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Snapshot: A Change for Sudan « International Aid Services America

Could it be that after decades of civil conflict, Southern Sudan’s days of fighting and repression are over? As results begin to emerge from the South’s referendum on independence which took place in January, one thing is obvious – almost everyone in Southern Sudan favors independence over unity with the North.

With some projections indicating as many as ninety-nine percent of voters choosing independence, the will of the Southern Sudanese people is conclusive – but what happens next is not quite so clear.

Working with the international community, a transitional plan is being put in place that would split the largest nation in Africa in two, sometime in 2011. But questions abound. Will this actually happen? If so, will the move to independence take place peacefully? And economically, will independence help the impoverished South?

Sudan’s problems are complex, and few believe that January’s elections alone will solve the issues facing one of Africa’s most impoverished nations. But, despite the challenges Southern Sudanese independence will bring, IAS is committed to helping the world’s soon-to-be newest country start off on the right foot.

In Bahr El Ghazal, IAS is just completing its third cycle of micro-finance loans to struggling Sudanese. With the only other micro-lending agency in Northern Bahr El Ghazal having closed its doors to business this past year, the IAS lending institution is now the sole hope for many Sudanese desperate to escape poverty through hard work and the chance at success offered by a small loan of a hundred dollars.

As the South’s desire to split with the North becomes evident, economic ties between the two nations may take an unpredictable turn. This could mean that business development in the new nation of the South is more important than ever. Without immediate assistance from the West, who knows what type of economic chaos might result from the South’s recent decision for independence?

That is why IAS remains committed to continuing the difficult work of running our micro-finance initiative in Bahr El Ghazal. With Southern Sudan’s poor infrastructure, one can imagine that the odds are stacked against us in regard to success for our program. And the closing of the doors of our only micro-finance partner in the region simply points out how tenuous sustaining this project has become.

But Southern Sudanese deserve a chance to feed their children, send them to school, and give their families medical treatment when needed. If not IAS, who then will help them?

As our third lending cycle comes to a close in the next few months, additional funding is needed to keep our program operating at current capacity. Already, we have to consider dropping several local lending groups from our next round of loans, due in part to our underfunded lending portfolio.

But you can help. When as little as one hundred dollars can transform the lives of an entire family, everyone has the opportunity to become an entrepreneurial angel investor. And, each loan not only builds capacity in the world’s poor, it literally has the potential to save lives!

Through your donation to IAS this month, you have the chance to promote change in one of the world’s newest nations. Thank you in advance for your capacity-building assistance to the poorest of the poor in Southern Sudan.

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