Viable Support to Transition and Stability (VISTAS)
Building on over 10 years of SWIFT II and III experience in Sudan and now South Sudan, AECOM provides the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with a fast and flexible mechanism for responding to the complex and fluid political situation in South Sudan. VISTAS’ goal is to mitigate the further spread of communal violence and rising tensions in critical areas where local level conflict may have national implications. To this end, the project has four objectives: to increase space and tools to manage conflict and tensions, build cross-line interdependency to promote peaceful coexistence, promote a more informed community, and engage communities in trauma awareness to lay the foundation for healing and reconciliation.
Since 2016, our USAID Viable Support to Transition and Stability (VISTAS) program has been partnering with Eye Media, the parent of Eye Radio (a local station in Juba, South Sudan), paying for shortwave broadcasts with national coverage. Apart from shortwave broadcasts, Eye Radio’s 24 hour daily FM broadcast is played through a network of repeaters (devices used to regenerate or replicate a signal) in eight of South Sudan’s largest urban centers, making it one of only two national broadcasts in the country. In supporting the station’s 24 hours of daily broadcasting, fuel bills for their diesel generators were exceeding $7,000 per month. In 2018, with the high cost of fuel threatening the sustainability of the station, VISTAS worked with Eye Media by providing technical engineering and in-kind support to design an off-grid containerized PV (photovoltaic or solar) power solution to better meet their ongoing electrical needs. During this time, Eye Radio was also encouraged to reduce its power needs by economizing their office operations.
- 1,200 youth (450 female) directly benefitted from a newly established resource center in Rumbek Town that trained youth on computer skills and served as an information hub.
- 11 women’s groups strengthened through capacity building, vocational training, leadership training, and provision of infrastructure, such as women’s centers and grinding mills.
- Supported 341 peace initiatives through dialogues and forums, benefiting 154,731 participants.
- Provided critical infrastructure and operational support to 6 radio stations (2 national and 4 local), giving the entire country improved access to timely and accurate information.
- Improved WASH conditions: 22,180 people were supplied with safe and clean drinking water; 14,935 persons gained secure access to sanitation facilities, and 4,355 people were equipped with information on proper hygiene practices.
- Aided with the purchase and installation of solar lighting in two UN Protection of Civilians camps, which benefitted 31,000 internally displaced persons.
- Engaged 6,452 community members in various types of trauma awareness sessions. This was a significant improvement (28%) from the 5,038 reached in 2017.
- Implemented 41 projects during 2018: activities included providing support for inter- and intra-tribal peace dialogues, support to civil society actors, livelihood activities for youth, small-scale infrastructure and WASH activities, and support to traditional authorities.