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Hard work pays, a single mother in smiles

By Jurugo Emmanuel Ogasto


A single mother, who benefited from Youth Enterprise Development and Capacity Building (YEDCB) project is a happy woman, reaping fruits of her labour. 

A 27-year-old, Maka Scovia John is one of about 2,394 South Sudanese youth beneficiaries, of whom 1,446 were female in a project funded by United Nations Development Project (UNDP) South Sudan.

She was one of the beneficiaries of Youth Enterprise Development and Capacity Building (YEDCB) project aimed at enhancing employability and job creation for young women and men aged 18–35 years in South Sudan.

In the project, the target beneficiaries are empowered to strengthen the private sector by building entrepreneurship skills and improving enabling environment.

The single mother who was informed by a friend about the loans given by UNDP South Sudan set up juice business which became successful.

“I immediately applied; after that, we were given capacity building, and I managed to pay it off through hard work, endurance and determination,’’ she narrated.

Maka narrated that she was granted a 4 million South Sudanese Pounds’ loan to help boost her business and repay it fully within 3 months.

She calls upon fellow women to take advantage of the available non-governmental organizations (NGO) and government programs set to secure financial independence and self-reliance.

According to Maka, economically empowered women have minimal chances of experiencing domestic violence.

“Hunger is one of the reasons why people fight at home,’’ she said.

Maka, who is enjoying the dividends of the UNDP-funded project, advised other women to desist from relaying on their hubbies.

She urges women in the country to engage in income-generating activities as a way of alleviating themselves from the bondage of poverty.

“I am encouraging women to avoid dependency and work for themselves

The 27-year-old single mother appealed to the government and stakeholders to help and invest in women through offering loans and capacity building.

“My appeal to young women and men is to take government and NGO offers seriously, and the government should also offer them opportunities like loans,’’ she urged.

Maka, however, hinted that the current economic crisis in the country has affected her business, noting that all her fruits are imported from Uganda.

“The dollar issue has affected my business, but we have nothing to do; we are just pushing like this,” she expressed.

However, an unsuccessful beneficiary of the same project, who declined to mention his name, revealed hitting snag in his business and failing to repay the loans to date after opening a restaurant.

He lamented that the business retarded because the family, including his parents, depended on him as sole breadwinner.

“I got the loan and established a restaurant and sold soft drinks, but I had a large family. My parents stay with me, and they are not earning anything, so I had to support them on the money from the business,” the man lamented.

Before three months could elapse, the unfortunate trader, over laden with family weight, coupled with the current economic crises in the country, fell out of business.

“I could not even do the business for more than three months, and you know the economic crisis,” he narrated.

This trader only generated half of the loan from the business, before the crisis hit him hard.

“I was able to get at least 1.7 million SSP, which was really not enough,’’ he noted.

Amidst his fate, the man thanked UNDP for the great support and encouraged other stakeholders to continue supporting the youth in their endeavors for financial independence.

Meanwhile, Daniel Kiir, the team leader of STARR Unit UNDP, applauded Maka for the efforts she has put into ensuring her business runs and paying off the loan.

“This is a lesson to the women out there that you need to be focused when you want to achieve something,’’ he said.

Kiir disclosed that the loans given in South Sudanese pounds are available are available to South Sudanese citizens.

According to him, the criteria for selecting beneficiaries to get the loans must be between the ages of 18 and 35, should own registered business with business plans; and be in a cooperative group.

For a business to qualify for the loan, it should also employ three to ten South Sudanese, with majority women.

The objectives of the UNDP funded project is to increase the employability of youth by facilitating access to skills, business development support, and financing, and to enhance public service delivery through institutional and human capacity development.

The project seeks to ensure that youth with the potential to grow as entrepreneurs are self-employed and/or create employment for others through their sustainable businesses.


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