiting      nance services have since spread                materials to enhance school instruction.
more than 16,000 people, and expanded          throughout the south, enabling some                                                      >>

  3                                              4

3. Sudanese singer Mary Boyoi holds a flag of southern Sudan on December 19, 2010, at the Keyz recording studio in Juba while recording
songs for her new album, which focuses on referendum issues and was funded by USAID (Photo by Trevor Snapp, AFP). 4. Traditional dancers in
South Sudan’s Central Equatoria state (Photo by Jenn Warren).

  FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                                         7

Better Access to Health
Services, Clean Water,
                                                 Food and Other
                                                 Emergency Relief
and Sanitation                                   USAID provided more than $648 mil-                 Border Demarcation
More than 2 million South Sudanese have          lion in food aid in Southern Sudan and             The north-south border is not yet
improved access to high-impact maternal,         the Three Areas (Abyei, Blue Nile, and             demarcated, with five areas along the
child, and family planning services as a         Southern Kordofan) and approximately               border other than Abyei in dispute. The
result of USAID efforts since 2005.              $355 million in non-food assistance                two sides have agreed in principle to
USAID has improved access to potable             (including basic hygiene, cooking, and             soft border arrangements, including no
water in southern Sudan through the con-         shelter materials and livelihood activi-           required visas for the movement of
struction of boreholes and urban water           ties) in Southern Sudan to people                  people, facilitation of grazing rights, and
treatment facilities, and the distribution of    affected by emergencies including con-             joint efforts to promote cross-border
chlorine tablets for household-level puri-       flict, floods, and drought between 2005            trade and development. However, they
fication. As a result, more than a million       and July 2011.                                     have yet to reach agreement on the spe-
southerners now have access to safe                                                                 cific details and mechanisms for these
water.                                           Support for Returnees                              soft border arrangements. They have
                                                 and Displaced Persons                              agreed to a demilitarized zone along the
Disease Prevention                               USAID is providing life-saving assistance          border and requested that the United
USAID has collaborated with the                  to tens of thousands of Southern Suda-             Nations provide monitors and force
Government of South Sudan and other              nese displaced and impacted by conflict,           protection to monitor the zone.
partners on polio immunization cam-              including the Abyei crisis, helping Suda-
paigns and, by 2010, helped immunize             nese of southern origin returning from             Abyei
99 percent of children. USAID also               northern Sudan to reach their home                 The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agree-
increased routine childhood immuniza-            areas and begin new lives in the south             ment provided that the residents
tion from less than 20 percent to 71             with livelihoods support, and providing            of Abyei—a resource-rich and con-
percent.                                         essential services, including food secu-           tested area 4,000 square miles—vote
                                                 rity, shelter, water, health, and sanita-          in a referendum on whether they
                                                 tion in states with the highest returns            would remain part of northern Sudan,
                                                 of southerners.                                    or become part of southern Sudan,

1                                                                         2                                                                      3

 1. National Anthem singers at the ceremony marking the Declaration of the Independence of the Republic of South Sudan, in Juba,
 South Sudan, July 9 (Photo by Jenn Warren). 2. The USAID-funded Granville-Abbas Girls’ Secondary School in Kurmuk, Blue Nile state,
 includes classrooms, dormitories, a library, theater, cafeteria, and learning center with computer training and Internet access (Photo by Rebecca
 Dobbins, USAID).

                                                                                                             SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN

ED ISSUES                                         force, and on June 27, the U.N. Security
                                                  Council established the United Nations
                                                                                                     USAID has been helping the two
                                                                                                  states prepare for the popular consul-
  irrespective of the results of the January      Interim Security Force for Abyei                tations since 2008, with a broad range
  2011 referendum on self-determination,          (UNISFA). Deployment of Ethiopian               of technical and logistical support,
  which resulted in South Sudan’s seces-          peacekeepers to Abyei is underway. An           including civic education campaigns to
  sion and nationhood. The CPA stipu-             early setback occurred Aug. 2 as four           inform citizens about the process and
  lated that the two referenda were to            peacekeepers were killed and seven              their rights. Earlier this year, in one of
  happen simultaneously, but the CPA              injured when their vehicles detonated           the most impressive displays of demo-
  parties—the Government of Sudan and             a landmine.                                     cratic participation ever seen in Blue
  the Sudan People’s Liberation Move-                                                             Nile state, more than 70,000 citizens
  ment—were unable to agree on Abyei              Popular Consultations                           attended public hearings in communi-
  residency requirements. USAID pro-              Popular consultation is a political pro-        ties across the state to voice their opin-
  vided comprehensive assistance to the           cess under the CPA that gives the               ions about the CPA and many aired
  CPA parties to implement the southern           people of Southern Kordofan and Blue            grievances.
  referendum, and stands ready to pro-            Nile states—areas in Sudan bordering               The Southern Kordofan process was
  vide similar assistance for a referendum        South Sudan that suffered heavy fight-          far behind schedule because a dispute
  on Abyei if an agreement can be reached         ing during the civil war, with control          over the state census delayed elections
  to hold the referendum and name a               of their territory divided between              needed before the popular consultation
  commission to oversee the process.              northern and southern military                  process could begin. After violence
     On May 21, Sudanese Armed Forces             forces—the right to express their               erupted in Southern Kordofan in June,
  (SAF) took control of Abyei following           opinions about whether the CPA has              insecurity has prevented any progress on
  an outbreak of fighting between the             met their aspirations. The process              popular consultations. Sudan’s National
  Sudan People’s Liberation Army and              also empowers their democratically              Assembly extended the Popular Consul-
  SAF. An estimated 100,000 people have           elected state legislatures to negotiate         tation Act beyond the CPA interim
  been displaced from Abyei as a result of        with the central government in Khar-            period, giving the two states additional
  fighting. On June 20, the parties signed a      toum on any shortcomings in the con-            time to complete this key political pro-
  temporary arrangement in which the              stitutional, political, and administrative      cess. USAID continues to support the
  U.N. would deploy a peacekeeping                arrangements of the CPA.                        process as conditions allow. ■

    4                                                                        5

  3. A flag raising ceremony takes place in Washington, D.C., July 9 as the Government of South Sudan rededicated its mission to the United
  States to an official embassy (Photo by Susan Quinn, USAID). 4. A photo released by the U.N. mission in Sudan (UNMIS) shows homes burning
  in Abyei on May 23 (Photo by Stuar t Price, UNMIS/AFP). 5. Amid their belongings, a Southern Sudanese woman and her children await transport
  from Khartoum to Bentiu, Unity state, April 14 (Photo by Christy Forster, USAID).

    FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                                          9

     RISES TO STATEHOOD                                                By Jennifer Shaw
A Southern Sudanese woman in Khartoum tells USAID staff she is eager
to return to Bentiu, Unity state, April 14.

                                                                                                                                                      SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN

                                        N 2005, THE Government of               War-affected communities in these County authorities to counter margin-
                                        Sudan and the Sudan People’s areas have been skeptical of peace, alization in the southernmost part of
                                        Liberation Movement (SPLM) posing one of the greatest threats to its the state. The town of Kurmuk, in par-
                                        ended nearly 22 years of civil war consolidation.                              ticular, was widely viewed as one of
                                  with the Comprehensive Peace Agree-           “The way we started,” explained the border areas most likely to derail
                                  ment (CPA). But the peace that has Ken Spear, the head of USAID/ the peace process. The state govern-
                                  held between northern and southern Sudan’s Office of Transition and Con- ment’s presence was nonexistent, signs
                                  Sudan remains fragile.                     flict Mitigation in Khartoum, “was to of peace and development were absent,
                                     Violence engulfed the disputed, identify local, reform-minded actors and communities were heavily armed
                                  resource-rich Abyei Area on the north- who, with just a few additional and disillusioned by the outcome of
                                  south border and the northern state of resources, would be able to make sig- the CPA.
                                  Southern Kordofan in the weeks ahead nificant progress in addressing histori-           USAID helped authorities extend
                                  of South Sudan’s July 9 independence, cal grievances in areas most prone to essential services including health and
                                  raising fears of renewed north-south return to violent conflict.”                    education to Kurmuk and other
                                  conflict. Internal strife also continues      In 2006, USAID helped turn the underserved areas of southern Blue
                                  to affect large parts of both countries tide away from renewed conflict in Nile. In 2010, USAID opened the
                                  outside the state capitals, denying com- Blue Nile by empowering the state Granville-Abbas Girls’ Secondary
                                  munities the security and development minister for health and Kurmuk School in Kurmuk, which is named in
                                  envisioned in the CPA.                                                                           honor of USAID employ-
                                     Since 2005, USAID                                                                             ees John Granville and
                                  has been working with                                                                            Abdelrahman          Abbas
                                  local government and                                                                             Rahama, who were killed
                                  civil society leaders to                                                                         in Khartoum in 2008.
                                  confront the country’s                                                                           The school is a model for
                                  legacy of political conflict,                                                                    girls’ education in the
                                  violence, and instability.                                                                       region. USAID-spon-
                                  Through this conflict mit-                                                                       sored health training
                                  igation program, the                                                                             facilities in Kurmuk and
                                  Agency is working to                                                                             Bau are helping to build a
                                  counter threats to stability                                                                     cadre of trained local
                                  and seize opportunities to                                                                       health-care professionals.
                                  consolidate peace in                                                                                “It is important that
                                  South Sudan and along                                                                            productive change agents
                                  the volatile north-south                                                                         are given credit for such
                                  border.                                                                                          transformations,”      said
                                     The “Three Areas”—                                                                            Spear. “It strengthens
                                  Blue Nile and Southern                                                                           their legitimacy, and that
                                                                                                                              Photo by Christy Foster, USAID

                                  Kordofan states and                                                                              is what we want.”
                                  Abyei—are located along
Photo by Christy Forster, USAID

                                  the political, ethnic, reli-                                                                     USAID’S ACHIEVE-
                                  gious, and geographic                                                                            MENTS in helping miti-
                                  fault lines of the civil war,                                                                    gate conflict in the
                                  and to this day are strate-                                                                      transitional areas have
                                  gically important to the                                                                         been matched by an array
                                  CPA’s signatories.             A boy from Abyei at Eyat camp outside Wau town, June 2011         of challenges and setbacks.

                                  FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                                11
                                     SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN
Photo by AECOM International Sudan

                                     USAID is supporting training in Debab, Southern Kordofan, including how to cultivate with donkey plows, to help this largely
                                     Misseriya town improve livelihoods and reduce conflict on the Sudan-South Sudan border.

                                        Efforts to stabilize Abyei, including,   essential grazing land and water in         ACROSS THE BORDER in the new
                                     for example, establishing an office com-    Abyei and South Sudan.                      Republic of South Sudan, USAID
                                     plex for the nascent Abyei Area admin-         In response, USAID helped construct      launched a conflict-reduction initia-
                                     istration, have been frustrated by          or rehabilitate 17 water yards—elevated     tive in 2009 following a worrisome
                                     repeated outbreaks of violence in the       water-storage reservoirs—along key          spike in inter-ethnic conflict.
                                     area. Fierce fighting between forces        migration corridors to reduce the Mis-         Through this effort, local government
                                     loyal to the Government of Sudan and        seriya’s movement into South Sudan,         bodies are working to improve commu-
                                     the SPLM recently forced the suspen-        and lessen the likelihood of resource-      nity security in some of South Sudan’s
                                     sion of conflict-mitigation activities in   driven conflict. The Agency is now          most remote and volatile areas such as
                                     much of Southern Kordofan and Abyei.        creating opportunities for the Mis-         Akobo, Pibor, Mayom, and Panyijar
                                        The violence here is of particular       seriya to improve their livelihoods by      counties. U.S. aid helped the municipal-
                                     concern to pastoralist groups who rely      involving youth in marketable activi-       ities purchase highly visible office spaces
                                     on a cross-border existence, such as the    ties, rehabilitating the meat and vege-     and communication and transportation
                                     Misseriya of Southern Kordofan.             table market in Muglad, and providing       equipment, which in turn has enabled
                                     Without clear arrangements on the           households with agricultural assistance     county and payam officials, as well as
                                     movement of goods and people across         such as training in the use of donkey       traditional authorities, to communicate
                                     this new international boundary, the        plows, which can potentially double the     and coordinate responses when there is
                                     Misseriya fear they will lose access to     amount of land a family is able to till.    tension or an outbreak of hostilities.

                                                                                                SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN

                                                                                                                                Photo by Christy Forster, USAID
Internally displaced persons from Abyei receive government-donated food rations at Eyat camp, June 2011.

   The change is striking.                  have witnessed few positive changes in        “The sense of pride is palpable,”
   “From a place like Panyijar, which       their communities during their short       O’Brien said. “When you visit a
can’t be accessed by road for about half    lives. Many young people living in         place like Akobo, the people say,
the year, we’re suddenly getting e-mails    zones of high conflict remain caught       ‘We built this ourselves!’”
from the county commissioner,” said         in a culture of war, accustomed to cat-       At a ceremony launching the
Adam O’Brien, who was field program         tle looting and banditry to earn money.    refurbished Akobo County head-
analyst for AECOM International, a             With USAID support, youth have          quarters in October 2010, Commis-
USAID partner in the initiative.            received block-making training in          sioner Goi Jooyul Yol said, “[This]
   In 2011, at least three potential con-   Akobo and Pibor in Jonglei state,          is not only a sign of stability, but a
flicts were averted in Unity, Warrap,       Nasir in Upper Nile state, Panyijar        sign of hope for many youth who
and Jonglei states when local authori-      and Mayendit in Unity state, Tonj          used their energy to mold blocks
ties learned about planned cattle raids     East in Warrap state, and Rumbek           rather than engaging in cattle rus-
and were able to thwart the attacks         North in Lakes state. In addition to       tling.”
using USAID-funded communica-               providing the youth with equipment            “We are really digging deep into
tions equipment.                            to start their own businesses, they have   our soil,” said one young man who
                                            been hired to produce blocks for           worked on the project, “and build-
THE INITIATIVE IS also providing            USAID-funded infrastructure proj-          ing peace in Akobo now.” ■
activities and training for youth who       ects in the region.

