Sign of Hope‘s struggle for clean water in South Sudan:

In-depth report from key association of NGOs

“Brave David’s long fight for the most basic of human needs and rights”
Hero of the Environment Nnimmo Bassey

Just out: an important report.

Important because it covers – in-depth – a key subject: how NGOs – the brave Davids of this world – fare when they confront multinationals – today’s Goliaths.

Important because it is from VENRO, whose size – 120 Germany-based NGOs – and their missions – providing humanitarian and development assistance around the world – makes it a leading advocate of and reporter on best practices in these key fields.

Entitled “Uncomfortable partners – from confrontation to cooperation: NGO’S strategies for dealing with companies”, the Report presents seven case studies.

Among them: “South Sudan / Sign of Hope / Water Contamination by Petronas – Daimler’s ‘bend but don’t break ’ strategy”.

The following three pages detail Sign of Hope’s decade-long struggle to put an end to the contamination of South Sudan’s water by relentlessly greedy international oil companies. Prime among them: Petronas, which is the Malaysian-owned oil giant.

Petronas, in turn, entered into a partnership with Germany’s Daimler in Formula 1 racing and other areas.

To achieve its objectives of stopping Petronas’ pollution of water, and of getting medical care and compensation for the loss of life, health and livelihood suffered by more than 600,000 victims in South Sudan, Sign of Hope initiated what it hoped would be a constructive dialogue with Daimler, which has, after all, committed itself to adhering to the highest of ethical and environmental practices when conducting business.

As the in-depth article revealed, this strategy yielded a series of meetings with representatives of Daimler, of Petronas and of South Sudanese government. All these, in turn, produced nothing more than lofty and empty promises, convoluted explanations – and – in one very worrying case – a threat from the government.

Undeterred by the lack of progress, Sign of Hope has pursued, even stepped up its fight for clean water in South Sudan. This stepping up has taken the form of furthering the enlistment of local stakeholders and the facilitation of their self-organization in an NGO.

“There are sound reasons for our move. The South Sudanese are obviously much better informed as to what’s going on in their countries. The carrying on of the fight by a local NGO sends a powerful message to the people of the country and to the world as a whole. Sign of Hope is happy to play the role of an enabler and supporter,” states Klaus Stieglitz, human rights expert and Deputy Chairperson of Sign of Hope.

South Sudan’s Sosywood

Coming soon to a screen near you?

Young film-makers hope to draw attention to social problems like gang violence and child marriage with their movies

By Inna Lazareva

JUBA, June 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – At the entrance to a wooden shack in a quiet neighbourhood of South Sudan’s capital, Juba, a young man in ripped jeans and sunglasses stands gripping a golden pistol, his finger hovering over the trigger.

“And action!” comes the call from a corner of the cabin, where Emmanuel Lobijo Josto, 22, is directing a movie about gang warfare, wiping off sweat in the 40-degree Celsius (104F) heat.

In the world’s newest nation, suffering from a conflict between rival factions that erupted in 2013, young people volunteering as actors, producers and directors are making films to get communities talking about social problems.

They hope their work will help bring peace to communities where politicians and aid agencies have failed – and build a thriving film industry into the bargain.

The new action movie in English and Juba-Arabic, entitled “The Forgotten Generation”, highlights the youth violence plaguing the city, Lobijo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“I believe telling someone what is wrong through the power of film is very important – and South Sudan has lots of untold stories,” he said.

Film-making may not seem like a priority in a nation roughly the size of France, which broke away from Sudan six years after the end of a long war, beginning life in 2011 with just 100 km (62 miles) of paved roads.

Today, weighed down by violence, poverty and corruption, it still lacks schools, hospitals and other basic infrastructure.

The film-makers say the ongoing bloodshed and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan mask other deep-rooted social problems, including child marriage, gang violence and stigmatisation of HIV/AIDS patients.

They hope their work will help shift mindsets.

“The movie is trying to bring this change in mentality, to break this chain of violence,” said Patrick Nyarsuk, 22, a radio presenter acting the part of a gangster in Lobijo’s film.

Patrick James, who won the best-actor award at the 2017 Juba Film Festival, said South Sudan’s people were losing hope of a better future. “But all the actors here believe that one day change will come,” he added.

And just like Hollywood and Nigeria’s Nollywood, they dream of putting South Sudan on the cinematic map with their own “Sosywood” genre, he said.

Read the full article