As southern Sudan prepares for independence in July 2011, two EDC programs are helping residents build skills to carry their new nation forward. The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) took time from a recent trip to the region to visit the EDC programs in action.
Touring the new radio station recently built by EDC’s Sudan Radio Service (SRS), administrator Rajiv Shah experienced firsthand the work of EDC’s programs in southern Sudan, a region long affected by conflict. The SRS station provides much-needed news and information in multiple languages on everything from civic education to agriculture.
In a nation where so many rely on agriculture for their livelihood, regular radio broadcasts can provide critical information. “For example, we are the first radio station to broadcast weather information and post the data online,” says EDC’s Jon Newstrom. “We can tell people how much rain we have gotten so far, and if we had more or less than last year.”
As part of his visit, Shah also spent time with students from the Rainbow School, who demonstrated with their teacher what they were learning from EDC’s Southern Sudan Interactive Radio Instruction (SSIRI) program. One lesson was about making polite requests, such as “May I have your pen?” Another lesson was about subtraction using bundles of 10. When Shah later asked the students if they had any questions, one girl raised her hand and asked, “May I have your pen, please?”
Originally published on July 20, 2011