The NGOs of Juba

I have become a big cynic when it comes to the activities of NGOs in Africa. I know that some of them mean well, and green university graduates often think that they can do some good in the world for a few years before earning the real money, but I just think that all these good intentions could be put to much better use. (I apologise in advance to all my NGO readers, of which I am sure there are many).

The other day, as part of our research for this book which is now achingly close to completion, I got hold of a map of Juba from the United Nations operation for the Co-Ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a name almost as unweildy as the institution itself.

The key of the map lists, astonishingly, amost 100 NGOs – and these are just the NGOs that a) would fit on the map and b) that the OCHA deemed worthy of inclusion (i.e., not the innumerable smaller outfits). This is absolutely astonishing, given that the civil war is now supposed to have ended and the former rebels are power-sharing with the government. Let’s not forget the countless UN personnel who operate out of Juba, too.

Now, I know that I am probably the last one to write favourably about NGOs in Africa and am rather of the mind that the operations of UNMIS should be suspended and the organisation relaunched, in due course, as a holiday club for aging civil servants.

But, still, even I am startled by the amount of money that is being thrown at the various conflicts and wars now taking place in Sudan. And on what exactly?

Answers on the back of a postcard, please, for I would surely love to know.

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2 Responses to “The NGOs of Juba”

  1. Kizzie Says:

    The west is really good at throwing money at problems ( as if money is going to solve anything in the “dark” continent)
    This reminds me of my father. He thinks that UNMIS is bullshit, the billions spent on it should be spent on post-war reconstruction and development ( he is a UN official ..ofcourse).
    The UN is a big joke right now, we don’t take it seriously and they are not widely respected. It should be turned into a charity organization.

  2. rob Says:

    I know a man in Juba renting a large 3 bedroom home to an NGO outfit for $11,000 a month. Nice house, but not that nice.

    Talk to people that were here before the signing of CPA and they tell you about a different Juba. A place that was expensive in some areas, but reasonable in others. After the UN and the like rolled into town everything went through the roof. These days nothing is reasonable.

    So most of that money that is being thrown here is not going into program activities or services that might directly benefit those in need. I would hazard that a huge portion of it goes into creating a false environment for those that come to this place and “do good” so they can sleep, eat and be merry in comfort.

    At least in Juba.

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