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                       13

DARFUR’S WINDOW                                                                                                     others has allowed the Agency to expand
                                                                                                                    support to community-led, early-recov-

                                                                                                                    ery programs. Defined as the stage
                                                                                                                    between humanitarian relief and long-
                                                                                                                    term recovery, early-recovery activi-
                                                         By Angela Stephens                                         ties—in agriculture and food security;
                                                                                                                    shelter; economic recovery; and water,
Eight years ago, Darfur was one of the most unstable corners                                                        sanitation, and hygiene—help Darfuris
of Sudan—and the world. Though insecurity continues in some                                                         rebuild livelihoods by giving them the
                                                                                                                    tools they need to increase their eco-
areas, USAID is now capitalizing on pockets of opportunity where                                                    nomic independence.
security and access permit its partners to support a wide array                                                        “Armed clashes, generalized insecu-
of community-led, early-recovery activities to help Darfuris rebuild                                                rity, and bureaucratic impediments con-
                                                                                                                    tinue to restrict access to parts of
their lives.
                                                                                                                    Darfur,” said Tahir Ali, USAID’s senior

                                                                                                                    humanitarian adviser in Sudan. “But
         INCE CONFLICT erupted             to help us rebuild our shelters and help                                 there are other areas, including in and
         in Darfur in 2003, between        us build our own latrines.”                                              around the major urban centers, where
         1.9 million and 2.7 million          As a leading donor, USAID has pro-                                    the great majority of internally displaced
         people have been forced to flee   vided more than $2.7 billion in emer-                                    persons are located, that are stable,
their homes. Now, in some areas,           gency food and other lifesaving                                          secure, and accessible for humanitarian
many are returning home.                   assistance in Darfur since the conflict                                  and development workers. We can make
   Individuals displaced from Nyoro,       began in 2003. And although insecurity                                   a real difference by seizing opportunities
West Darfur, began voluntarily             and violence continue in parts of Sudan’s                                in these parts of Darfur to assist people
returning in early 2011. To assist their   vast western region, relative stability in                               to re-establish productive and self-suffi-
reintegration into their communities,                                                                               cient lives, helping them recover from
USAID, since early April, has sup-                                                                                  the negative impacts of conflict, and
ported returnees with building materi-                                                                              avoid dependency on relief aid.”
als for shelters and household latrines,
while educating the community about                                                                                 TO IMPROVE food security while
proper hygiene.                                                                                                     supporting the development of a local
   The Agency is also supporting train-                                                                             seed market, USAID partners have
ing for returnees to acquire skills such                                                                            moved from direct distribution of
as masonry—providing valuable                                                                                       seeds to the promotion of seed fairs,
                                                                                   Photo by Oumar M’bareck, USAID

expertise that can be used immedi-                                                                                  where farmers use vouchers to buy
ately in rebuilding the war-torn region.                                                                            from local vendors. This allows them
   “Life as a displaced person is diffi-                                                                            to obtain seeds for planting while sup-
cult, we brought nothing,” said one                                                                                 porting the local economy.
mother of five children. “We were                                                                                      Through humanitarian partners, the
forced to depend on others for food                                                                                 Agency stimulates markets by rehabili-
and other necessities for survival. Now                                                                             tating critical transport roads and pro-
we have returned back to our village,                                                                               viding support to micro-entrepreneurs.
Nyoro, and everything has been             A woman carries water in Abu Shook                                       This includes vocational training in
destroyed.” USAID’s partner organi-        camp for internally displaced persons                                    computer and mechanic skills that are in
zation, she explained, “has been here      near El Fasher.                                                          high demand in the area.

                                                                                             SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN

   To increase the resiliency of Darfuri taps, and troughs—providing individ- that produce gum arabic, annual
livestock owners and improve the uals and livestock access to safe water.         crops, and livestock can be financially
health of their herds, USAID partners         Communities are taught how to and environmentally sustainable fam-
train community animal-health work- harvest rainwater, and how to repair, ily enterprises. The report derived from
ers and help them build water troughs rehabilitate, and maintain boreholes, a request by the governor of South
for animals.                                hand-dug wells, and hand pumps. Darfur, who was seeking ways to reha-
   USAID is exploring a variety of ways Other partners have connected urban bilitate the gum arabic production in
to support water projects in Darfur. At water systems to outlying rural areas in his jurisdiction—the center of the
the United Nations-sponsored Darfur need of a regular source of clean water. Darfur region’s gum arabic industry.
International Conference on Water for                                               It is initiatives like this that com-
Sustainable Peace in Khartoum in late USAID IS ALSO exploring possibili- prise a new USAID focus on commu-
June, Ambassador Dane Smith, the U.S. ties for boosting the gum arabic indus- nity-led, early-recovery programs and
senior adviser for Darfur, announced that try in Darfur. Gum arabic, the dried activities for the region, where pockets
USAID intends to contribute a further sap of the Acacia senegal tree, is used in of stability, and hence, opportunity,
$2 million for water proj-                                                                         have begun to appear.
ects in the region on top                                                                          They come eight years
of approximately $14.9                                                                             after war between
million in fiscal year 2011                                                                        armed        opposition
funding for programs                                                                               groups and Sudanese
supporting improved                                                                                government forces and
access to clean water.                                                                             allied militia created a
   While water has been                                                                            humanitarian crisis
a significant source of                                                                            affecting more than
                          Photo by Oumar M’bareck, USAID

conflict and contributes                                                                           4.7 million people.
to population move-                                                                                   “While       USAID
ment in Darfur, experts                                                                            remains committed to
stress that the problem                                                                            providing basic ser-
is not a lack of water,                                                                            vices and goods to
but rather that water is                                                                           Darfuris      tragically
often not where people                                                                             affected by fighting
need it. Conflict dis-                                                                             and conflict, we are
placed much of Dar- A woman uses a hand pump in a Kassab camp for internally displaced             also actively pursuing
fur’s rural population, persons near Kutum.                                                        the growing windows
shifting thousands of people to towns pharmaceutical, industrial, and food of opportunity to help jumpstart live-
where water demand is now concen- products, including soft drinks and lihoods and invigorate markets, where
trated, but where there is too little confections. It keeps sugar uniformly security conditions and the capacity of
water for the people’s basic needs.         suspended in carbonated drinks, binds humanitarian partners to support
   USAID has helped construct hand- newspaper ink to paper, and is used as community efforts are strong,” said
dug wells as water sources for house- a coating on medications.                   Christa Capozzola, USAID deputy
hold and livestock use, hafirs (reservoirs)   On June 26 in Khartoum, USAID, assistant administrator in the Bureau
for agricultural use, and sub-surface the World Bank, and South Darfur’s for Democracy, Conflict, and Human-
dams where access to safe drinking Ministry of Agriculture and Forests itarian Assistance. “We want to focus
water through boreholes or hand-dug held a workshop to discuss a new these efforts to help the people of Dar-
wells is limited. USAID is also rehabili- report financed by USAID and the fur to lay the foundation for sustain-
tating water yards—organized, fenced World Bank, which concludes that able peace and development.” ■
locations with boreholes, pumps, tanks, medium-sized farms in South Darfur

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                     15
                                                                   By Astrid R.N. Haas and
                                                                   Sarah Armstrong

                                                                               ESPITE SOUTH Sudan’s
                                                                               severe poverty, lack of infra-
                                                                               structure, almost total eco-
                                                                               nomic reliance on the oil
                                                                   sector, and a nearly complete absence
                                                                   of private sector employment, the new
                                                                   nation has a very important and promis-
                                                                   ing asset—vast amounts of uncultivated,
                                                                   arable land with excellent potential for
                                                                   agricultural productivity.
                                                                      Though larger in land mass than
                                                                   France, only 4 percent of South Sudan
                                                                   is currently being cultivated, according
                                                                   to Anne Itto, South Sudan’s caretaker
                                                                   minister of agriculture and forestry.
                                                                      Agricultural yield per hectare for
                                                                   cereals (maize, sorghum, millet, and
                                                                   rice) averages only approximately 0.5
                                                                   metric tons in South Sudan. In com-
                                                                   parison, the average yield in Africa is
                                                                   more than 1 ton per hectare, and more
                                                                   than 2.3 tons per hectare in South
                                                                   Africa and South Asia.
                                                                      By improving productivity and
                                                                   expanding the area under cultivation,

                                                                                                 Can tapping
                                                                   the new government aims to raise
                                                                   annual staple-food crop production
                                                                   from 700,000 metric tons to more than
                                          Photo by Redento Tombe

Esther Dima Kidden, an agriculture                                 1 million metric tons by 2013, which
extension officer in Yei County, South                             would enable South Sudan to reach
Sudan, uses her foot to measure correct                            near self-sufficiency. Neighboring
spacing between newly planted maize
                                                                   Uganda produced 1.3 million metric
crops for the Ngakoyi Farmers Group.
                                                                   tons of maize and 0.5 million metric
                                                                   tons of sorghum in 2009.

                                                                                                       SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN

         Both the South Sudan Government         (approximately $262 million), half of       economic growth team leader, “are to
      and USAID see agriculture as one of        which was fresh vegetables that could       begin laying the groundwork for a trans-
      the keys to diversifying South Sudan’s     be grown locally.                           formation in agricultural practices. Cur-
      economy, raising household incomes,           The agriculture sector’s potential has   rent practices are extremely rudimentary.
      and improving food security. And the       not been fully harnessed for several        Many farmers do not even have access to
      agriculture sector is one of the Agen-     reasons.                                    an ox plow, and very few have any expe-
      cy’s priorities for investment and col-       Farmers often had to flee their homes    rience with quality seeds, soil fertility
      laboration with the South Sudanese,        during the nearly quarter century of        practices, or pest management. This is
      other donors, and the private sector.      fighting, so traditional farming knowl-     due in part to a near-complete lack of a
         “Agriculture will increasingly be a     edge that would have been passed            functional agricultural private sector.
      focus of USAID assistance to South         down to the next generation was lost.          “We therefore hope to first introduce
      Sudan going forward,” said USAID/          Moreover, large-scale or commercial         the concept of utilizing commercial
      South Sudan Mission Director Kevin         farming never took root.                    farming inputs, then work to facilitate
      Mullally. “The potential is great for         The 2005 Comprehensive Peace             the establishment of seed companies,
      this assistance to transform South         Agree ment that officially ended the        agro-dealers, commercial famer-based
      Sudan’s economy and bring many peo-        war between northern and southern           organizations, and consolidators who
      ple out of poverty because South Sudan     Sudan brought more than 2 million           can both provide inputs to improve pro-
      remains an agrarian society, with the      South Sudanese refugees home, but           ductivity and serve as extension agents.”
      vast majority of the population engaged    uncertainty about security and the             To do so, the program is training
      in agriculture to some extent.”            investment climate continued to ham-        farmers and working with farmer asso-
         What’s more, he says, is that agri-     per investment in agriculture. Addi-        ciations and agriculture extension offi-
      culture assistance can ensure a sustain-   tionally, the vast majority of South        cers. In addition, in February 2011,
      able domestic food supply, reducing        Sudanese farmers who are growing            USAID distributed 75 metric tons of
      the need for expensive imports and         only enough food for their own fami-        improved maize and sorghum seeds to
      international aid.                         lies lack quality seeds and tools and       132 of these farmers’ groups, benefiting
                                                 have limited knowledge about farming        19,000 people.
      A PPROX IM ATELY 85 percent of             techniques, irrigation methods, and            “This is just the first small step in a
      South Sudanese rely on agriculture for     how to reduce post-harvest losses.          much broader program that we hope

agriculture assets become the new nation’s economic elixir?
      their livelihood, yet almost all are          In May 2010, USAID launched              will help address issues ranging from
      subsistence farmers. Hence, much of        a program to revitalize South Sudan’s       key policy reform, development of
      the food found in South Sudan’s urban      “greenbelt” zone of the three Equatoria     needed research and human capacity,
      markets is imported from Uganda,           states—Western, Central, and Eastern        establishment of agribusiness, and out-
      Kenya, and other countries, resulting      Equatoria. These states have high agri-     reach to farmers,” Gosney says.
      in higher food prices for the popula-      culture potential with two reliable rainy      USAID will help lay the platform for
      tion. In the last three years, South       seasons and fertile soil.                   transforming the agriculture sector and
      Sudan imports of agricultural produce         “The goals of the program,” said         increasing agricultural trade, which in
      averaged 700 million Sudanese pounds       David Gosney, USAID/South Sudan’s                                continued on p. 26

      FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                           17
                 SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN

                 Q&A with Bill Hammink,
                 Former Mission Director to Sudan
                                                            Bill Hammink was USAID’s last mission director to a unified Sudan.
                                                            He held the post from March 2009 to July 2011, just after South
                                                            Sudan became the world’s newest country. Hammink is a career
                                                            Senior Foreign Service Officer with more than 30 years at USAID
                                                            working on international development and humanitarian programs.
                                                            His previous posts include stints in USAID’s Bureau for Economic
                                                            Growth, Agriculture and Trade as deputy assistant administrator
                                                            and in the Office of Food for Peace as its director. He also served
Photo by USAID

                                                            as mission director in Ethiopia from 2003 to 2006. In late August,
                                                            he began a new post as mission director to India.

