As the political space in South Sudan continues to shrink, many members of civil society organizations (CSOs) are growing ever more concerned about their personal safety and the safety and sustainability of their organizations. Particularly since the outbreak of renewed violence in July 2016, the relations hip between the government and CSOs has become increasingly tense. At the sametime, the ever-worsening economy and growing food insecurity have resulted in increasing petty theft and crime. From February to March 2017, SUCCESS delivered a series of trainings dubbed ‘Business Continuity Trainings’ for 35 CSOs from around the country to help these organizations manage risks especially in the current politically-sensitive and fluid operating environment.
Change Agent Association (CAA), a Yambio-based CSO, was just one of the organizations that benefited from this course. Over the years, CAA has experienced repeated cases of compound intrusions and theft, resulting in losses of organization’s assets, particularly damaging for a CSO operating on limited funds. The organization knew it needed to take action, but was unclear on how to begin. The SUCCESS Business Continuity training, which left participants with a level four international security certification, provided CAA with the tools to take critical steps to ensure the safety of their organization and staff and to pursue ongoing efforts to fight for change with more confidence and certainty.
Upon returning from the training at the National Peace Center in Juba, CAA applied the security risk management assessment process to their own context and embarked on vigorously on upgrading their organizational security systems, both infrastructural and procedural. The organization changed its wooden doors to metal ones and added bars to its windows, constructed fence around their office with concrete gate to close the pathway, employed two security guards to work in shifts, and introduced a visitor’s registration book to track movements of both employees and visitors in and out of the compound. In addition, the CAA Director took the lessons he learned and replicated the training for his staff to ensure their understanding of measures to protect the organization, but also to apply for their personnel safety.
“The office security is now up-to-date, the staff is security cautious, visitors to the office are properly scrutinized before they can access the premises, and the security operation systems established are up to standards,” Mr. Uddie explained. Not only that, “personally, the security training I attended was of a value as the knowledge I gained has made me cautious of my own safety and security.”