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South Sudan

UK government funding drives positive change for conflict-affected families in South Sudan

South Sudan is a country that has been plagued by conflict for decades. This conflict and the dramatic impact of climate change have had a devastating impact on communities in the country.

“If I had not gotten enough from my farm, I wouldn’t be able to pay the school fees for my children.” Adeng Makuei Matur in East Yirol, South Sudan. Photo: Achuoth Deng “If I had not gotten enough from my farm, I wouldn’t be able to pay the school fees for my children.” Adeng Makuei Matur in East Yirol, South Sudan. Photo: Achuoth Deng

The Trócaire Lenten Appeal in 2021 focused on South Sudan and the huge challenges faced by the people there. Donations from the public in Northern Ireland to that appeal were doubled by the UK government through the UK Aid Match initiative and this resulted in an extra £2 million in funding. This extra funding was used by Trócaire and our partner CAFOD specifically in South Sudan to implement a project to provide vital support for families to rebuild their lives and become self-sufficient. The three year project, supporting people who didn’t have access to enough food because of the decades of conflict and displacement compounded by climate change and gender based violence, started in February 2022 and has seen positive change for thousands of people.

One of those people who has benefitted from the project is Adeng Makuei Matur. This single mother of two children has endured much suffering and hardship in her life. She lost her father in the conflict and given the various hardships in South Sudan such as a lack of food and poor healthcare, she also lost three children.

She survived an attack on her home in Magok but had to flee because of the risk to her and her family. She had to relocate to Lekakedu in East Yirol. When Trócaire first spoke to Adeng Makuei Matur her crops had been devastated by harsh weathers and pests. A drought hit just after she had planted. “My crops were destroyed. I was devastated and didn’t have food at all. I suffered terrible starvation. I had to collect firewood to sell to be able to buy food but at times I had to survive on wild leaves. We all depend on the farm. Life becomes very difficult when the drought and pests destroy crops,” she said.

Then Adeng Makuei Matur received support from Trócaire and the Caritas Diocese of Rumbek made possible by the UK Aid Match funding.

Photo: Achuoth Deng Photo: Achuoth Deng
Life is now better. I can’t compare last year and now. Idier Mayen Makuac in East Yirol, South Sudan.

“This season is better because we have received seeds early and we planted on time. I have received training from Trócaire and Caritas. We didn’t know what types of crops to plant for what season before. Now our farming skills have improved based on what we have been taught. We have good production and we are grateful. I have planted groundnuts and cereals. I have cultivated about two acres of land with groundnuts. This will see me through until next season. My cereal field is doing great too. You can see my farm is flourishing. My passion is farming. I am grateful all this is happening to me. Trócaire and Caritas have shown me great support and none of this would have happened without them,” Adeng Makuei Matur said.

“My children’s education depends on what I cultivate. If I had not gotten enough from my farm, I wouldn’t be able to pay the school fees for my children. Thankfully I am able to send them to school in Juba were my elder son is in university and younger one is in 10th grade. I was also able to build my house because of the improved production on the farm,” she said.

Trócaire and Caritas have also introduced a hygiene programme and education to help prevent gender-based violence.

There are still challenges to be faced by Adeng Makuei Matur and her community. “Low productivity due to lack of rains is always worrying. Also there is so much conflict within my people. It has been my desire to see people united through God as a way of spreading peace in my community. But Trócaire and Caritas have really improved our lives,” Adeng Makuei Matur said.

Idier Mayen Makuac is another resident of Lekakedu village who has benefited from the project. She is a mother of five children who also depends on food from her farm to feed her family.

“I depend on farming to survive. We experienced the worse drought last year which destroyed our crops. We went through a tough year where we faced starvation. Life was difficult because we ran out of food. It was hard to beg for food from a neighbor. I fed my family on wild leaves to survive,” Idier Mayen Makuac said.

“Then Trócaire and Caritas distributed seeds, including cereals, groundnut and tomatoes, and I was able to cultivate these. The cereals and groundnuts survive the harsh weather. I am happy I am going to have good cereals and groundnuts harvest that will see my family to the next farming season. These crops will mean I can feed my family. Life is now better. I can’t compare last year and now,” she said.

“When we received the seeds, we were taught on best farming practices. We were told to plant crops in rows. We also were taught to mix the crops and crop rotation for pest control. My message is one of gratitude. I am happy that my life has improved from support I receive from Trócaire and Caritas,” Idier Mayen Makuac said.

Idier Mayen Makuac’s farm is doing great this season and she is so proud that this year her family will not face any hunger and she will be able to support her children’s education through her production.


Peter Heaney, Head of Region for Trócaire in Northern Ireland says that this life-changing work would not have been possible without the support of the public in Northern Ireland. “We are so grateful to people here at home who donated to the Lenten Appeal in 2021. This generosity enabled us to maximise the fantastic support of the UK government through the UK Aid Match scheme and has resulted in these incredible stories of change in South Sudan.”

Due to the complex and often insecure operating environment in South Sudan and in keeping with best safeguarding practice, pseudonyms have been used for the programme participants named in this article.

Trócaire Christmas Appeal is this year focusing on ‘Children in Conflict’ in places including South Sudan, Gaza, Ukraine and Ethiopia. To find out more please click below.

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