                 FRONTLINES: What makes Sudan               the same time, we were working closely    accepted referendum for the people of
                 unique from the other places you’ve        with the government in the north on       South Sudan.
                 lived and worked?                          implementing the Darfur peace agree-         And the main instrument in the
                                                            ment and trying to find ways to support   peace accord, the Comprehensive
                 BILL HAMMINK: Sudan, which is,             a peaceful settlement in Darfur and       Peace Agreement, was in fact the right
                 of course, now two countries, was a        expand our assistance from solely         of the people of Southern Sudan to
                 truly unique experience because you        humanitarian to recovery programs.        decide what their future would be. It
                 had a situation where after almost            What made Sudan especially unique      was a process of self-determination.
                 three decades of civil war, there was an   was the fact that, under the CPA, there   That was a true highlight.
                 internationally accepted Comprehen-        were two governments and two sys-            At the same time, USAID managed a
                 sive Peace Agreement [CPA] signed          tems within one country. There was        major development program in the
                 and approved by both sides, the north      one USAID mission, although we had        South since the CPA was signed in
                 and the south in 2005. The CPA, wit-       two big offices working with two sepa-    2005, and we had some really exciting
                 nessed by major international powers       rate governments.                         accomplishments as an agency. One was
                 and international organizations, laid                                                in building the capacity of the Govern-
                 the framework for all of the processes     FL: Looking back on your more than        ment of Southern Sudan, which basi-
                 leading up to the elections and the        two years as mission director in Sudan,   cally started from scratch in 2005.
                 southern referendum, and the out-          what do you see as USAID’s main              In 2011, when the CPA came to an
                 come of the referendum, which was an       accomplishments there?                    end and the referendum was held, it
                 independent South Sudan.                                                             was a government with ministries with
                    And so it was a situation where we      Hammink: I would say the major            a legal framework and procedures—
                 were working both diplomacy and devel-     accomplishment for USAID was a            very nascent, but which had started
                 opment to implement the CPA. And at        peaceful, on-time, and internationally    from scratch.

                                                                                               SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN

   USAID contributed a lot in capacity       Unfortunately, the north and south      people in camps, even though ensur-
building, institutional development,      could not agree on who could vote. So      ing that internally displaced people in
building procedures, all working toward   after the referendum in the south, the     camps have the necessary humanitar-
international standards. For example,     situation in Abyei had gotten worse        ian, life-saving support is still a focus.
USAID supported the Ministry of           due to uncertainty. There were a few
Finance to establish a Financial Man-     unfortunate incidents between the          FL: Could you just give a few brief
agement Information System, which         militaries of the two sides. The Sudan     examples of what type of recovery pro-
allowed accountability and transpar-      armed forces sent their forces into        grams we are talking about?
ency across the board for their budget.   Abyei, and the people of Abyei fled to
                                          the south, leaving a very large number     Hammink: Yes, we’re talking about
FL: What do you think it means for        of internally displaced people, or IDPs,   agriculture; talking about seeds; talk-
the United States and for Africa that     in Southern Sudan.                         ing about support for new technology;
this referendum went through so              There wasn’t a lot of fighting, but     fixing schools and water points. Where
peacefully?                               the population was hugely affected.        it makes sense and is the right thing to
                                          USAID quickly mobilized and pro-           do, we’re talking about supporting
Hammink: In the ‘70s and in the           vided support to the U.N. agencies         local reconciliation and local groups
‘80s in Sudan, there were peace agree-    and to local and international NGOs        that want to work together. We’re talk-
ments that were signed between the        working in support of those IDPs.          ing about fixing local clinics so that
south and the north, but each time           Luckily, those actors had preposi-      people can have access to health care.
they broke down. So for the United        tioned a lot of emergency assistance in    So it’s a broad range of recovery devel-
States and for Africa, this was both an   that general area, including food aid,     opment programs, but it’s still very
end of a decades-long process, not only   tents, tarps, and other types of emer-     basic because there’s just very little
of civil war but of a peace process. It   gency assistance. So within a week,        there now.
was also the end of six years of work-    they had gotten out there, and a lot of
ing together under the CPA and reach-     that assistance came from USAID.           FL: Along those lines, can you
ing a point where you not only had the                                               describe the base line at which we are
peaceful and on-time referendum, but      FL: Some people have expressed             developing in South Sudan?
agreement by all sides and the interna-   concern that with South Sudan’s
tional community on the outcome and       independence, attention has been           Hammink: There’s a major need for
legitimacy of the referendum.             lost on Darfur, where conflict con-        infrastructure across the board in
                                          tinues more than eight years after it      South Sudan. Most countries, when
FL: How has USAID responded to            began. Does South Sudan’s indepen-         they come out of conflict or post-con-
conflict that erupted in Abyei in May,    dence change the situation for Dar-        flict, you talk about reconstruction,
and in Southern Kordofan in June,         fur, and is USAID’s approach to            whereas in South Sudan, you’re really
displacing tens of thousands of people?   Darfur changing?                           talking about construction. There was
                                                                                     so little investment there over the
Hammink: First a little background:       Hammink: Darfur presents to the            decades since independence, that they
As part of the Comprehensive Peace        United States a very complex and dif-      have almost nothing.
Agreement, it was agreed that there       ficult situation and USAID’s position         USAID is building the first major
would be a similar referendum for self-   vis-a-vis Darfur is definitely changing.   tarmac road in all of South Sudan.
determination that would happen           Since last year, I think there’s more      South Sudan is about the size of
concurrently in Abyei—a small area        emphasis on supporting recovery-type       France, and if you can imagine no tar-
right between the north and the south     programming in Darfur (see article on      mac roads outside of a few of the
that has been under dispute for           page 14) and not solely humanitarian       cities… The road we’re building is 192
decades, even under the British.          assistance or life-saving support for                          continued on p. 27

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                         19

                                                                                                                                       Photo by Cliff Lubitz, USAID
     The most critical intervention for safe
     deliveries in South Sudan is ensuring a
     competent health worker is present at
     every birth. Pictured: a South Sudanese

By Erin Polich                                 well. A contracted pelvis often results in   nation, which represents little change

                                               obstructed labor, fistula, postpartum        from the years before South Sudan
        UZANNA ILE is a 26-year-               hemorrhage, or the death of the infant       gained independence in July. The sin-
        old woman from Lokiliri Payam          or mother.                                   gle most critical intervention for safe
        in South Sudan. She lost her              Labor complications like Ile’s are        motherhood is ensuring a competent
        first two babies in childbirth.        common throughout South Sudan,               health worker is present at every birth.
During her third pregnancy, a com-             which is one of the world’s most dan-        Yet, many midwives and other mater-
munity midwife at the Lokiliri Pri-            gerous places to become a mother.            nal and neonatal care providers in
mary Health Care Centre, a facility            With 2,056 maternal deaths per every         South Sudan lack the training required
supported by USAID, diagnosed her              100,000 live births, according to the        to identify high-risk pregnancies and
high-risk pregnancy after identifying          2006 Sudan Household Health Sur-             to perform simple lifesaving proce-
her contracted pelvis.                         vey, South Sudan’s maternal mortality        dures at the time of delivery.
   Without access to emergency services        ratio is among the highest in the world.        The next most critical intervention
and a facility capable of performing a            Few pregnant women have access to         is the supply of appropriate drugs.
Caesarean section, the midwife knew            adequate antenatal care and labor-           Shortages of essential medicines and
Ile would likely lose her third child as       and-delivery services in the fledgling       health supplies are common at South

                                                                                                     SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN

Sudanese health facilities, including        which is defined as death within the           maternal health services are among
drugs for antenatal care and for con-        first 28 days after birth.                     their reasons for not going to health
trolling bleeding during and after              Recognizing this challenge as particu-      facilities,” said Cliff Lubitz, USAID/
delivery. Having emergency obstetric         larly stubborn, the new Republic of South      South Sudan’s health team leader.
care in place and the transport to get       Sudan has made reducing maternal and           “Lack of transportation is also a huge
there are the final steps to saving lives.   neonatal mortality one of its top priorities   barrier to obtaining antenatal check-
However, in South Sudan, only the            with a new focus on a basic package of         ups and emergency obstetric care.”
most fortunate women are able to             primary health-care services—those that           On the ground, USAID and its part-
reach emergency obstetric care services      have the highest impact.                       ners are working specifically to address
due to the country’s dearth of good             Responding to this new focused              women’s concerns. This includes
roads and public transportation. Because     approach, USAID is partnering with             reducing cost concerns by promoting
basic and emergency obstetric care is        the Ministry of Health and coordinat-          free health services; reducing percep-
so lacking, less than one-half of one        ing closely with other health develop-         tions of poor service quality by train-
percent of pregnancies are delivered         ment partners to address the root              ing health-care providers and ensuring
via Caesarean section—the lowest rate        causes of maternal mortality and new-          drug availability; and mobilizing and
in Africa.                                   born deaths. There has been modest             educating the community by enabling
   Without skilled birth attendants,         progress. By delivering equipment for          community leaders and health officials
life-saving drugs, transportation, or        labor and delivery wards, improving            to take the lead in generating demand
accessible emergency obstetric care,         availability of essential antenatal care       for more and better health services.
many women have no options if their          and maternal health drugs, training                In practice, it works like this: Wor-
deliveries become perilous.                  health-care providers in detecting high-       ried about losing a third baby, Suzanna
                                             risk pregnancies and other danger              Ile learns about alternative delivery
A LTHOUGH DECADES of civil                   signs, and strengthening the quality of        options during an antenatal care visit to
war badly degraded much of South             care in health facilities like Lokiliri,       a USAID-trained midwife working at
Sudan’s health care services, efforts in     USAID is working on behalf of women            the Lokiliri Centre. Acting on the
the past six years by the Ministry of        like Ile to build the capacity of South        advice of the midwife, she chooses to
Health and its health development            Sudan’s health system.                         deliver by Caesarean section at Juba
partners such as USAID have improved            “Furthering the recent gains made in        Teaching and Referral Hospital, and her
infant and child survival rates.             child health while addressing the root         son, Modi, is now a healthy 2-year-old.
   Even before independence, over the        causes impeding improvement of sur-               Offering advice to other women in
past five years USAID/South Sudan’s          vival rates of pregnant women and              her community, Ile says: “To the ones
health programs concentrated on a            mothers is the top objective of the Health     who prefer delivery on their own, [a
small set of high-impact maternal and        Office of USAID/South Sudan, as it is          hospital delivery] is their chance [for a
child health services using simple, cost-    for the new Republic of South Sudan,”          safe delivery if complications arise].”
effective prevention and treatment           said USAID/South Sudan Senior Health              USAID/South Sudan now intends
measures to counter the most common          Adviser Pamela Teichman.                       to intensify its use of high-impact,
illnesses or causes of deaths. The high-        One of those impediments is a wary          low-cost, evidence-based interventions
impact child health services translated      population’s skepticism of such ser-           for better maternal, neonatal, and infant
into significant gains. The under-5 child    vices. In South Sudan, a hospital visit        health outcomes.
mortality rate declined by roughly 22        to give birth is an anomaly. Over 85              The Agency is joining with the
percent between 2006 and 2010.               percent of women deliver their babies          South Sudan Ministry of Health to
   Sadly, during the same time period,       at home. And of this great majority,           meet its goal of reducing maternal and
the best efforts of the South Sudanese       only 10 percent are cared for by skilled       under-5 mortality by 20 percent within
public health sector and its partners did    health personnel.                              the first three years of statehood by
not result in the same strides in reduc-        “Women’s concerns about quality,            more aggressively addressing the main
ing maternal and newborn mortality,          cleanliness, lack of privacy and cost of       killers of mothers and newborns. ■

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                               21
Photo by Paul Elkan, Wildlife Conservation Society

                                                     A herd of white-eared kob runs
                                                     across an expanse of what is now
                                                     South Sudan.

                      Wildlife Migration
                          Untouched by
                       Decades of War                                                                 By Angela Rucker

Elephants, giraffe, buffalo,                        . HI L E T H E people        whose results were published in 2010—
and the white-eared kob have                          around them battled in     that anyone knew for certain that those
                                                     Sudan’s 22-year war, the    animals survived a war that killed an
roamed South Sudan’s bucolic                        white-eared kob followed     estimated 2 million people.
regions in vast numbers for years.   the seasonal migration corridors that          Many did. Now the challenge is
Last year, a USAID-backed            their ancestors likely pounded for          keeping them alive.
                                     centuries. And that is what saved their        “The irony is that, during the
mapping project revealed that
                                     lives.                                      war, some of the animal natural
their centuries-old migration was       Elephants, giraffe, buffalo, and ante-   resources actually fared OK,” said
untouched by 22 years of war.        lope species like the white-eared kob       David Gosney, team leader for eco-
The finding has also helped to       have roamed South Sudan’s bucolic           nomic growth at USAID/South
                                     regions in vast numbers for years. But      Sudan. “But as South Sudan starts
dramatically raise the country’s     it wasn’t until a USAID-backed map-         to develop, the threats are going to
wildlife profile.                    ping project—that began in 2007 and         increase.”

   FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                     23

   Now that South Sudan is a newly The three-year, $14 million effort                  agenda. This will help us achieve peace
independent country, it is facing mon- documented the numbers and types                dividends and long-lasting benefits for
umental challenges. And while pro- of wildlife in the Boma-Jonglei land-               the people of South Sudan.”
tecting wildlife may not seem like a scape —first with men in trucks, then                WCS’s Deutsch agreed that South
top priority compared with other airplanes, and eventually satellites                  Sudan’s wildlife and natural resources
weighty issues, the subject has none- and GPS tracking equipment—creat-                are “vital” to the country’s future,
theless attracted high-level interest – ing a road map for conservation and            but added that the risks to those nat-
and support.                              land use.                                    ural resources are “significant and
   “South Sudan relies almost entirely       The region is home to what many           increasing.”
on oil revenue to fund its budget and believe is the world’s greatest mam-                Oil and timber companies are eager
all its expenditures,” Gosney said. mal migrations. Many feared war                    to come into the country and exploit
“Over time they really need to capture would decimate this age-old cycle,              the natural resources. Not only would
and develop their resources in other but the project estimates that today              they extract or cut the products they
areas, and this includes South Sudan’s there are 1.2 million white-eared kob,          need, the companies would need to
rich biodiversity.”                       tiang, Mongalla gazelle, reedbuck,           build roads and other infrastructure in
   On July 6, just three days before the and other animals and birds roaming           or near the landscape.
country celebrated its independence, the region.                                          “Across Africa we have seen an
USAID, the Wild life Conservation            The USAID-funded Boma-Jonglei-            escalation in the illegal international
Society, and the South Sudan gov- Equatoria Landscape Program now is                   trade in ivory over the past few years,
ernment opened new headquarters for turning its focus to find the best ways            and this has escalated the poaching
Badingilo National Park in Central to protect the region’s plant and ani-              threat to elephants immensely,”
and Eastern Equatoria, just two hours’ mal life, and to provide for as many as         Deutsch added. “Meanwhile, the
drive from the capital of                                 17 ethnic groups that        rehabilitation of Southern Sudan’s
Juba, which will serve as                                 rely on the region for       infrastructure, returning of dis-
a showcase for South          MORE ONLINE                 their livelihoods. It is     placed people, combined with prolif-
Sudanese wildlife. It         See the National            looking at ways to           eration of small arms, has increased
was just late last year       Geographic series           strengthen national and      the threat.”
that wildlife and devel-      and a USAID blog            local government offices,       That could bring the kind of trouble
opment experts along          at           civil society organiza-      to South Sudan’s white-eared kob that
with South Sudanese           frontlines.                 tions, and local commu-      it and its animal brothers and sisters
officials discovered just                                 nity groups to manage        were able to avoid for two decades.
how impressive that                                       the landscape sustain-          The white-eared kob was among the
habitat remains.                          ably, reduce conflict, and improve           featured animals in National Geo-
   WCS calls the 200,000-square- security.                                             graphic Channel’s Great Migrations, a
kilometer Boma-Jonglei landscape in          “This is a great window of opportu-       seven-part series that showed the jour-
South Sudan the largest, substantially nity to address the root causes of many         neys of a variety of creatures as they fol-
intact wildlife habitat in East Africa. of the threats to land, security, natural      low patterns that ensure their species
In addition to animals, the region resources, and biodiversity,” said Dan-             will survive. The shows first aired in fall
includes high altitude plateaus, iel Wani, South Sudan’s undersecre-                   2010 and clips remain available online.
wooded and grassland savannas, and tary for the Ministry of Wildlife                      The TV series and article in National
wetlands. It has the potential to rival Conservation and Tourism.                      Geographic magazine that talked about
the famed Serengeti of East Africa,          “It is critical,” he added, “that prag-   Sudan raised the profile of the coun-
says James Deutsch, executive director matic conservation, land-use planning,          try’s wildlife.
for Africa Programs for WCS.              and sustainable development objectives          “It was largely due to this project,”
   WCS partnered with USAID and and approaches be integrated into the                  said USAID’s Gosney, who calls the
South Sudan on the mapping project. reconstruction and development                     reams of data the project generated

                                                                                                                                                                SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN
Photo by Julie Larsen Maher, Wildlife Conservation Society

                                                             critical to its success. “The discovery (of   enthusiastic about conserving their            In addition to agricultural develop-
                                                             animals untouched by war) by the proj-        natural resources and telling the world     ment, ecotourism is the income-
                                                             ect in a sense really began the process of    about their wildlife even before the        generating idea that is moving the
                                                             putting us back on the radar screen.”         signing of the Comprehensive Peace          fastest. Some high-end tour com-
                                                                Land-use plans developed by the            Agreement in 2005,” said Deutsch.           panies are already making plans to
                                                             project will help guide the government           Gosney tells the story of a USAID        come into South Sudan.
                                                             in its next steps to manage the sensi-        colleague who took a flight over Boma-         Such efforts have proved successful
                                                             tive areas with care. The project con-        Jonglei with a colleague from South         in other African nations, including in
                                                             tinues to document wildlife in the            Sudan. The Sudanese man broke into          Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana,
                                                             landscape as well as provide training         tears. “It was such a sense of pride and    and Namibia, said Deutsch.
                                                             to rangers and build necessary infra-         ownership in seeing it that it really          “The challenge of balancing livestock
                                                             structure such as ranger housing and          affected him. It was an area that he        and agricultural development, petro-
                                                             training centers.                             grew up in,” Gosney said.                   leum and mineral development, and
                                                                Another key to protecting the                 “The idea,” he said, “is to work with    landscape and wildlife conservation is
                                                             region—the people who call it home—           the communities around the park to          substantial in South Sudan,” he added,
                                                             already appears to be in place.               feel real ownership and benefit from        “but we are confident that this … new
                                                                “The people and leaders of South           its creation. There’s a real desire to do   nation can learn valuable lessons from
                                                             Sudan… have been supportive and               the right thing.”                           the past 20 years in Africa.” ■

                                                             FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                            25

South Sudan’s Greenbelt
continued from p. 17                       than 300 farmers in her county, and        productivity and income, they need a
                                           has cultivated at least half a feddan      commercial structure to link to.
turn should lead to higher rural incomes,  with other farmers to help them prac-         In May, USAID, the Netherlands,
improved food security, and better         tice the new techniques and best prac-     the Alliance for a Green Revolution in
economic opportunities for the poor.       tices she teaches them.                    Africa, and the International Fertilizer
   James Sworo, chairman of the Julu-         Women are a particular focus of         Development Center signed a commu-
kita farmer association in Kajo Keji,      USAID’s agriculture efforts as they        niqué agreeing to help develop South
Central Equatoria state, participated in   produce most of Africa’s food. “It is      Sudan’s commercial agriculture sector
one of the USAID-funded train-                                                               in collaboration with the gov-
ing workshops. When he                                                                       ernment.
arrived, he was like most other                                                                 Workshops have already been
South Sudanese farmers who                                                                   held to craft an outline for a
traditionally plant numerous                                                                 national program to promote
seeds—as many as 10 in each                                                                  commercialization of agriculture
hole—due to their low germina-                                                               and enhanced food security.
tion rates. During the training                                                              Plans are in the works to launch
workshop, however, Sworo                                                                     a campaign to highlight agricul-
learned the seeds from USAID                                                                 tural opportunities for small-
were of higher quality. They also                                                            holder farmers and to roll out a
had been treated with insecti-                                                               voucher program to provide up
cides and fungicides.                                                                        to 200,000 farmers with high-
   Sworo set aside half a feddan                                                             yielding seeds and fertilizers.
(0.42 hectares) to test the seeds                                                               A U.S.-South Sudan partner-
                                                                                         Photo by Redento Tombe

and follow the instructions from                                                             ship in higher education will pro-
the training. Two months later,                                                              duce graduates trained in
the difference was clear—the                                                                 agriculture, support and develop
maize planted from improved                                                                  knowledge through research
seeds was growing higher and                                                                 and testing, and create a quality
healthier than in the other fed- Farmer James Sworo with the maize he planted two            university-based outreach pro-
dans. The results convinced Sworo    months previously in Kajo Keji County, South Sudan.     gram that addresses South Sudan’s
to fully adopt the one-seed-per-hole                                                         long-term agricultural and natu-
rule next season.                         the smallholder farmers, most of ral resource-management needs. Par-
   “We can stop importing food from whom are women, who will deter- ticipating schools are the University
Uganda by increasing the food we pro- mine whether or not this effort suc- of Juba, Virginia State University, Vir-
duce,” Sworo said. “Then we can start ceeds,” USAID Administrator Rajiv ginia Polytechnic Institute and State
selling food to them.”                    Shah said during a visit to South University (Virginia Tech), and Catho-
   Esther Dima Kidden, an agriculture Sudan in May.                                   lic University of Sudan.
extension officer in Yei County, Central     USAID is promoting women’s live-            “Higher education in agriculture in
Equatoria state, arrived at a USAID- lihoods through training and the for- South Sudan is experiencing tremen-
sponsored training with a newborn mation of women’s farmer organiza- dous challenges, including lack of
baby on her back. Despite the responsi- tions—there are now 10. USAID is equipment and laboratories for soil and
bilities of motherhood, Kidden has also tracking how training is benefit- water sciences, lack of qualified instruc-
become one of the most successful ing women.                                          tors, and no collaborative research with
extension workers in the program. In         But for smallholder farmers, includ- international and regional partner insti-
the past year, she has worked with more ing women, to improve their tutions,” said Ambassador R. Barrie

                                                                                                 SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN

Walkley, the U.S. consul general in South   products to be marketed. We put in          local officials, and the minister of
Sudan. “We must all work together           three electrical systems in three differ-   agriculture, making it clear the high
to help address some of these issues,       ent market towns and we contributed         level of interest USAID had in sup-
including post-conflict reconstruction      significantly to the water system in        porting agriculture to improve food
and development.”                           Juba itself.                                security but also to diversify the
   USAID is also working with Citi-            Juba, which is now a nation’s capi-      economy and make a transforma-
bank, the International Finance Cor-        tal, was basically still a garrison town    tional change in agriculture. He
poration, the Corporate Council on          in 2005, meaning the armed forces           made it clear to the government and
Africa, and others to help the new          from the north still controlled Juba.       people of Southern Sudan that
nation market and attract private capi-     And it didn’t change hands to the           USAID intended to be a major and
tal and investors in key sectors, includ-   Sudan People’s Liberation Army              transformational partner to expand
ing agriculture. The Agency will partner    (SPLA) until after the peace agree-         agriculture in Southern Sudan, which
with the World Bank, African Devel-         ment was signed in 2005. At that time,      has so much potential.
opment Bank, European Union, and            nearly all the infrastructure—the
Japan to organize sector-specific private   sewer system, the electrical system, the    FL: Are you optimistic for the future
investor conferences, including one on      water system, and the road system—          of Sudan and South Sudan?
agriculture.                                dated back to pre-independence days
   “Developing a vibrant agriculture        before 1956. During the time of the         Hammink: I’m cautiously optimis-
industry in South Sudan is critical to      wars and between the wars, there was        tic. Clearly, change is going to take
moving this war-decimated country           very little investment there.               time, especially when only 15 or 20
down the path toward recovery and,             So again, not only is South Sudan        percent of the population are liter-
eventually, prosperity,” said David         starting from scratch in terms of the       ate, especially when they have some
Hughes, chief of party of the USAID-        institutions and new government and         of the worst health—maternal and
funded Food, Agribusiness, and Rural        a new legal framework, but also in          child mortality—statistics in the
Markets (FARM) Project. “Agricul-           terms of infrastructure.                    world.
tural revitalization does not entail any                                                   But the Sudanese people are
single project, but encompasses every-      FL: What are some of the most affect-       incredibly gracious. They’re incredi-
thing from building farming skills, to      ing memories or experiences you take        bly interested in improving their
securing high-quality tools and mate-       away from your time in Sudan?               livelihoods, improving their situa-
rials, to working with the private sec-                                                 tion, and I think the excitement
tor to develop markets, to cultivating a    Hammink: I’d definitely say it was          from the whole referendum, the
knowledge base and infrastructure to        Independence Day when I was up on           independence, will now lead over in
ensure that progress is sustained.” ■       the stands with other diplomats and         the south to doing the right thing in
                                            VIPs and looking out and seeing over        terms of the policies for health care
Hammink                                     a hundred thousand South Sudanese.          and for education, for accountability
continued from p. 19                        When the flag was raised on South           and transparency, for anti-corrup-
                                            Sudan for the first time, you could just    tion. But clearly the jury’s out.
kilometers between Juba, the new cap-       feel the earth trembling. People were          It’s a brand-new country, and
ital of South Sudan, and the Ugandan        clapping and shaking and jumping            they’ve only had five years of trying
border.                                     around. And, you know, there was just       to put in systems and institutions
   The Agency also constructed about        this palpable excitement in the air.        and procedures, and train people to
262 kilometers of all-weather road in          Another important memory was             make it work. And so it’s going to
Western Equatoria state which has           when Administrator [Rajiv] Shah             take a lot of continued partnership
made a huge impact on the security          came and visited some agriculture           and support from the international
there, as well as allowing agriculture      fields. He was talking to the farmers,      community and from USAID. ■

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                       27

                                               MESSAGE FROM
                                             U S A I D’s E d u c at i o n C h ie f

                                READY TO ENGAGE:
     Agency Education Strategy Set to Take Off
                                          By RICHARD W HELDEN

         FTER 30 Y E A R S at                                                                  Additionally, the upcoming
          USAID, one gets the                                                               launch of the Education Grand
           opportunity to par-                                                              Challenge and the Mobiles for
             ticipate in dozens of                                                          Education Coalition (see article
incredible ventures. But it is                                                              on page 38), are two new critical
my newest role as director of                                                               USAID programs that will chal-
education for which I have the                                                              lenge us to innovate, coordi-
highest hopes.                                                                              nate, and champion education
   With USAID’s 50th anniver-                                                               at USAID.
sar y soon approaching, it is                                                                  We will also be concentrating
exciting to look back at all of                                                             on the creation of an Education
                                                                                     Photo by USAID

the amazing education programs                                                              Community of Practice both
that have been completed, and                                                               inside USAID and through
even more exciting to look for-                                                             external opportunities, linking
ward to the ones we have                                                                    us closer to the global education
planned.                           Richard Whelden is director of the Agency’s Office of    community, enabling us to work
   The ability to change a life    Education.                                               smarter and more effectively
through education is one of the                                                             with other donors, the private
most critical skills that USAID          education for all—are the three goals              sector, governments, higher edu-
can support. Reading is the single of USAID’s new Education Strategy. I cation, education NGOs, implement-
most important skill in early educa- am proud of the strategy                                        ers, students, teachers,
tion and provides a child with an and the hard work done                                             parents and others to cre-
opening to a world of knowledge and by USAID’s education                 MORE ONLINE                 ate a community that
greater economic and developmental staff across the Agency               For more on USAID’s         stimulates thought-lead-
opportunities. Education doesn’t stop who made it come to                work in education           ership, that celebrates
with literacy: preparing our students life. The strategy pro-            and to read the new         innovation, that creates
for success in the workforce is equally vides us with three criti-       strategy see: www.          sustainable solutions, and
important, as is ensuring that every- cal goals with measurable         that ultimately helps us
one, even those in remote parts of the deliverables expected by          education_and_              reach the ambitious goals
world or places affected by conflict, 2015. My focus, and                universities/               we have set for education.
have access to education.                that of all the USAID                                          This edition of Front­
   In fact, these three ideas—literacy, education community, will be to reach Lines was an excellent opportunity for
workforce development, and access to these goals.                                      us to showcase just a few of the


projects and activities that highlight     grade reading in Egypt and Nicaragua.       articles on education available in the
our new strategy, where it will lead us,      For Goal 2, workforce development        online edition of FrontLines, includ-
and the lives we are impacting along       and higher education, we explore pro-       ing articles on: Green Schools in
the way. Some of the topics include        jects in Algeria, El Salvador, and Mexico   Kosovo, workforce skills-building pro-
higher education, mobile technology,       (see articles on pages 40 and 44).          grams in Armenia and Macedonia,
and school safety.                            For Goal 3, ensuring access to edu-      and overcoming disabilities in Uganda.
   For Goal 1, increasing literacy and     cation in conflict and crisis countries,    Thanks for taking the time to engage
reading of 100 million children in pri-    we highlight work in South Sudan.           in education! ■
mary school by 2015, we look at early      Don’t miss the amazing additional

                                                                                                                                Photo by Hugo González, ACME Producciones

A young student at his school in Santa Cruz del Quiché in Quiché, Guatemala. USAID works with the country’s Ministry of
Education to improve educational quality, particularly for rural, indigenous students.

