After 45 years of intermittent civil war, Catholic Relief Services is helping more than 500,000 people rebuild their lives in Southern Sudan. CRS' 120 staff members work with partners on a wide variety of projects—from school construction to agricultural programs to support for more than 40 health facilities.
CRS is also undertaking extensive peace promotion projects across the region to help repair torn social fabrics. Sudan held national elections in April 2010, to be followed by a referendum on unity or secession for the south in early 2011. The way Sudanese react to these events could lead to a new era of prosperity—or more violence. To help promote peace during this tense period, CRS has launched a $4-million Sudan peace initiative, with an emphasis on conflict mitigation training, broadcasting of peace messages and support for Church-led peacebuilding efforts.
Debbie DeVoe is a freelance writer who has traveled to more than 10 countries for CRS.