Helping refugees help themselves in a war-torn country.
Humanity Helping Sudan is a project that seeks to provide aid and assistance to the Sudanese Diaspora in the Gambella region of Ethiopia along the Eastern border of Southern Sudan. It is a project that will be led and organized by Manyang Kher with help from other knowledgeable volunteers based in the US as well as Sudan and Ethiopia. As a former refugee, Manyang has kept close contact with many still affected in this region and understands the struggle. His personal experience, continued concern and communication with those still living in this region have helped him create sustainable solutions to help alleviate three main causes of suffering in the region. While many nonprofit and government agencies attempt to provide relief, the need for greatly outweighs the efforts currently in action.
The project’s first objective addresses the massive food shortage in the region. Materials and resources are needed to purchase and provide fishing nets empowering individuals directly provide for their families. Most of those people are former refugees who do not want to return to Sudan because they have no family left, no homes, no contacts, and no support. Most of these Lost Boys have little education or skills to help them get a job in Sudan. They now claim to be Ethiopian citizens and try to assimilate into the region since the UNHCR no longer provides support since the 2005 Peace Agreement between Northern and Southern Sudan. Manyang knows that local people simply need the tools to take advantage of environmental assets like the Baro River, which runs through the heart of the Gambella region in Ethiopia and Sudan.An Ethiopian demography and health study in 2006 reveals: “As the region is generally not cereal self-sufficient, alternative income sources such as fishing are important sources of food.
Wild food consumption is part of the daily dietary intake given the still partly untouched bush land and natural forest resources.”  Materials needed for the project’s first goal of providing fishing nets and canoes will come from the local region and abroad. Manyang will hire local contractors to construct the canoes, and pre-purchase the fishing nets at lowest possible cost. The small canoes can accommodate 2-3 people. The larger canoes can accommodate 4-5 people. If able to attain small motor boats, these can accommodate up to 6-8 people. This is a simple and unique goal that can be accomplished quickly and directly without complication and provide immediate, lasting results.
The second objective of this Humanity Helping Sudan is to provide agricultural training and cultivation of indigenous crops: maize, sorghum, and millet. Production of cereals in Gambella is an important way of providing for the local population as well as a potential source of economic profit. Maize, sorghum, millet are the main crops in Gambella, but agricultural methods are primitive, leading to low yields. Weather-related events, often in the form of dry spells, or alternatively excessive rains, sometimes causes devastating floods as a result of the deforestation of the highlands in Western Ethiopia are main causes of food insecurity in this otherwise well-endowed area.
Working with local experts and utilizing advanced technological agricultural farming methods Humanity Helping Sudan aims to help alleviate current issues with farming and provide food sustainability to local people. Providing chickens and instruction on breeding, maintaining healthy environments for the livestock will be another source of food and allow for sustainable communities in this long neglected region of Dimma.
The third primary goal of this project is to provide clean drinking water through expansion of water wells and springs. Manyang will collaborate with current agencies based in the US and abroad to help build and expand access to clean water. The Water and Mines Resources Development Bureau of Gambella announced January 2007 that it was initiating a program that would drill 13 new manually operated wells, 54 new deep water wells, and develop four springs. Currently on 27% of the population has access to clean drinking water, Humanity Helping Sudan hopes to expand and provide even more access. Construction of an asphalt road connecting Gambella City with Jikawo, Sudan by way of Itang began in 2008 and will be a huge help as far as delivering aid and helping the project succeed especially during the rainy season. A fourth primary goal of this project is providing vocational training to the refugee population giving them skills not only in agricultural techniques but also electrician training programs and