South Sudan: Standing with Internally Displaced Persons
31 July 2019

SGBV Support group session in progress at Rimenze IDP site (Jesuit Refugee Service)

JRS has been operating in Yambio, located 700 kilometers west of Juba and 20 kilometers east of Democratic Republic of Congo, since 2013 providing education services and running peacebuilding programs for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and host community.

In late 2017, armed confrontation between government soldiers and rebel groups in Western Equatoria region of South Sudan intensified, forcing people to flee their villages and settle in IDP camps around Yambio.

In 2018, JRS responded with a project aimed at improving the psychosocial wellbeing as well as the general protection of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) at Rimenze IDP site, located 25 kilometers outside Yambio town. I addition to psychosocial support, the project also provides general protection services such as  profiling the IDPs, reporting protection concerns to relevant authorities and provision of life saving non-food items to the persons of concern.

Under psychosocial support, JRS offers individual and group counseling sessions to victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), persons with special needs and others who have undergone trauma due to long exposure of violent conflict. Additionally, JRS facilitated the creation of SGBV support groups whose members go through an 8-week program designed to help them cope with posttraumatic effects of SGBV.

Another aspect of the project is the home visits carried out by staff recruited and trained at the IDP site to facilitate the implementation of the project and to conduct regular assessment of persons with special needs within the camp.

A view of the Rimenze IDP camp near Yambio, South Sudan (Jesuit Refugee Service)

When security forces guarding the camp were withdrawn in April 2019 following complaints of harassment of civilians, JRS advocated for alternative forces to be deployed at the camp. This is because rebel groups began to attack the civilians at the camp, kidnapping children and looting property of innocent people. As a result of this advocacy, police officers were dispatched to the camp in late May 2019 to provide protection to the camp's residents.

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Endashaw Debrework SJ
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