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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Maruko and the Snails

Maruko, a county in South Sudan, has seen little development over the years.

Basic infrastructure such as roads, schools and health facilities are non-existent and problems are further compounded by political, economic and social instability rampant in the country. Maruko’s remote location makes it challenging to access and it is not frequently visited by government officials or neighboring community leaders.

Recently, Maruko has been receiving a large number of persons who have been displaced from neighboring conflict-ridden areas, creating an even more urgent atmosphere.

Local leaders including women’s groups, chiefs, and clergy have gotten together to assess their situation and identify major areas of concern: a school, utensils, agricultural tools, road access, food insecurity, high maternal mortality rate, washing soap, and salt were outlined in their report. The council stated that their number one need was agricultural tools to address food security for the growing community.

A main concern in regard to food security has to do with snails destroying the harvest. Every three years there is an infestation of snails that can last for up to three years. At night the snails can travel over sleeping bodies making sleep uncomfortable. In addition, the snails eat all the edible crops such as groundnuts, maize, young millet, and pumpkins to name a few and this causes entire communities to have to migrate in search of food.

HOPE International Development Agency and the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC) continue to partner to provide emergency relief support for persons who are displaced and living in Maruko. Thus far agricultural tools for cultivating crops, food items, and soaps have been distributed.
Currently, school is held outdoors in Maruko.