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                       29

USAID’s Global Education                                                                  Richard Whelden, the new director of
                                                                                          USAID’s Education Office within the

Footprint Takes Shape
                                                                                          Bureau for Economic Growth, Agri-
                                                                                          culture and Trade. “The new Educa-
                                                                                          tion Strategy challenges USAID and
By Mitch Kirby and Garth Willis                                                           the donor community to focus not on
                                                                                          inputs to school systems,” Whelden

                                                                                          said, “but on the key outcomes educa-
           HILDREN IN THE devel- took a more broad-brush approach to                      tion investments are meant to pro-
           oping world often go to great education programming. In particular,            duce. This principle guides our new
           lengths just to go to school, it provides for measurable, time-bound           strategy as well as the rest of USAID’s
           often commuting miles on targets.                                              development agenda.”
foot. Dilapidated schoolhouses, tents,                                                       Rather than focus on getting stu-
the shade of a tree, or even open fields THREE GOALS ANCHOR the new                       dents to class, the first goal of the strat-
frequently serve as classrooms. They strategy. The first goal aims to improve             egy addresses the quality of the lessons
struggle to finish homework by candle- reading skills for 100 million children            those children receive as measured by
light—hoping they can find the paper in the primary grades by 2015; the sec-              student achievement.
and pencil to finish assignments. Other ond goal supports higher education                   “At the end of the day, to achieve the
children cannot attend school due to and workforce development to gener-                  first goal, the number of teachers we
armed conflict or natural disasters.          ate workforce skills relevant to a coun-    train, the classrooms that get renovated,
   So it stands to reason that these cou- try’s development; and the third goal           and the textbooks that get delivered are
rageous efforts to obtain an education seeks to provide equitable access to               inconsequential if they cannot be shown
should result in becoming literate and education for 15 million children and              to result in children learning,” said
having more opportunities. But, the young adults by 2015.                                 David Barth, the former director of
evidence often shows otherwise. Im-              Today, more than 70 million chil-        USAID’s Office of Education who
prov ing access alone does not neces- dren do not go to school. But there are             helped design the new strategy.
sarily lead to improved learning, future many millions more who attend school                The second strategic goal supports
opportunities, and career                                   but are not learning the      higher education and workforce devel-
success.                                                    basic education skills they   opment, ensuring that students obtain
   USAID’s new Educa-           MORE ONLINE                 need to survive in a mod-     relevant skills as they become adults
tion Strategy, released in      For more on USAID’s         ern, globalized world.        and go in search of work and careers.
February 2011, commits          work in education           The statistics are jarring.   As globalization creates an increasing
the Agency to ensuring          and to read the new         Recent studies found that     demand for higher-level skills, a grow-
that its education pro-         strategy see: www.          more than 70 percent of       ing number of young people in devel-
grams deliver measurable         primary school children       oping countries find themselves without
and sustainable results         education_and_              in Mali, Pakistan, and        the relevant assets to realize their poten-
and focus squarely on           universities/               Peru still cannot read at     tial and fully participate in and contrib-
measureable achievement                                     grade level after having      ute to economic development.
in the early grades, access to education regularly attended classes. Studies in              USAID wants to expand student
that has been disrupted due to conflict Mali and Uganda revealed that more                access to the kinds of skills they will
and crisis, and support for higher edu- than 50 percent of students at the end            need, particularly by strengthening
cation and workforce development.             of grade two could not read even a          host-country institutions; improving
   The five-year strategy lays out a way single word.                                     the relevance of education, training,
forward for USAID’s education activi-            “Such problems need to be identi-        and applied research; fostering strate-
ties that depart from past efforts that fied and corrected far earlier,” said             gic partnerships between U.S. and host


                                                                                                                                     Photo by USAID
A teacher in Nicaragua gets involved in the work of a group. She uses materials created by students and hung on the walls of
the classroom.

country institutions; and promoting           Working directly with these children         environments. Overall, the new USAID
public-private collaborations.             at the primary or even secondary level          Education Strategy directly responds to
   The third goal focuses on providing     of their educations—even in the midst           the principles of USAID Forward by
equitable access to education in envi-     of dire circumstances—has been shown            providing clear focus areas based on
ronments affected by conflict and cri-     to reduce the likelihood of future con-         evidence of effectiveness.
sis for as many as 15 million children     flicts. A growing body of research look-           “USAID’s efforts to assess and
and young adults by 2015. Nearly 40        ing at Rwanda, Kosovo, Nepal, and               reshape its education strategy required
million children do not attend school      other countries suggests the inverse—           that we make a number of hard choices
because they live in countries affected    that poor quality education is a contrib-       regarding program focus. However, I
by armed conflict. Millions more have      uting factor to outbreaks of conflict.          am confident that this more focused
been displaced by either fighting or          Improving equitable access represents        strategy, with its increased emphasis
natural disasters like the flooding that   the commitment of USAID to reach                on the quality of learning outcomes,
decimated large swaths of Pakistan in      learners in the most challenging and dif-       equitable access in conflict and crisis
the summer of 2010 or the devastat-        ficult environments and the understand-         contexts, and support for higher edu-
ing earthquake that struck Haiti ear-      ing that it may serve as a first step towards   cation and workforce development
lier that same year. Children who live     achieving stability. In total, a significant    will advance the Agency’s overall mis-
in lawless and crime-plagued commu-        portion of USAID’s education programs           sion to help the next generation in the
nities also often cannot attend school.    take place in conflict and crisis-affected      developing world,” said Whelden. ■

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                            31

Despite gender equality in access to
                                           Early Edu
schooling in Nicaragua, boys have higher
drop-out rates than girls. Because                YOUNG
                                              THE PATH TO
of economic reasons, especially in
rural areas, the chances of a dropout
returning to school are minimal.
                                      By Jordi Icaza and Michael Lisman

                                               IGHT-YEAR-OLD Roberto
                                               Rodríguez is trying to read a
                                               story about Mary’s lost cat.
                                               While many of the other kids
                                      at his rural school in Nicaragua can
                                      easily get through the story and
                                      answer questions, Roberto feels like
                                      giving up.
                                         The other kids can tell the teacher
                                      all about the plot—where the cat was,
                                      how they found her, how many kittens
                                      she was protecting. Roberto cannot.
                                      Unfortunately, Roberto’s reading prob-
                                      lems are not unique.
                                         While Nicaragua, along with much
                                      of Latin America, has made tremen-
                                      dous gains in getting parents to enroll
                                      children in school—for example, pri-
                                      mary enrollment increased from 75
                                      percent to 87 percent between 2000
                                      and 2009—keeping them there and
                                      assuring they learn remain difficult
                                         The Central American country loses
                                      millions of dollars every year due to
                                      grade repetition and drop-outs; recent
                                      indicators suggest nearly one-third of
                                      all Nicaraguan students either repeat or
                                      quit the first grade. Research also indi-
                                      cates that illiteracy is closely correlated
                                      with these trends. Almost half of Nicara-
                                      guan third-graders scored at the lowest

ucation Sets
                                      levels—earning a 0 or 1 out of a possi-
                                      ble 4—on the most recent UNESCO
                                      regional literacy achievement test.
                                         Both USAID and the Government
                                      of Nicaragua share a commitment to
                                      improving reading outcomes in the

 NICARAGUANS ON                       early grades of primary school.
                                         “Identifying problems in reading and

O ACADEMIC SUCCESS                    promoting early grade reading is crucial
                                      for further educational development,”
                     Photo by USAID

                                      said Richard Whelden, the director of


                                                                                                             another; it is key to continue learning
                                                                                                             and have fun and to understand other
                                                                                                             classes in school.”
                                                                                                                Over the course of the three-year
                                                                                                             project, almost 7,000 students in sec-
                                                                                                             ond, third, and fourth grades were
                                                                                                             tested in Spanish in 126 schools
                                                                                                             throughout the country using the
                                                                                                             EGRA tool. While it’s not appropriate
                                                                                                             to directly attribute prevented drop-
                                                                                                             outs to EGRA, the hundreds of Nica-
                                                                                                             raguans trained in the methodology
                                                                                                             agree that it provides a critical tool for
Photo by USAID

                                                                                                             early identification of children most at
                                                                                                             risk for falling behind or dropping out.
                                                                                                                The Nicaraguan Government also
                                                                                                             agrees. Throughout the implementa-
                 A girl in school writes out the words, then draws the concepts. Through fun                 tion of EGRA, the Nicaragua Minis-
                 activities, learning can be made easier.                                                    try of Education worked to integrate
                                                                                                             its survey tools into its own operations.
                 USAID’s Office of Education. “And            2007 to 2010, supported Nicaraguan             This included commissioning EGRA-
                 identifying children who have problems       efforts to improve the quality of pri-         related teacher training workshops
                 in reading and getting them help before      mary education by helping to detect            and best-practice videos to ensure that
                 they drop out or fail is the best way to     and correct early grade reading prob-          primary school teachers used EGRA
                 ensure academic success and keep them        lems that could follow students through        in the classroom. These tools will help
                 inside the education system.”                school and beyond.                             provide an educational safety net to
                    As outlined in the new USAID                 EGRA used a simple written                  thousands of young Nicaraguan stu-
                 Education Strategy, early grade read-        and oral test to assess the extent to          dents moving forward.
                 ing competency is a fundamental build-       which young students learn to read.               The Nicaraguan Government has a
                 ing block for retention of students and      The assessment identified specific             long tradition of promoting reading
                 success in future grades. This is critical   reading challenges—from identify-              improvement at all levels and has
                 for children from poor communities           ing letters of the alphabet to reading         recently prioritized early grade reading
                 where basic reading skills may be            and listening comprehension—and                in its strategic plans and long-term
                 particularly lacking.                        indicated remedial work necessary              goals, including with its Batalla por el
                    According to the strategy, “Early         before the end of the school year.             Primer Grado, or Battle for First Grade,
                 grade reading competency is critical         This, in turn, made the crucial differ-        a campaign designed to have all chil-
                 for continued retention and success in       ence in learning to read at grade level        dren reading at grade level by the end
                 future grades…. Children who do not          and helped minimize the risk for rep-          of their first year of primary school.
                 attain reading skills at the primary         etition or dropout.                               At the 2010 International All Chil-
                 level are on a lifetime trajectory of lim-       Vanessa Castro from Centro de              dren Reading by 2015 workshop held in
                 ited educational progress and therefore      Investigación y Acción Educativa Social,       Washington, D.C., the Nicaragua Min-
                 limited economic and developmental           or CIASES, a USAID implementer on              istry of Education unveiled plans to
                 opportunity.”                                education projects, explained: “Reading        make EGRA a part of the national assess-
                    USAID’s Early Grade Reading Assess-       is key in the learning process; it is key as   ment system and to train all first-grade
                 ment (EGRA) project, which ran from          a social tool to communicate with one          teachers to conduct and use EGRA.


                    Even earlier than EGRA, in 2005,         by visiting a local river, or improv-         The private sector is also helping
                 USAID/Nicaragua launched the four-          ing math skills by simulating market       convert children to early and success-
                 year EXCELENCIA program. The proj-          visits.                                    ful readers. In December 2009, several
                 ect stressed modern teaching practices,        The project, which worked with over     private companies kicked off the read-
                 child-centered educational techniques,      3,000 grade schools and covered nearly     ing campaign Todos a Leer, or “Every-
                 and community participation to increase     half of grade school students—estab-       one, Let’s Read.”
                 student retention and promotion rates at    lished a mentoring program whereby            Inspired by EGRA, the campaign
                 nearly 3,000 schools. At least one school   schools successfully implementing the      developed reading contests for first
                 in every municipality in the country,       program were paired with non-partici-      graders and awarded prizes to students
                 including 100 schools in the under-         pating schools to assist them in apply-    and teachers who met certain reading
                 served, multiethnic autonomous regions      ing the same methodologies.                benchmarks. A second campaign in
                 on the Atlantic Coast, participated in         According to the closing report         2011 attracted participation from six
                 the project.                                from the EXCELENCIA Project, data          NGOs and private companies, includ-
                    Rather than focusing on repetition       suggest notable gains in cognitive abil-   ing Save the Children and communi-
                 as a learning base, as is common in         ity amongst children enrolled in           cations giant Telefonica.
                 many schools in Nicaragua, the              EXCELENCIA schools, as well as an             USAID is currently working with
                 EXCELENCIA program used the                 increase in primary completion rates       190 Nicaraguan schools through its
                 “Learn, Practice and Apply” method—         compared to national averages: An          2010 Alliances 2 project, with plans to
                 APA in Spanish, which relies on build-      estimated 62 percent of students in        expand that figure to 350 by engaging
                 ing students’ competencies through          well-established EXCELENCIA men-           the private sector. The project aims
                 applied learning rather than memori-        tor schools, who started primary           to expand access to quality education
                 zation. On any given day, children in       school in 2002, graduated from sixth       and health services—including work
                 EXCELENCIA schools might be con-            grade in 2007. This compares with an       in nutrition, maternal and child
                 ducting experiments with household          average of only 40 percent for students    health, and HIV/AIDS—by leveraging
                 goods, learning about the environment       in primary schools nationwide.             private investment, and will focus
                                                                                                        on increasing reading with fluency
                                                                                                        and comprehension.
                                                                                                           “USAID/Nicaragua, through its
                                                                                                        innovative and targeted education
                                                                                                        projects, has laid the groundwork for
                                                                                                        students’ successful schooling careers,”
                                                                                                        said Kirk Dahlgren, acting mission
                                                                                                        director. “The challenge ahead is to
                                                                                                        ensure that the knowledge and skills
                                                                                                        gained by teachers and administrators
                                                                                                        in the EGRA and EXCELENCIA proj-
                                                                                                        ects continues to benefit the children of
Photo by USAID

                                                                                                           That could mean students like
                                                                                                        Roberto Rodríguez will have a better
                                                                                                        chance of catching up to their better-
                                                                                                        read classmates, giving them an early
                 Kids in the EXCELENCIA schools are encouraged to work together. The smiling            start on a lifetime of reading, learning,
                 boy, center, was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. “An honest man”           and preparing them to contribute to
                 was his answer.                                                                        the global economy. ■

                 FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                          35
                                                                                                                                 Photo by USAID
Phonemic awareness—the ability
to identify letter sounds—is a key to
decoding and reading new words,
and became the focus of a USAID-
supported reading instructional
package for Egyptian teachers.

