Moving Forward in Juba

The noisy propellers slicing through the warm African air, pull us closer to Juba — the capital of South Sudan — with each rotation. It’s interesting to note, the notion of spinning in circles insinuates a hopeless situation; but in the case of the propeller, the very action of spinning, is what moves it forward.

 

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As the wheels screeched to a halt and the seatbelt signs went dark, myself and Zein Al Moghraby (Toronto-based Program Manager for South Sudan) emerged from the aircraft and as I looked around, I felt a sense of familiarity (as I had been working in Juba for a year prior) but I also felt excited by the potential this project holds.

 

Journalists for Human Rights is moving away from workshop style training. Instead, we are now able to embed International Media Trainers within existing media houses in South Sudan. I have always believed this approach to be more effective. This approach allows our trainers to have a very realistic understanding of how challenging it is for media houses in South Sudan; this knowledge assists in pushing for creative and sustainable solutions.

 

Training journalists is the largest portion of project, however, JHR is also reaching out to civil society leaders and government officials to assist in building bridges between all three in order to create a stronger flow of communications which in the end, inform the people of South Sudan.

 

Our first few days on the ground, we met with several of JHR’s partners on the ground who are ready and willing to ensure this project lives up to its potential.

 

We also had time to stop in to a couple media houses JHR has worked with over the last year and a half. After being outside of Juba for several months, it’s great to see so many familiar faces who continue the daily struggle to inform the citizens of South Sudan through strong journalism.

 

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A journalist at Bakhita Radio Station.

 

The work ahead will be challenging, sometimes frustrating, and I know at certain times it will feel as though we are spinning in circles. However, I can take solace in knowing that the spinning is all part of the larger picture and in the end, is what in fact helps propel the project forward.

 

– Grant McDonald, In-Country Program Manager, South Sudan

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