Background

South Sudan became an independent state on 9th July 2011. The nation was born as a result of the Second Sudanese Civil War which was a conflict from 1983 to 2005 between the central Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). This conflict was based on cultural and religious divisions – the North (government) being of primarily Arab/Muslim cultural backgrounds and the South (SPLA) being primarily African/Christian cultural backgrounds.
Roughly two million people have died as a result of war, famine and disease caused by the conflict. Four million people in southern Sudan have been displaced at least once (and often repeatedly) during the war. The civilian death toll is one of the highest of any war since World War II and was marked by a large number of human rights violations, particularly by the Khartoum government. These include slavery and mass killings. The conflict officially ended with the signing of a peace agreement in January 2005.
Since gaining independence, many South Sudanese in the diaspora have returned to their original homeland. For many they are starting their lives afresh, struggling to survive without basic necessary infrastructure.
Obbo Payam
Not very far from Northern Uganda is Obbo Payam, located in Imatong State, formerly known as Eastern Equatorial State (EES), south of the Imatong ranges. It is one of the newly established Payams with its county headquarters in Ayaci previously in Magwi County. The climatic conditions of the area are influenced by the Imatong ranges. This land will produce two crops per season. People living in Obbo Payam are purely Acholi tribe of a Lwo/Luo ethnic group. The population of Obbo is estimated to be around 32,000 according to the results of the 2010 census, of which 70% are children. They are mainly subsistence farmers who grow food crops, keep sheep, goats and chickens for home consumption.
Most people from Obbo fled to neighbouring countries, settling in Uganda (Achol-pii & Kiryandongo and Adjumani Refugee Camps) and Kenya (Kakuma Refugee Camp). During the war, those who remained in Obbo suffered significant persecution by the central Sudanese government who under the leadership of Omar al-Bashir instituted Sharia law in 1983.
Before the civil war in the 1960s some minor economic activities were practiced through the Torit Co­operative Union, with branches in many other Payam areas, including Palotaka Rural Development Centre, Upper Talanga Tea Project, Obbo coffee and Pineapple Projects. These are some of the former activities which need to be revived. During the devastating war between the central Sudanese government and the SPLA, these initiatives were completely destroyed.

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