                                        SHAKES UP
                                                          THE CLASSROOM
With one revolution on its              shaking off stodgy practices and gen-       challenges and how they affect enroll-
streets, another is transforming        der stereotypes—and both girls and          ment, attendance, and achievement—
                                        boys are reaping the benefits.              particularly for girls—in grades one
its schools. A USAID-supported             “I started teaching Arabic 12 years      through nine in underserved, rural
education program is helping            ago,” said Ibrahim Salah, a preparatory     parts of the country.
teachers replace antiquated             school teacher in Beni Suef governorate.       To assist the Ministry of Education in
                                        “I simply followed the same teaching        responding to these challenges, USAID
learning methods with active
                                        patterns that I grew up seeing teachers     is working to re-energize thousands of
methodologies. Early results are        apply; mostly depending on inculca-         teachers like Salah in their pursuit of
extremely promising.                    tion, without giving students much          educational excellence by injecting an
                                        opportunity to actually participate and     active-learning approach and enhanced
By Peter Cvelich                        to express themselves inside the class.”    reading instruction into the classroom.

                                           Many of Egypt’s schools have pro-        The flagship initiative, dubbed the Girls’
         P THE NILE RIVER and           moted the same techniques, with pre-        Improved Learning Outcomes (GILO)
         far from Tahrir Square, a      dictable results: disinterested students,   project, is currently active in four Upper
         quiet revolution is stirring   frustrated teachers, and low levels of      Egypt governorates.
         the schools of rural Egypt.    learning, particularly in Arabic reading.      Since its inception in 2008, the proj-
Thousands of teachers, intent on           The Egyptian Ministry of Educa-          ect has trained nearly 9,000 teachers in
invigorating their classrooms, are      tion has recognized such classroom          340 schools in instructional methods


such as dialogue, brainstorming, and           supervisors in the same teaching tech-      biggest deficits in Egypt’s schools: poor
role-playing—active learning meth-             niques and has empowered the most           performance in Arabic reading.
ods—that move beyond the traditional           successful teachers to become coaches          “We have a lot of evidence that our
lecture style to truly engage students.        or trainers for their peers.                kids in grades one, two, and three—even
Training has included enhanced class-             “I was one of the teachers objecting     grade four—are illiterate,” said Reda
room management methods such as                to active learning at the beginning,”       Abou Serie, first deputy to the minister
arranging the classroom to facilitate          said Asharf Samir, an Arabic language       of education. “It is a huge complaint all
group work, developing a code of con-          teacher in Beni Suef. “But I’m now one      across the country that students are not
duct with students to promote a colle-         of the vocal advocates of these strate-     able to read and write properly.”
gial atmosphere, and creating a safe           gies after applying it in my classes and       In 2010, the GILO project conducted
learning environment for girls.                witnessing the impact on students.”         an early grade reading assessment in
   Students have responded.                    Samir joined the first corps of peer        Arabic in grades two through four in
   “Most notably, those who had been           trainers in active learning techniques.     Upper Egypt. The oral assessment, con-
performing really poorly—cases I had              “The local community, realizing          ducted one-on-one with individual stu-
thought hopeless—their participation           the change in the attitudes of teach-       dents, revealed that while nearly half of
increased and their interaction signifi-       ers, students and administrators, has       second graders met the benchmark for
cantly improved,” said Salah.                  developed respect for the school,” he       identifying letter names, 50 percent of
   He noted the case of Salima, a very         said.                                       those tested could not identify a single
timid, disengaged 14-year-old girl who            A little fun and games can go a long     letter sound.
he nudged to take part in role play.           way in transforming the learning               Identifying letter sounds is more cru-
“She responded very positively to my           experience. But, within the active learn-   cial to decoding words than knowing the
encouragement and prepared her role            ing framework, the Ministry of Educa-       letter names. Consequently, more than
[so] well that she astonished her class        tion still has to address one of the                               continued on p. 48
and me with her performance,” he said.
   A 2010 assessment showed the
USAID-sponsored training had im-
proved teachers’ application of active-
learning practices and classroom man-
agement by 68 percent in schools
supported by the project over an
18-month period. These practices, in
turn, have translated into a livelier learn-
ing atmosphere and better attendance—
particularly for female students.
   Ninth-grade Arabic teacher Attia
Awad immediately noticed a differ-
ence: “The number of girls attending
my class increased notably. Students
and I spend the class time in a very
energetic and fun atmosphere. The
                                                                                                                                       Photo by USAID

students discover by themselves the
new words and their meaning, the
ideas in the passage.”
   In support of the work GILO has
done with teachers over three years, it        Nearly 9,000 Egyptian teachers received training from USAID to promote active
has also trained nearly 2,300 school           learning and a respectful atmosphere in their classrooms.

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                              37

Mobile Phones, eBooks                                                                      A recent m4Ed4Dev seminar high-
                                                                                        lighted the iRead project being imple-

Turning the Page
                                                                                        mented by Worldreader in several
                                                                                        schools in Ghana. More than 500 stu-
                                                                                        dents of various ages in six primary

on Education                                                                            and secondary schools in Kade and
                                                                                        Adeiso are already using their Amazon
By Scott Kipp                                                                           Kindle 3s in the iRead project. These

                                                                                        eReader devices, available in schools
      N THE DEVELOPING world,              Development Alliance), which will            and for students to check out to share
      a quiet revolution is taking place   serve an important role in the exchange      with their families, are provided with
      in education: mobile devices are     of knowledge regarding mobiles for           approximately 80 reading titles already
      multiplying by the minute and        education in developing countries for        loaded; through cellular networks and
bringing with them unprecedented           project implementers, researchers, and       wireless systems, students can down-
access to educational resources.           leading thinkers. The actors will share      load more than 1,000 additional titles.
   Students in rural Africa are down-      practices in the use of mobile technolo-     Children are also provided with read-
loading eBooks while sitting in class-     gies for education, discuss the successes    ing lights so they can use their Kindles
rooms that scarcely have electricity.      and lessons learned from these proj-         after the sun goes down.
Newly literate girls in Pakistan’s dis-    ects, consider the future of mobiles in         “The Worldreader (iRead) students
tant Punjab districts are stretching       the evolving education panorama, and         are reading more than in our wildest
their reading and writing skills by par-   provide an opportunity for USAID             dreams,” said David Risher, president
ticipating in text message-based dis-      staff to explore potential projects that     and co-founder of Worldreader, a
cussion forums. As network coverage        align with the goals of the Agency’s         charitable organization whose mission
continues to expand and reach more of      new education sector strategy.               is to bring books, and thus promote
the world’s population, the possibili-        “At USAID, we’re enormously excited       literacy and a culture of reading, to
ties seem endless for delivering truly     by the opportunities that mobile tech-       children and families in the develop-
incredible volumes of rich academic        nologies and devices can provide for         ing world.
content.                                   supporting quality education out-               The current cost is just over $200
   This revolution is upending history,    comes,” says Anthony Bloome, an edu-         per Kindle, which includes the e-reader,
where progress is often hinged on the      cation technology specialist with            case, light, and loaded textbooks and
availability and affordability of re-      USAID’s Office of Education who is           storybooks (and access to many more.)
sources. Over the last decade, how-        coordinating the creation of the m4Ed-       The per-student cost is coming down
ever, mobile technologies have helped      4Dev Alliance, and symposiums, research      quickly: e-readers cost $400 two years
people living in the most resource-        roundtables, and monthly seminars on         ago, and the price is expected to halve
starved environments leapfrog over         the topic.                                   again in a year. Students often share
old barriers.                                 “There is perhaps no more single          the e-reader with friends and family,
   Entrepreneurs, public sector leaders,   important development intervention           increasing the cost effectiveness even
and field practitioners are on the look-   that has taken hold over the last 15 years   more.
out for the best and most cost-effective   than the mobile phone,” said Adminis-           “If we can figure out how to put in
ways to take advantage of the new          trator Rajiv Shah at an August sympo-        the hands of every single child every-
mobile environments. So is USAID.          sium in Washington, D.C.                     where around the world the capacity
   In collaboration with a diverse in-        Broadly defined, the range of mobile      to have all the information they need
ternational stakeholders group, the        technologies includes cellphones, tab-       to learn and grow, at no or low cost, we
Agency is launching the m4Ed4Dev           lets, PDA devices, micro-projectors, and     will have created a breakthrough that
Alliance (Mobiles for Education for        eReaders, among other technologies.          will last for generations,” said Shah.


   Today, USAID/Ghana is working          with the USAID-supported Bridgeit       threats to project sustainability. In
to evaluate and more thoroughly           initiative now using mobile technolo-   spite of these challenges, tumbling
understand the impacts of the iRead       gies to provide educational content to  device costs and stronger mobile net-
project as it progresses. For example,    teachers in places like the Philippines works everywhere are two key factors
the mission is looking at reading         and Tanzania.                           that represent the unprecedented
improvements and the relative costs of       The Bridgeit program in Tanzania     opportunities for public sector leaders,
supplying and using reading materials     brings together the Tanzanian Minis-    private sector operators, and project
in print versus electronic media. Offi-   try of Education and Vocational Train-  implementers to come together and
cials admit they are pleased with what    ing, USAID, Nokia, The Pearson          make substantial progress on educa-
they see so far, calling it a shining     Foundation, and The International       tion in the developing world.
example.                                                                                          “By exploring appropri-
                                                                                               ate, accessible, and scalable
THE ISSUE OF access to                                                                         models for mobile technol-
resources is particularly                                                                      ogy use in education, we
critical in places like the                                                                    can make profound improve-
rural districts of Paki-                                                                       ments on the administrative
stan’s Punjab province,                                                                        end of the educational pro-
where UNESCO and local                                                                         cess,” says Bloome. “For
mobile network operator                                                                        example, quickly and effi-
Mobilink are supporting a                                                                      ciently tracking student
literacy project run by the                                                                    progress and teacher atten-
Bunyad Foundation. This                                                                        dance, or using text mes-

                                                                                        Photo courtesy of Worldreader
award-winning initiative                                                                       sages for administrative
provides girls and young                                                                       alerts and updates to im-
women with cell phones,                                                                        prove parental involvement
which are used to link the                                                                     in the educational process
girls into reading compre-                                                                     would be valuable resources
hension and discussion                                                                         for promoting greater trans-
forums, all of which takes                                                                     parency and accountability.”
place through text mes- An iRead student at a primary school in Ghana gets to know                Many countries across
sages paid for by Mobilink. his new Kindle and the dozens of books that come with it.          the developing world are
   “The cell phone holds the                                                                   also now using mobile tech-
key to social development by its very Youth Foundation. By providing pri- nologies to increase and improve com-
nature and we want to make sure that mary school teachers with cell phones munication and monitoring that
women are part of this revolution,” says and a rich catalog of educational titles take place between a school and its
Rashid Khan, president and CEO of for download, the program offers local government. This is especially
Mobilink.                                locally relevant educational videos and valuable for rural and isolated schools
   The text messages are delivered in other media for schools that would with only one teacher, but also for over-
the local Urdu language—implement- otherwise have extremely limited access crowded urban schools facing diffi-
ers learned from previous efforts that to such material.                          cu lt ie s i n monitoring vulnerable
English content is neither as accessible   There still remain, of course, many children.
nor as engaging.                         challenges to making mobile education       “The more projects in this field
   Indeed, education projects using projects successful. Concerns over the emerge, the more the possibilities seem
mobile technologies are evolving costs of electricity, costs of network use, endless for using mobile technologies
quickly and learning from each other and the constant risks of theft and dam- to improve many aspects of the educa-
all over the globe, as has been the case age to mobile devices are all reasonable tional process,” says Bloome. ■

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                            39
Higher Education Partnerships
                                 Lift up Students, Small Businesses
                                                                          By Kellee Edmonds,
                                                                          Lynn Simmonds, and
                                                                          Julia Sobel

