82% of people live under the poverty line in South Sudan

Posted: June 28, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Dut Kuot Akok, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Dut Deng kok, Juba, South Sudan

Thursday, June 27, 2019 (PW) — South Sudan has been in economic decline since the late 2013. In this economy, how many South Sudanese live under the poverty datum line? Such a claim supposed to be made by the other opposition political parties to challenge the ruling party, people are taking guns and rebel against their own people. Claim: 3years after independence, 82% of people still live under the poverty datum line.

The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than US$1.90 per day in south Sudan as of October 2015. Prior to that, the global line was $1.25 a day. It was projected that in 2015, just over 9 million people were living in extreme poverty down from 12.8 million, census of 2008.  The poverty line was initially set at $1.  The World Bank also has standards of poverty for people living in middle and high income countries.           

Historically south Sudan was a good country in 2010-2012 for living. The country poverty was reduced to 57% but the beginning of 2014 till  now, the poverty rising, four million children live under poverty in south Sudan according to UNCIEF report 2019; Nutrition; 220,700 children aged 5 to 59 months admitted for SAM treatment. 984,700 caregivers of children age 0 to 23 months reached with infant and young child feeding counseling.

In my travels across South Sudan I met with people living under poverty, whether old, young, disabled, in work or not. I talked with civil society, and officials from local, government’s officials; and visited community organizations, and a primary school. I also met a range of Ministers in the central government and states.

I spoke at length with politicians from all of the major political parties. In the past two weeks I have talked with people who depend on charities for their next meal, who are sleeping on friends’ houses because they are homeless and don’t have a safe place for their children to sleep, who have sold sex for money or shelter, children who are growing up in poverty unsure of their future, young people who feel gangs are the only way out of destitution, and people with disabilities who are being told they need to go back to work while there is no monthly salaries. I have also seen tremendous resilience, strength, and generosity, with neighbours supporting one another.

You only have to look to see that poverty is real. Up and down the country, the number of food donations from world wishes alongside collection points for clothing for the homeless people in our local supermarkets is growing. Children are arriving at school hungry, families are queuing up at food banks and schools are buying coats and even washing clothes for pupils and their families. I fear these things could become part of the wallpaper.

Every child and widows deserves the opportunity to succeed but poverty robs them of this, their fathers and their husbands had been killed during the war. Children and their mothers living in poverty are more likely to have poorer health outcomes than those living in less deprived communities as well as poorer nutrition – both of which influence their ability to succeed in school.

Poverty is front and centre of the work that local authorities do with families. When I talk about poverty, I am talking about more than simply a lack of access to basic necessities such as food and clothing, but also poverty of opportunity. This includes children with special educational needs being squeezed out of the mainstream education system or those living in rural areas having limited access to essential public services such as youth centers and libraries.

Poverty is not inevitable. For central Government, investing in strategies that reduce poverty in south Sudan is both a smart and efficient economic policy as well as the right thing to do. We want to reduce poverty.

Dut Deng Kok is a south Sudanese opinion writer and he can be reachable visa his email: dutmanyang@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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