MRDA: Helping South Sudan

Mundri Relief and Development Association (MRDA) is an award-winning indigenous non-profit South Sudanese organization founded in 1991 by the local community to respond to the suffering of Southern Sudan.

mrda-sudanMRDA is situated in Mundri West County, Western Equatoria State of South Sudan.

My role as the director of the organization is to raise funds through proposal writing and networking with stakeholders. I supervise all projects including report writing and programs monitoring. I am also accountable to our donors, ensuring that all financial control systems are in place and adhere to budgets.

I head the team of finance, administration and programs managers, and coordinators and project officers who are responsible for implementing projects.

For the benefit of my work and that of my country (such donor relationship and fund-raising) I have traveled widely. I have visited Europe, Asia and Africa and countries like Sweden, Switzerland, France, Finland, German, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, United Kingdom, Italy, Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and Ethiopia, Djibouti and India.

Although South Sudan is located in a remote area, our programs include:

  • Child and maternal health. The Primary Health Care Program runs ten Primary Health Care Units (PHCUs) and four Primary Health Care Centers (PHCCs). Our activities include, Expanded Immunization Program, Antenatal care and HIV/Aids awareness.
  • The micro-finance program gives loans to the rural poor.
  • The civic education program is designed to educate the community on peace-building and their rights and responsibility as citizens.
  • The education program advocates enrollment and retention of boys and girls in primary schools, construction of child friendly schools, education campaigns, provision of scholarships and sanitary pads to the girls and running a teacher training institute.
  • The Livelihoods program works towards improving living conditions of the rural poor through strengthening their income generation activities, empowerment and food security in agriculture and off farm activities.

It is  worth noting that MRDA succeeded in the reconciliation process of dialogue between high-ranked government officials from the two conflicting tribes – the Jur of Mvolo, Western Equatoria State and the Dinkas of Lakes States of South Sudan. The conflict which was over resources, water grazing land and fisheries, had claimed a number of cattle’s and people’s lives. Though initially this was a  frequent phenomenon its magnitude had increased until the government was unable to control it.

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I must also admit that being a director of MRDA has its own challenges and obstacles, however we hope our work continues to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Light Wilson Aganwa, a South Sudanese, was appointed Executive Director of Mundri Relief and Development Association (MRDA) on November 14, 2009. Prior to this, he served as the Director of the Sudanese Organization for Nonviolence and Development (SONAD), an organization he co-founded in 1999. Light has a MA in Public Administration and Study of Governance from University of Khartoum and a MA in Rural Development from the University of Juba