                                                                                     ILEL BOUTADJINE had
                                                                                     big dreams of working as an
                                                                                     engineer in his native Alge-
                                                                                     ria following graduation
                                                                          from the University of Mentouri,
                                                                          Constantine (UMC). But as his matric-
                                                                          ulation ended, Boutadjine knew his
                                                                          employment outlook was bleak.
                                                                             Gainful employment doesn’t come
                                                                          easy in his home country, which has
                                                                          an unemployment rate of 10 percent,
                                                                          and where 23 percent of the popula-
                                                                          tion lives below the poverty line.
                                                                             Boutadjine decided that enrolling
                                                                          in the new Career Center at his school
                                                                          would help him improve a number of
                                                                          basic skills, make him more market-
                                                                          able to potential employers, and even-
                                                                          tually secure him a good job.
                                                                             Created in 2009, the Career Center
                                                                          is the result of a USAID-supported
                                                                          university partnership between the
                                                                          William Davidson Institute at the
                                                                          University of Michigan and UMC.
                                                                          Also known as RESUME (Recruiting
                                                                          Employable Students at the University
                                                                          with Management Education), this
                                                                          partnership aims to make a difference
                                                                          in the lives of more than 4,000 Alge-
                                                                          rian college students who, like Bout-
                                                                          adjine, have earned a bachelor’s degree
                                                                          and are in need of career counseling.
Bilel Boutadjine, an engineer and former                                     During his time at the center, Bout-
                                                Photo by Maellem Dekhil

University of Mentouri Constantine                                        adjine strengthened his public speak-
(UMC) student, is pictured at his job at                                  ing and networking skills; attended
KIS Co. Bilel credits the UMC Career
                                                                          career fairs that put him in direct con-
Center for helping him find the job.
                                                                          tact with potential employers; and
                                                                          gained access to resources that shaped


his career plan. Armed with those education strategy, namely, improving             Mexican SBDCs that engaged higher-
skills—as well as a healthy dose of the ability of host-country higher-edu-         education institutions throughout
confidence, he found his dream job at cation institutions and workforce-            Mexico and leveraged federal govern-
an industrial construction company development programs to produce a                ment resources. As a result, more than
soon after graduation.                     skilled workforce that will facilitate   4,000 Mexica n business owners
   “I [now] work as an engineer [at] their country’s development. Improved          received professional training, and
KIS company, one of the Career Cen- career counseling and mentoring are             more than 1,000 SBDC professionals
ter’s partners; an interesting and stim- seen as important steps in achieving       from every Mexican state have gradu-
ulating job which I would not have this goal.                                       ated from its Counselor and Director
been able to find without the help of        Several other higher-education         Diplomado Training Program. The
the center,” Boutadjine said.              partnerships are working to advance      network now has 101 centers through-
   His is not the partnership’s only suc- entrepreneurism and small-business        out Mexico.
cess. In less than two years, that one development, including two separate             A key factor in its success has been
center has helped more than 230 stu- efforts between U.S. and Mexican               an online, multi-lingual trade plat-
dents secure internships, and nearly 60 universities: one between the Univer-       form that assists small businesses from
students secure permanent full-time sity of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA)             both Mexican and U.S. SBDC net-
positions. Because of its success, the and Universidad Autónoma de Gua-             works to connect and make deals.
Algerian Ministry of Higher Educa- dalajara (UAG), followed by another              Launched in 2010,
tion has announced plans to establish between UTSA and Universidad                  enables clients to find pre-qualified
18 more throughout Algeria based on Veracruzana.                                    international suppliers and buyers to
the UMC model.                               “These higher education partner-       create sales and growth.
   The partnership is one of 69 man- ships with funding support from                   “Small businesses have had a diffi-
aged by Higher Education for Devel- USAID are connecting small-business             cult time benefiting from globaliza-
opment (HED), an organization that owners to the global marketplace—                tion,” said Cliff Paredes, director of
works closely with USAID and the helping small- and micro-entrepre-                 the UTSA International Trade Center.
six major U.S. presidential higher neurs create jobs, and improving the             “This will help tens of thousands of
education associations                                  overall competitiveness     businesses by connecting them to one
(American Council on                                    of the Mexican econ-        another and by providing online tools
Education, American            MORE ONLINE              omy,” s a y s R o b e r t   and information that they need to
Association of Commu-          For more information     McKinley, UTSA’s asso-      grow their businesses.”
nity Colleges, Ameri-          on Pathways to           ciate vice president for       Gabriela Esparza is the owner of one
can Association of State       Prosperity, see          economic development.       such business. Her printing and design
Colleges and Universi-         www.pathways-               Back in 2003, the        company is benefitting from this
t ie s, A s sociat ion of             UTSA/UAG partner-           online tool. Esparza says with the sup-
American Universities,                                  ship, supported under       port of the university, she’s learning
Association of Public and Land-grant the U.S.-Mexico Training, Intern-              the importance of having a business
Universities, and the National Asso- ships, Exchanges and Scholarships              plan and making smarter decisions
ciation of Independent Colleges and program, created more than 40 small             about her investment strategy. “We are
Universities) to support U.S. univer- business development centers (SBDCs)          certain to succeed,” she added.
sity and other higher-education insti- located throughout Mexico based on a            All told, since the start of the pro-
tutions’ involvement in international successful U.S. model.                        gram, more than 750,000 U.S. SBDC
development.                                 Subsequently, the UTSA/Veracru-        clients have had the opportunity to
   The HED partnership program sup- zana partnership expanded the ini-              connect with Mexican businesses to
ports a key component of USAID’s tial effort by creating a network of                                    continued on p. 43

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                      41

Q&A with Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.)
                                            Rep. Nita Lowey is a 12-term congresswoman from
                                            New York, and among her many leadership roles, holds
                                            that of ranking Democrat of the House Appropriations
                                            Committees’ State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee.
                                            A stalwart champion of education both at home and abroad,
                                            she also serves on the Appropriations Committee’s
                                            Homeland Security Subcommittee, and the Labor, Health
                                            and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee.

FRONTLINES: With all the chal-              times, it is so important that we con-  policy that includes working with
lenges the world faces, how does sup-       tinue investing in education through-   other countries, international orga-
port for education in developing            out the world.                          nizations, and civil society to help
countries fit with our country’s strate-                                            developing countries strengthen
gic goals?                                  FL: What is your vision                                  t heir educationa l
                                            for U.S. support for USAID                               systems; to assist
REP. NITA LOWEY: Education is               education programming in Young people                    NGOs and multi-
not just a building block, but the cor-     the future?                                              latera l orga niza-
nerstone of free societies. No country
                                                                           face all kinds            tions that work to
has reached sustained economic              Lowey: Throughout my of pressures to                     expand access and
growth without achieving near univer-       time on the State and For- leave school,                 quality; and to pro-
sal primary education. Education lays       eign Operations Appropria-                               mote education as
                                                                           and one of
the foundation for sound governance         tions Subcommittee, I have                               the foundation for
and strong institutions, and gives the      worked to increase the fund- our biggest                 community devel-
next generation the power to harness        ing for USAID’s educa-         challenges is             opme nt . S c ho ol s
new ideas and spur economic growth.         tion programming because empowering                      can ser ve a s the
Today more than ever before, educa-         these programs are abso-                                 centers of commu-
tion is also a national security issue.     lutely essential.
                                                                           them to                   n it i e s , b r i n g i n g
Education can turn back the disrup-            I also recently intro-      overcome                  tog e t her parents,
tive forces of violence, disease, and       duced the Education for those pressures.                 students, teachers,
poverty. It is one of the easiest ways we   All Act, which would bol-                                a nd g over n ment
can counter terrorism and make soci-        ster the United States’ leadership role officials through services that sup-
eties less vulnerable to fanaticism. This   in the march for access to education port and lift up families and societ-
is why, even in these tough economic        worldwide. The bill lays out U.S. ies. Sustainable and lasting change


                                                                                    Higher Education
requires the resolve of the U.S. Gov-     singularly on getting married and         continued from p. 41
ernment to centralize and coordi-         starting a family upon graduation.
nate our efforts.                                                                   create bilateral trade opportunities.
                                          FL: Investing in education, home             “This mutually beneficial net-
FL: What would you say to a young         and abroad, is a long-term project.       work will enhance our U.S. small
person in a developing country fac-       As a legislator, how do you reconcile     business sector, creating jobs here at
ing multi-faceted pressures to drop       that in a climate that often demands      home by strengthening professional
out of school early?                      immediate gains?                          connections to neighboring coun-
                                                                                    tries and their communities in one
Lowey: Young people face all kinds        Lowey: Slow and steady wins the           of the highest and best uses of for-
of pressures to leave school, and one     race. Real, effective change takes        eign assistance funding,” said Tully
of our biggest challenges is empow-       time, but gradual gains are both pos-     Cornick, HED’s executive director.
ering them to overcome those pres-        sible and essential to sustain invest-       Several other Latin American
sures. I would tell a student she is      ments in education. All kinds of          countries have expressed interest in
not alone and urge her to get a men-      measures should be used to deter-         adopting the SBDC model in their
tor—a teacher, a relative, a friend, a    mine effectiveness including tradi-       countries. El Salvador, a country
faith leader—to help find ways for        tional test scores and literacy rates,    that was recently announced as a
her to stay in school or continue edu-    or more progressive measures like         focus of a new economic growth
cation in an alternative setting. Chil-   community and parental involve-           partnership in Latin America,
dren faced with the choice of staying     ment and enrollment of girls in           already has eight centers in opera-
in school or entering the workforce       school. We must also be vigilant in       tion, with a total of 14 slated to be
to support their families, or working     expanding successful strategies and       in operation by year’s end. Three
on the family farm in order to feed       scaling back those that don’t show        centers are planned for Colombia.
their siblings, should not have to        strong results over time.                    Development of an SBDC net-
face those choices alone.                                                           work in Central America, set to
                                          FL: Do you prefer e-books or print?       launch in late 2011, will be a key
FL: It wasn’t too long ago that           How can USAID and the U.S. Gov-           action item in the Pathways to
women were not expected to work or        ernment use technology/classroom          Prosperity in the Americas Initia-
go to college. Do you have any mem-       alternatives to expand education          tive as it will help create jobs and
ories of your grandmother, mother,        options in developing countries?          promote greater regional economic
or other female relatives breaking                                                  integration and stability. Pathways
through this ceiling? How were they       Lowey: I’m still learning to use my       is a State Department-led, policy-
able to do this?                          iPad! But I guarantee my grandkids        level dialogue that allows countries
                                          know how. New technologies may            to share ideas and initiatives for
Lowey: My mother wa s ver y               provide effective and efficient ways      economic growth to more broadly
forward-thinking in her parenting         of reaching young people and can          benefit all citizens.
approach. She made sure I had a           be used both in traditional school            “An SBDC expansion of such
good education and exposure to the        settings as well as in classroom alter-   size and scope would solidify the
many options available to women,          natives. Working with local com-          role of U.S. higher education and
including through my internship in        munities and governments to ensure        its host-country institution part-
college at the Democratic Senate          that whatever tools we utilize are        ners in providing the resources
Campaign Committee. She laid a            accepted and effective in each set-       needed to empower thousands of
solid foundation for me to explore        ting and aimed at that nation’s plan      individuals to become full par-
opportunities at a time when most of      for achieving education for all is        ticipants in the global economy,”
my college classmates were focused        paramount. ■                              Cornick added. ■

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                    43
Photo by Saul Vasquez

                                                                      Talent Broker
                                                               USAID Links Youth to Skills and Jobs,
                                                                    Providing a Lifeline in El Salvador

                        Nineteen-year-old Hugo Ruiz poses
                        for a photo at Transactel, where he
                        has worked as an IT customer
                        support representative in the
                        videogame industry.

                        By María Teresa Dávila,                    education had to wait. His family was     that the call-center industry was
                        Patricia Guardado, and                     in debt, and Ruiz had to join the work-   poised to hire thousands of workers
                        Cynthia Almansi                            force to make sure his two younger sis-   but couldn’t find people with sufficient
                                                                   ters could stay in school.                skills in English, computers, and cus-

                                                                      Despite his English studies, the       tomer service.
                                      . HILE IN high school        19-yea r-old fa i led t he la ng ua ge      Yet job applications are plentiful,
                                         in Santa Tecla, El Sal-   entrance exam for the job he wanted:      particularly from youth. The Face-
                                       vador, not far from the     assisting online video gamers at Trans-   book page for USAID’s Improving
                                      capital city, Hugo Ruiz      actel, one of many new call centers in    Access to Employment Program was
                        excelled in his studies—even earning a     El Salvador. Ruiz’s case was hardly       full of comments explaining that call
                        three-year scholarship to learn Eng-       unique—while analyzing emerging           centers are desirable employment
                        lish. But when he graduated, higher        fields in El Salvador, USAID found        because they offer flexible hours,


