Population: 11.3 million (2013)
Major languages: English, Arabic
Major religions: Christianity, Indigenous religions
IFES movement: Fellowship of Christian University Students – South Sudan / FOCUS (SS)
On 9 July 2011 South Sudan gained independence from Sudan. Internal power struggles since then resulted in civil war for several years. Conflict also continued with Sudan: border disputes as well as disagreements regarding oil revenues.
As a result of the separation from Sudan, FOCUS - South Sudan was established. FOCUS (SS) affiliated to IFES in July 2015 at the IFES World Assembly in Mexico.
FOCUS South Sudan
• 5 state universities, 2 private ones and a number of higher institutions
• 5 student groups
• 5 full-time staff, 1 STEM (Short Term Experience in Ministry) staff and 1 volunteer
• small graduate (associate) ministry
Over the last few years FOCUS (SS) has gone through a number of challenges. The first was the relocation to Juba and the re-establishment of the office that was not yet ready for use. Most of the universities were closed due to the transfer from Khartoum Sudan back to South Sudan, and the infrastructures were not ready.
Then the country went through a brutal internal conflict, and many students had to leave the country for their safety. The country is still recovering from this conflict that has taken a tribal turn. However, God has been gracious and neither the FOCUS (SS) office or the staff were affected. They also praise God for seeing all the main campuses in the country having Christian fellowship groups.
FOCUS (SS) has not been silent in the face of the conflict. In early 2014 students and associates organised a peace march in Juba – many people joined them. They also broadcast a series of talks on peace and reconciliation on a Juba radio station. In addition, associates produced a paper entitle ‘A vision for the nation’ and distributed it widely.
View from the inside
Joseph Noel is General Secretary of FOCUS South Sudan. He says, ‘South Sudan is going through tough times economically and politically, however a peace agreement has been signed and we continue to pray that peace will be really achieved in our country.’
Joseph is inspired in his ministry by 2 Timothy 2:2: ‘And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.’
- that the peace process will be completed and that nothing will stop it again;
- that Focus (SS) will promote unity and harmony among the different tribal groups in the country;
- for a smooth transition as the term of the General Secretary/National Director is ending in December 2016, and for the right person to be appointed;
- that the associates and the partners will continue to support the staff and the ministry.