Church & Community Mobilisation for Food Security in South Sudan


Bishops’ Appeal funded this Tearfund programme which encouraged communities in South Sudan to come together, identify their resources and look for ways to mobilise and meet their needs particularly in areas of food insecurity and literacy. This is particularly important in areas of South Sudan where people have lived for so long being dependent on humanitarian aid that they have become dependent on it.

Issues to be addressed

The project aims to address severe spiritual and material poverty in Northern Bahr el Ghazal by working with churches and communities to develop solutions to the following;

  • Food insecurity, the project will also address, through the training, issues of persistent food insufficiency through improved farming methods called Foundational Farming.
  • Dependency syndrome among communities in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state due to the prolonged humanitarian relief received a result of the long war in Sudan and now South Sudan people’s ability to self-help has been diminished.
  • Lack of Pastoral Care, pastors leave the ministry to look for employment to gain a living for themselves and families hence the flock is left without a shepherd
  • Low literacy level amongst pastors hence Churches do not have work-plans as to how to address issues which face them locally with a holistic ministry lenses


South Sudan became independent in July 2011 and by December 2013 has been plunged into a civil war. By 12 November 2015, there were an estimated 1.66 million people displaced as a result of the conflict (UNOCHA Situation report #82). The South Sudan IPC report (FSL and Nutrition cluster Analysis, September 2015) estimates that 3.9 million people (34% of the population) are severely food and nutrition insecure and unable to meet their food needs. This is an 80% increase compared to the same period in 2014. This is attributed to a combination of factors, including market disruption due to the continuing conflict, economic downturn followed by runaway inflation rates in the country, insecurity and localized crop failures due to poor rainfall distribution in 2015. The economic downturn has resulted in record high food prices (up to 150% compared to average), which has reduced the purchasing power of households across the country.

Livelihoods in Aweil have largely been destroyed by these factors over the past two years and this is reflected by the extreme levels of poverty seen in the target communities in Malualbaai and Warawar Payams. This has resulted in a high rate of relief aid dependency as people have become used to being recipients of emergency aid from UN agencies and NGOs operating in the area. Funding for humanitarian aid in the area has reduced in the past year due to donors focussing on lifesaving activities in the conflict hotspots and many of the local people in Aweil are left without the motivation or knowledge of how to start to recover from the crisis.

With this background, it was decided to introduce the Church and Community Mobilisation process (CCMP) to gradually wean the population off its aid dependency and help them find a viable alternative to external assistance in order to revive and develop. In order to achieve holistic ministry, the project involved local churches in a relief intervention targeting families of malnourished children, which also included a training for church leaders[1]. It was identified that local churches have not been active in their communities apart from working on the spiritual growth of congregations. As a result they have generally been detached from any activities in the communities that they do not consider ‘spiritual’.

However, elsewhere in South Sudan the Church and Community mobilisation process has been instrumental in problem identification for local churches and communities for over 10 years.[2] It is a tool that helps local churches and communities to design, plan, implement, and evaluate their development process. CCMP facilitates communities to “discover” who they are and their potential, and then to envision their future. They determine themselves how to achieve that destiny. Despite the difficult economic situation in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, Aweil East in particular is blessed with an abundance of natural resources e.g. forests, rivers, rich agricultural land and hardworking people.


The root causes of the problem to be addressed include:


Churches tend to lack awareness of their role to effect change in their community. They also struggle to understand the issues affecting their communities and this results in a lack of development related action. Although their communities are severely affected by poverty they do not understand the causes of poverty nor what opportunities and assets they have to address these problems. This is not helped by a deeply in-built dependency mentality which leads people to consider themselves as poor, powerless to change their own circumstances and entirely dependent on external aid. Years of aid dependency has creates a cycle of dependency that has resulted in local churches and communities tending to see development initiatives as being the primary domain of NGO’s or other external actors. Impoverished communities wait for NGO’s, the government or other civil service organisations to make decisions for them and consequently whatever intervention is implemented is seen as belonging to the person who provided it rather than the community. These sorts of interventions not only lack grass roots ownership but often do not address real root causes of poverty. As a result there is little sustainability and the cycle of poverty continues.


Project Overview


Four churches – 2 in each target Payam – will be identified as central training locations for all community level training and mobilisation. This allows for efficiency and also builds unity among churches in the respective communities.


Step 1: Equip 36 CCMP facilitators with the knowledge and skills to facilitate the church’s understanding of holistic ministry and send them out to disseminate with local churches.


Activities for Step 1

  • Two weeks of training of trainers with 36 CCMP facilitators on facilitation skills, integral mission, bible study development, and skills for conducting bible studies.
  • CCMP facilitators are then sent out into their communities for approximately two months to train church leaders and members on integral mission, bible study development, and skills for conducting bible studies.
  • CCMP facilitators will also support local churches they work with to develop and conduct foundational Bible studies and to envision holistic ministry in their congregations. This is an ongoing activity throughout the whole project cycle.
  • Tearfund will conduct 2 monitoring and support visits through this cycle.

Step 2: Equip 36 CCMP facilitators with the knowledge and skills to facilitate resource mobilisation training and send them out to disseminate within local churches.

