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South Sudan Overview

Quick Facts

Population: 11 million (estimates vary)

Capital: Juba

Population Growth: 4.23%

Average life expectancy: 61.5 years

Population under 14 years of age: 46%

Languages: English (official), Arabic (official)

Religion: Animist, Christian

Human Development Index:  N/A

Living Below the Poverty Line: 50.6%

GDP Per Capita: $862 (US)

History of the Churches of Christ in South Sudan:
Because of the influence of Churches of Christ in Aweil, refugees from the Aweil region have naturally sought support from Churches of Christ when they arrive in Australia. At the request of their leaders, an ecumenical Sudanese congregation was established in South Australia in 2006, under the oversight of Magill Church of Christ. Leaders of the United Sudanese Fellowship approached GMP asking if our churches would support their communities in Sudan. GMP has formally partnered with church and community leaders in South Sudan since 2010.

South Sudan is a landlocked country located in central Africa, which recently won independence from its northern neighbor, Sudan, in 2011 after two decades of a brutal civil war. Sudan is predominantly Muslim, while South Sudan is a mix of Christian and animists. Over 2 million people died in the civil wars that plagued this area in the latter twentieth and early twenty first centuries. The damage to infrastructure and development over this period of time was also catastrophic.  Some of the leading indicators of human development, such as maternal mortality and infant mortality, are at high levels in South Sudan.  

In the referendum on independence from Sudan, an overwhelming majority of South Sudanese voted for independence, and the transition to becoming an independent nation in July 2011 was initially peaceful. Conflict with Sudan over disputed and – oil rich territories – flared up in 2012.  In late 2013, internal violence erupted with political and tribal differences as its cause. Tens of thousands were killed and about 1 million people displaced in the fighting. There is now a fragile peace.

South Sudan relies heavily on agriculture and oil as the drivers of its economy. Although boasting some of the largest oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa, South Sudan’s lack of infrastructure means it is dependent on good relations with Sudan in order to transport oil for export from Sudanese ports.

Projects in South Sudan

Church and Leadership Development 

The Churches of Christ congregations in the counties surrounding Aweil are overseen by Yournew Kol Wat, who has identified a clear need to developing trained evangelists and pastors to serve in the community. 

More on support Church and Leadership Development here

Emmanuel Children's Program 

Marialbai Emmanuel Children’s Program aims to provide holistic care to children who have lost their parents through the civil war, providing nutrition, education, health care, accommodation and social development..

More on Emmanuel Children's Program here.



Improving farming conditions and crop yields for poor farming families. Farmers currently ploughing by hand will have access to oxen-drawn ploughs, and training in ploughing techniques.

More on Ploughs here. 


Bongibot Agricultural Project

Enhancing food security in the fertile but impoverished Kenyi Payam district. Four model farms will spread agricultural knowledge and promote good practice.

This project is temporarily on hold.


Aweil Health Science Institute 

South Sudan has a very high infant mortality rate and lack of medical care in remote areas such as Malek Alel, Marialbai and Lainya County. A Midwives Training School was initiated at the request of local maternal health care providers. GMP supported the first cohort of midwives who graduated December 2015.

Encouraged by COCOA's support of the midwives school at Aweil Hospital, the state ministry of health and the national government have formed a new and bigger health training school in Aweil.  Aweil Health Sciences Institute has the capacity for 120 students including midwives, nurses and clinical practitioners.

More on Aweil Health Science Institute.


Church-to-Church Partnerships

Click here for more information about how your church can be involved in Church-to-Church Partnerships!


Resources on South Sudan