built-in training, money for college,       thing that frustrates me is that I have       The White House has said the pilot
and proximity to other young people.        to wake up at 4 a.m.,” he jokes.           program would bring private invest-
   Luckily for Ruiz and thousands of          Ruiz’s initial difficulties underscore   ment, provide jobs, and increase trade
other unemployed Salvadorans, USAID         a painful problem in El Salvador,          in the country. Job stimulation would
is stepping into the labor force breach     where traditional education and train-     allow Salvadorans—of which, roughly
with a new market-driven approach.          ing often fail to prepare new workers      one of four resides in the United
After selected businesses identify the      for today’s jobs, and where youth need     States—to remain with their families
skills they need to fill their positions,   particular attention to find sustainable   in their homeland.
the USAID program partners with             work. Unemployment in this group,             “Instead of the old donor-recipient
them to develop relevant training           defined as age 15 to 24, is just under     model, we’re working as partners, with
courses. The firms share the costs of the   14 percent, almost double the national     El Salvador in the lead, to confront the
trainings and then hire the graduates.      average.                                   hurdles to growth and development.
   USAID, in this sense, acts as an           In response, USAID is also rolling       As El Salvador’s largest trading part-
unbiased broker, matching eager             out initiatives like Youth360—a Web-       ner, we’ll help identify reforms that
young job seekers first with the skills     based platform that acts as a virtual      can mobilize private investment,
and then with the companies looking         marketplace for interns and busi-          increase trade, and create opportuni-
for talent. The Agency is demonstrat-       nesses. It brings together students who    ties for the Salvadoran people. And
ing an approach better suited to mar-       want to intern after college graduation    one of the most important steps is to
ket realities, uniting employers and        and companies that need interns for        foster collaborations between govern-
schools to craft courses combining          particular projects. The USAID pro-        ment and the private sector, because
technical and practical skills lacking      gram is conducting a broad outreach to     both have so much to gain when peo-
in El Salvador’s highest-demand             industry and educational institutions      ple are lifted out of poverty and con-
industries: Information technology          to create an alternative pathway to        tribute to their country’s prosperity,”
(IT), customer service, tourism, and        employment and a national internship       said Obama during his visit.
aircraft maintenance. In the pro-           program.                                      Meanwhile, Hugo Ruiz is already
gram’s first 16 months of operation,          Moreover, in addition to computers       reaping the benefits of U.S. assistance.
over 3,100 Salvadorans have com-            and office furniture, USAID is provid-     Now finishing his fifth month at
pleted at least one of these courses,       ing training in job counseling to the      Transactel, he answers e-mailed ques-
helping them find jobs or secure bet-       Ministry of Labor’s Career Centers to      tions from video gamers in India,
ter positions with a new skill set.         open opportunities for job seekers and     Egypt, China, Portugal, and the Neth-
                                            recent college graduates. After train-     erlands. He continues to pitch in with
TRANSACTEL IS ONE of 18 firms               ing 250 career counselors this past        his family’s general expenses, includ-
so far that have agreed to the arrange-     year, the Agency may expand the pro-       ing putting his young sisters through
ment: the call center helped develop a      gram to train and certify high school      school. Whatever is left, he saves for
course called “English for Work” and        career counselors.                         his own future studies—and volun-
encouraged Ruiz to take it. After he            All of these initiatives to boost El   teers teaching English on the side. His
finished the 38-day course with acco-       Salvador’s economy reflect a tighten-      job fits in perfectly with his career
lades, Transactel hired him, promot-        ing of the U.S.-El Salvador relation-      plans, he explained.
ing him after the first month for good      ship as underscored by President              “I am planning to study graphic
performance.                                Barack Obama’s official visit there in     design and learn another language, as
   “It’s the best job I ever thought I      March. Prior to the visit, El Salvador     well,” Ruiz said. “If I continue work-
would have,” said Ruiz. “They have          was named as one of the first four         ing at Transactel, I will have both the
been very patient with me and found         countries that will participate in the     knowledge and the support to achieve
what I am able to do and have given         “Partnership for Growth,” a new set of     my goals.” ■
me the tools to grow [professionally]       initiatives seeking to drive economic
and improve my English…. The [only]         progress in selected countries.            The authors are with CARANA Corp.

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                         45

                                                                                                                                 Photo by Education Development Center
A primary school student in Juba takes
his second grade evaluation test.

By Jane Namadi and Ezra Simon               gained independence from the United        Government of South Sudan and for

                                            Kingdom in 1956.                           USAID and other organizations seek-
           N A CONTINENT that                 While delivering education services      ing to help South Sudanese to recover.
           already faces significant        in this environment was possible in          Many schools were reduced to rub-
           challenges in education,         certain areas, entire regions missed out   ble during wartime, and when an
           those confronting South          on these opportunities. According to       accord was reached through the 2005
Sudan are especially severe. For            the Southern Sudan Centre for Cen-         Comprehensive Peace Agreement
decades South Sudanese have been            sus, Statistics, and Evaluation, only      (CPA), South Sudanese children com-
fleeing conflict, fighting, sheltering in   27 percent of South Sudanese adults        monly attended lessons held outdoors
refugee camps, or simply struggling to      today are literate. This puts South        and taught by teachers who lacked for-
survive in their villages and towns as a    Sudan around the bottom of the list        mal training and a standard curricu-
result of war throughout Sudan that         of world literacy and presents an          lum. Even now, 72 percent of the
plagued the south since before Sudan        enormous challenge both for the            19,872 primary level learning locations


     Building the Education Basics
 across South Sudan are under a tree or     supported the rehabilitation of four           As part of its efforts to improve
 other non-permanent structure rather       regional teacher training institutes and    school attendance among girls and
 than in a schoolhouse, with children of    is encouraging women to become              young women, the USAID scholar-
 various ages learning together. In many    teachers. To address lower literacy and     ship includes “comfort kits” for female
 cases, students have no books, writing     school at tend a nce a mong girls,          students comprised of sanitary pads
 materials, or desks, and a teacher’s       USAID has awarded over 9,000 schol-         and other hygiene supplies. “During
 equipment is typically limited to a        arships in the past five years to girls     my periods, I used not to attend class
 small chalkboard and chalk.                and disadvantaged boys who are              because I did not have money to buy
    The obstacles to quality education      unable to pay school fees. Secondary        sanitary pads. I pretended that I was
 do not stop at classroom logistics. Of     school fees range from $28-$50 per          sick and opted to remain in the dormi-
 more than 26,000 primary school            school term.                                tory for three to four days. Thanks to
 teachers in South Sudan, 84 percent           Sylvain Sumur ye, of K ajo-Keji          USAID, I was given comfort kits,
 are not certified to teach, and only 12    County in Central Equatoria state,          which helped me a lot because I could
 percent are women. In a post-conflict      received one of USAID’s scholarships.       attend all my classes without worry
 economy with limited public revenue        Previously, she had dropped out of          until I completed my school and grad-
 and almost no sources of private sector    school due to an early pregnancy and        uated in 2010,” Sumurye explained.
 employment, three-quarters of the          was abandoned by her husband.                  To support young women like
 national budget goes to public salaries,      “Barely three months after I gave        Sumurye to continue their education
 while 6 to 7 percent is spent on educa-    birth, my husband got another woman         even after they have children, female
 tion. The lack of literacy hinders South   and started beating me and eventually       dormitories are fitted with separate
 Sudan’s capacity to govern—nearly          abandoned me with a small child of six      rooms for mothers to attend school
 one in four civil servants in the coun-    months,” said Sumurye, now 25.              with their children.
 try lacks a formal education.              “Helplessly, I decided to go back to my        After graduation, Sumurye was
                                            parents. After the signing of the CPA,      hired as a fifth-grade geography teacher
 DESPITE THE MANY roadblocks,               I went back to school and forgot about      at Kiri Primary School. With the
 significant gains in education have        my husband. I studied hard and suc-         money she now earns, she can afford to
 been achieved since 2005. With             cessfully completed my secondary            pay for her daughter’s school fees and
 USAID assistance, primary school           education and joined Kajo-Keji Teach-       uniform as well as better housing.
 enrollment in South Suda n ha s            ers College in 2009.”                       “Education is the key road to success,”
 increased from approximately 300,000          The Teachers’ College has benefited      Sumurye said. “I advise all South
 students in 2000 to 1.4 million in         from a USAID school improvement             Sudan women to go to school so that
 2010. USAID supported the construc-        grant. These funds are generally used for   they are not deprived of their rights.”
 tion or rehabilitation of 140 primary      rainwater harvesting and storage, din-         USAID/South Sudan Mission Direc-
 schools and five secondary schools. To     ing hall dishes, and helping to improve     tor Kevin Mullally, who previously
 improve teachers’ skills, the Agency       the skills of school governance bodies.                           continued on p. 49

 FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                         47

                 Egypt Shakes Up the Classroom
                 continued from p. 37                              “This was a radical change in my
                                                                understanding and professional expe-
                                                                                                                 Literacy in
                                                                                                                 the Arab States*
                 half of these students could not read a sin-   rience,” said Mohamed after receiving
                 gle word in isolation. In grade four, things   the training. “Now I know that a main
                                                                                                                From UNESCO’s 2011 Education
                 did not improve: Nearly a third of stu-        problem in my students’ learning to
                                                                                                                For All Global Monitoring Report:
                 dents could still not read a single word.      read is my method of teaching.”
                                                                                                                ■	 The average literacy rate for
                    “When you have students that are               USAID’s GILO project conducted a
                                                                                                                   women in the region was less than
                 not able to read in grade four, you have       follow-up early-grade reading assessment           four-fifths that for men in 2008.
                 something wrong with the approach,”            at the end of the school year to measure        ■	   Egypt had the region’s highest
                 said Abou Serie.                               the impact of the enhanced teaching                  number of illiterate adults
                    In Egypt’s primary school classrooms,       method on student learning, assessing all            (18 million) in 2006 and accounted
                 the textbook drives instruction, which         of the same schools from the first testing           for nearly 30% of the regional total.
                 focuses on learning letter names and           round, including a set of control schools.      ■	   Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait and Yemen
                 rote memorization of vocabulary words.            Before the intervention, students in the          have increased their adult literacy
                    “I was always taught that when stu-         GILO-supported schools performed at                  rates by at least 20 percentage
                 dents know the names of letters they           roughly the same level as their peers in the         points in the past 15 to 20 years.
                 will learn how to read,” said Mansoura         control schools. A year later, preliminary      * Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt,
                 Mohamed, a primary school teacher in           analyses indicate that students in GILO-          Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan
                                                                                                                  Arab Jamahiriya, Mauritania, Morocco,
                 Minia governorate. “I worked hard on           supported schools identified an average of        Oman, occupied Palestinian territory,
                 teaching them letter names.” Conse-            19 more letter sounds per minute at the           Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syrian Arab
                 quently, progress was slow.                    end of the school year, an increase of            Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates,
                                                                                                                  and Yemen
                    To address this common weakness in          nearly 200 percent over baseline.
                 most classrooms, GILO designed a pack-            Meanwhile, students in the control
                 age of reading lesson plans that improved      group gained just two letter sounds per
                 the teaching of phonics. The training was      minute, an increase of only 21 percent         words read per minute—an increase of
                 rolled out to selected teachers in all four    over baseline. The impact of the instruc-      82 percent over baseline—compared to
                 project-supported governorates before          tion on students’ reading fluency was          three more words read per minute
                 the 2010-2011 school year.                     also dramatic: an average of 10 more           among the control group.
                                                                                                                  And this notable progress came in
                                                                                                               spite of the fact that the students were out
                                                                                                               of school for six weeks in the spring
                                                                                                               semester during the Egyptian revolution.
                                                                                                                  “[The teachers] told me the phonics
                                                                                                               method was easy to use, is having a real
                                                                                                               impact in short time, and that the stu-
                                                                                                               dents enjoy learning in this approach,”
                                                                                                               Abou Serie said. “It is impressive and
                                                                                                               that is why we are going to scale it up
                                                                                                               immediately in the four governorates
Photo by USAID

                                                                                                               that GILO is already working in, with
                                                                                                               plans to roll out training to all schools
                                                                                                               nationwide.” ■

                 Second grade students who received GILO reading instruction improved their                    Staff from the GILO project contributed
                 Arabic reading skills much faster than their peers who received standard instruction.         to this article.


Building the Education Basics
continued from p. 47

served as mission director in Senegal
and Rwanda, noted that girls’ educa-
tion is a priority for USAID.
   “Research has shown that educating
girls offers a tremendous return on
investment in a developing country. It
leads to healthier families, which are a
critical component for future growth
and success,” he said, adding that edu-

                                                                                                                                 By Joseph Ayela, Winrock International
cation can also aid South Sudan
recover from war. “Education provides
disaffected girls and boys with the con-
fidence that they can move forward in
their lives, in spite of what the people
of this country have experienced.”
   Former child soldier Gilaso Odong,
of Torit in Eastern Equatoria state, is
among the young men who received
USAID scholarships. He was abducted        Gilaso Odong, 19, lost an arm as a child soldier but now receives USAID support
at age 10 and forced to fight, losing an   to study at Torit Secondary School in Eastern Equatoria.
arm to a gunshot wound. He became a
refugee in Kenya before returning to       provide teachers with lessons they can    to decisions that affect their children’s
South Sudan three years ago.               present to their students but also to     education, while local authorities
   “My parents cannot afford to pay        reach non-traditional, generally older    become better informed about their
my school fees,” Odong said. “I            students who may not have had the         constituents’ priorities. To help county
thought, ‘I am back home, but still in     opportunity to attend school.             education officials in remote parts of
a miserable life.’ I lost my arm during       In 2010, USAID’s radio-based           South Sudan inspect far-flung schools
the struggle and I thought, ‘the peace     learning progra ms have reached           and interact with their employees and
has come, I will have free education,’     nearly 100,000 students and 445,000       students, USAID has provided motor-
but still I did not see any changes in     youth and adults who did not have         bikes so education inspectors can
my life.” Now age 19, he was able to       access to regular school instruction.     make regular visits.
continue studies he began as a refugee     The USAID-supported South Sudan              With education among the highest
with the help of a USAID scholarship       Interactive Radio Instruction has         priorities for citizens of South Sudan,
and has one year left until he graduates   broadcast over shortwave, FM, and         USAID is working to ensure the quality
from Torit Secondary School.               through MP3s since 2005, program-         and availability of education services,
                                           ming that also includes civic education   improving opportunities for Southern
ONE OF USAID’S MOST impor-                 programs. Community radio stations        Sudanese as they build their nation.
tant tools in raising literacy and         that USAID supports also broadcast           As South Sudan’s President Salva
improving learning in South Sudan is       the Agency’s radio-learning programs.     Kiir Mayardit said in a speech to the
radio—the medium that reaches the             USAID is reaching out to commu-        South Sudan National Assembly on
broadest segment of the population of      nities to support educational access in   Aug. 8, “We must now focus on the
more than 8 million. USAID uses            a variety of ways. For example, the       delivery of basic services to meet the
radio-based learning not only to           Agency is helping parents contribute      expectations of our people.” ■

FRONTLINES • September/October 2011                                                                                        49
     U.S. Agency for International Development
     Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs     PRSRT STD
     Washington, D.C. 20523-6100                 Postage and Fees
     Penalty for Private Use $300                  PAID USAID
     Official Business                           Permit No. G-107
Photo by Ben Edwards, USAID

Schoolchildren in southwest Haiti

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