We have all heard the truism that if you give a poor person a fish you feed them for a day - teach them to fish and you feed them for life...
That is the essential difference between AID and DEVELOPMENT. The former is short term, the latter hopefully can bring about long term and sustainable change. With this in mind CaSPA has committed support to training female students at the Solidarity Teacher Training College in Yambio. We are supporting this project in part because of the Australian connection to a number of the staff at the College. One of them - Br Bill Firman has provided this outline of the yearly budget of the work undertaken by the Solidarity Team in Sudan. We are highly appreciative of this feedback which confirms that donations to this very worthy cause are use for their intended purposes.
Naturally you are encouraged to add your personal and/or school support to this very worthy cause. Just contact Br Bill on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Engine Room
Usually, twice each year, I go to Rome for meetings of the Solidarity Board, the Solidarity Finance committee and to consult with our Rome office staff and our fundraising personnel. So it was that two weeks ago in Rome these meetings took place, including our Annual Solidarity Assembly to which all the contributing congregations that make up Solidarity are invited. Also present were some of the former personnel who had served with Solidarity during the past ten years and some of our donor/partners. It was a very supportive and encouraging gathering attended by 95 people. A highlight of the celebration was a video presentation by Paul Jeffrey on the mission of Solidarity among the people of South Sudan. Instead of providing some photos, as I usually do, I invite you to go to the link and watch the 16 minute vimeo on 'A decade of Solidarity'. Paul depicts very well the spirit of Solidarity and our ministry among the people here.
I attach also a couple of articles recently written by Paul that describe our Mission and the situation in South Sudan. He is a great, voluntry supporter.
A former Superior General of our Brothers used to say quite pointedly, even while directing our efforts to help the poor and marginalised, ' No money, no mission!' I usually write about what we are experiencing and what we are doing but the fact is that we are only able to be in South Sudan because of extraordinary support from individuals, religious congregations and donor/partners.
The Solidarity Board has approved a recurrent budget of US$2.604,238 for 2019 and a capital budget of $875,388.
The budget for training approximately 120 nurses or midwives in the Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau has been set at $789,455
while training a similar number of teachers in the Solidarity Teacher Training College in Yambio will require $591,231.
Our Agriculture Training programme in Riimenze will cost $179,246
while another $117,264 is budgeted for assisting the Internally Displaced people in Riimenze.
For pastoral programmes the Solidarity budget figure is $81,600 but there are other funds also secured in the name of, and accounted for by our Pastoral Team, in the names of various diocesan projects.
Then there is $64,880 to be used in Distance Education where we go out to more remote locations to offer in- service teacher training.
General administration, payment of taxes and National Superannuation Insurance in Juba, humanitarian aid and assistance to local congregations requires a budget of $411,810.
Other smaller expenditures are on the clinic in Riimenze and food distribution programmes in Juba as well as supporting a school run by graduates and volunteers in one of the Protection of Civilian camps in Juba.
The Board approves items in the capital budget specifically only when a donor can be found. So far we have secured funding to build a sixth dormitory in the CHTI that will enable us to reach our goal of equal numbers of male and female students and an increased student population of 140. We also have funding for a multi-purpose shelter in the CTI that will be used for outdoor study, graduations, classes and dining. We are seeking further capital funding for both the CHTI and STTC to provide more staff accommodation.
What about Income?
Based on this year's figures and funds already secured, we expect to receive
$1,616,302 from donor/partners,
$749,000 through Congregations, $62,500 in tuition fees,
$58,000 from private donors and
other income (mostly gleaned from currency exchange rate differential) of $138,500.
To completely fund the budget, including capital, we would need to secure another $854,000; but capital projects can be delayed if necessary Funding is looking good for 2019.
These funds are generated by our Solidarity Office in Rome (4 persons, equivalent to 3.2 full-time) and the Friends in Solidarity office in the USA (one person). These people are our engine room generating the resources so that we can deliver the services. They generate the funds, track them, account for them (with assistance from our Finance office in Juba and the other locations) and report back to donors.
This is an essential task that is handled so well that we now have genuine credibility with donors leading to several multi-annual agreements that are now in place. We are operating on a sound fiscal base thanks to this very good work. My estimate is that of the total projected budget of $3,479,627, the amount used for administration is $390,000 and the rest (88%) goes into service delivery.
Supervising all this and setting directions is the Solidarity Board comprised by 13 members, most from religious congregations but including one lay person and one representative of the South Sudan Catholic Bishops. Their work is thorough, unpaid and requiring a considerable commitment of time and energy. The minutes of the Finance committee meeting held before the Board were 13 pages. My report to the Board was 20 pages, with many other supporting documents, all to be read before the meeting. The minutes of the Board meeting are 21 pages long while the General Assembly minutes are a relatively small 7 pages. Board members have to read these carefully. As Executive Director, I am also the secretary producing all these documents for meetings; but the Board has put in place Statutes, a Strategic Plan, Governance Manual, Personnel Handbook and a Finance Manual. None of us are tourists when in Rome. Currently the Board is embarking upon a Monitoring and Evaluation exercise that will help us to analyze our impact on South Sudan. I think we can claim to have good governance the outcome of considerable work over the past decade.
To complete the analogy, one could say that the Board holds the steering wheel of the vehicle, 'Solidarity' while the Rome Solidarity offices and the USA FiS office are the engine rooms. I guess I am the drive shaft connecting to the four wheels of our service delivery: the training of heath professionals. teachers, pastoral agents and farmers. The road may be a bit rocky at times but our vehicle is strong enough to handle it as long as we have the right fuel money! No money no mission in South Sudan.
Christmas blessings to all, especially those who support and share our mission. Br Bill