Activities for Step 2

  • 36 CCMP facilitators gather centrally for further training for two weeks to cover:
    • Report back and reflection on activities in step 1.
    • Training of trainers on the Biblical basis for resource mobilisation.
  • CCMP facilitators are then sent out into their communities again for another two month period to develop and conduct Bible studies for resource mobilization with the local churches
  • CCMP facilitators will support local churches to identify resources in their local environment and develop action plans. CCMP facilitators continue to support and monitor the implementation of the action plans.
  • Tearfund will conduct 2 monitoring and support visits through this cycle

Step 3 Equip 36 CCMP facilitators with the knowledge and skills to build relationships with their church’s respective local communities.

Activities for step 3

  • 36 CCMP facilitators gather centrally for further training for two weeks to cover:
    • Report back and reflection on activities in step 2.
    • Training of trainers on community relationship building skills.
    • Training of trainers on identification of vulnerable members (Single parent households, Female headed households, the elderly, HIV positive, orphans, the disabled) of the community and impartiality and inclusion principles.
    • TF Trainer conducts at least one Bible study on relationship building.
  • CCMP facilitators are then sent out into their communities again for another two month period to:
    • Envision church leadership in the 4 facilitation churches to build relationships with the community, including the identification of especially vulnerable members.
    • Develop and conduct Bible studies for community relationship building with the local churches
    • Support local church facilitators to go out into community to develop relationships to replicate the process more broadly. Along the way CCMP facilitators will support church members to help the community identify those vulnerable members of their community and find ways of assisting them to participate.
    • Ongoing support and monitoring within communities, including feedback from the community.
  • Tearfund will conduct 2 monitoring and support visits through this cycle.

Step 4 Ongoing monitoring and re-envisioning of communities

Activities for step 4

  • Reflection meetings with CCMP facilitators.
  • CCMP Facilitators continue to monitor, support and re-envision communities where necessary.
  • Tearfund conducts monitoring and evaluation.



The programme stresses the change of mindset from a viewpoint which is fixed on external aid to one that is focused on the use of available resources to avoid dependence on aid. By completely changing the mindset of the communities the project will empower people and improve their capacity for development.



Steps taken to ensure Sustainability

  • Training in the area of basic management, reporting, budgeting, action plan making, prioritising of needs, proposal writing and monitoring skills equips people with a variety of skills and with sufficient capacity to sustain their operations.
  • Proper training of Church leaders, Church and Community Mobilization Resource Persons (CCRePs) and committees who live within the community to ensure that the process is owned by communities and churches to allow the project to continue without external support.
  • The philosophy of this process aims to foster the spirit of self-reliance through the use of locally available resources to implement development projects and the value of creativity.
  • The process’ approach to development from a holistic perspective makes it sustainable as it can cater for the needs of the whole person.

Impact of the project

  • Local churches and communities become able to identify their own needs, resources and have the potential to solve their problems
  • Local Churches and communities will become self-reliant
  • Individual households basic needs are met
  • Improved relationships with family, environment and God
  • Improved health conditions and peaceful co-existence within and outside the state
  • Children find their parents more loving, understanding, and able to provide for their needs
  • Communities stewards of their environment well
  • Government policy on environment cut one tree and plan five will be implemented


Focus Area

In Aweil County, the project will work with local churches and communities in Malualbaai with 25,000 people and Warawar Payams with 28,000 people. It is important to note that although each Payam is touched, not everyone will be reached in the first cycle but with increase of local churches and communities affecting their neighbours there is good potential for the impacts to spread more widely within each Payam. The project will initially reach 36 CCMP facilitators who will in turn be able to train approximately 80 church members each. We expect and have seen from previous CCMP processes in South Sudan that each Church member will be able to influence and include between 20 to 30 people within their communities. We are therefore going to aim to target approximately 30% of the population in the two Payams. This is around 15,900 people. The demographic breakdown is represented as follows:

Source: 5th Population and Housing Census 2008

Category Percentage
Men (over 18 years old) 19%
Women (over 18 years old) 25%
Boys ( up to 18 years old) 26%
Girls (up to 18 years old) 30%

Participation of beneficiaries in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the work

Any Church or community member has equal opportunity to be selected for training to become a Community Resource Persons (CCRePs) or Community and Church Information Gathering Teams (CCIGTs) or to become a Committee member. All the members of the churches and the communities can participate in providing the information that will be in the community or church baseline information. Every member is then involved in the analysis of the information Workshop and the Decision making and prioritizing workshops. This means everybody in the community is involved at all stages of the Programme design regardless of sex, or any other affiliation. The church leaders may also be involved in mobilizing the church to support in hosting the facilitators, contributing food stuffs for the participants and organizing workshops. The church members will help to mobilize local resources and inform every member to participate in the process.

[1] Progress Report Aginst the Provisions in Dr Chol’s Terms Of Reference (TOR), JUBA – 09/02/2015

[2] Tearfund Ireland’s International Programmes Manager has worked in South Sudan when CCM was first introduced in the same community and with the same local partner he involved with.