The Atlas Corps’ fellowship has been a great knowledge and understanding of how we can change the world in different aspect based on traditional and cultural settings of our societies. This doesn’t mean that we are solidly opposing what other profit and nonprofit global leaders are doing in the society but we are looking on another way of designing and doing it for the betterment of the future.
“Return from the United States’ Washington DC to South Sudan”
It has been a difficult task but I call it a challenge to improve on what I learned elsewhere when a returned from the United State’s Washington DC to my home country South Sudan and continue with the fellowship for three months. Stably, I was engaged in speaking to marginalized women, girls, politicians, business students among others to identify obstacles, challenges they are facing in developing themselves and what they expect to do in order to address these challenges.
Yes, I developed this idea of speaking to the grass-root audiences while in the Atlas Corps’ oversea Fellowship in 2015 because I believe that the “more we know about an audience the better we are able to serve them.” Well in that profession of “Communication for Positive Behavior Change” or journalism, it is essential to know exactly for whom each program you design is intended. We must know the size of the audience, the listeners’ attitudes and general outlook, what they think and feel, where they live and perhaps even how much they earn, before we can begin to make a program which will satisfy their needs.
“How can we do this?”
The first reflection in my mind was that, “exactly – a mission we obtained from the US to carry on.” After been accepted as an Atlas Corps fellow Class 18, I call the program as “an opener” for me to begin how we can actually fix issues of Poverty, illiteracy and the dependency syndrome which is a key reason making our societies hard to develop. When I was finding out in an interview issues in the community, I faced these questions;- What is the sustainability of your interviews with us? In this hard life we are in, are you going to lobby for funds to help us? And, how possible are you going to address these issues you have identified in these communities because if not generations over generations will be lost. Akello Stella, a woman in South Sudan’s new Yei River State, Tore Payam asked me these questions when I was speaking to a group of teenage mothers and pregnancies in that marginalized area;- I took a deep breath and started refreshing what she said; “actually, for how long can we continue to lose our generations because of poverty, illiteracy and dependency when we have the ability and power we got from Atlas Corps to empower our societies as well “Change your Perspective, Change the World?”
Hooray! “Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economy, achieve internationally agreed goals for sustainable development and improve the quality of life for all in the society.” With all these massive effort gained from the United States, I prefer it is possible to initiate development programs such as problem of designing projects that take into account the perceptions and capacities of the intended beneficiaries, mobilizing rural poor for development action and ensuring an information flow among all concerned with life changes, improving the reach and impact of rural training programs. Therefore, within the three months, I came with an the above idea, drafted a concept note for a Community Based Organization which will be working to empower women, teenage mothers, girls, orphans of the war in South Sudan among others. This is a grass-root organization aimed at making the rural community poverty free by doing their own work with a vision to renovate the rural community to realize a transformed life to sustainable development”.