It’s late in the day, but the market in Rubkona, Unity State, South Sudan is still buzzing with customers. They eye the fresh cuts of goat and beef at the butcher shop, considering their options for dinner.
This is no ordinary butcher shop, however – it’s owned and operated by a 30-person collective, with 25 men and 5 women sharing the duties according to local cultural norms. They were trained by DRC, with the men handling animal purchase and slaughter, and the women responsible for transporting the produce and maintaining the shop.
Many of the men had previous experience as animal herders or auctioneers in the livestock market, but they suffered from unstable and unsustainable employment, which was often insufficient to provide for their families.
One of the training graduates, Chap Kuol, didn’t hesitate to join the DRC butchery program. He needed a viable livelihood to be able to better support his wife and six children at home.
DRC’s butchery trainings began in 2019 as part of a Danida-funded livelihoods program, and members, who come from particularly vulnerable households, were provided with training and essential equipment, including butchery knives, scales, tables, and buckets as well as three cows and three goats with which to get started.
Chap Kuol and his colleagues have been able to profit from their new butchery, and the entire group of 30 meets every 3 months to divide the profits equally between them and manage their group savings and loan scheme.
DRC continues to support the shop and its members, and in addition to providing periodic refresher trainings and replacement tools, is also assisting with the construction of a dedicated market stall for the group, reducing their running costs significantly.
No business comes without challenges, however, and high rent, competition in the market, and a frequent need to replace their tools represent daily hurdles for the group. But a steady stream of Sudanese buses arriving in Rubkona means they’re never short of new potential customers.
DRC will continue to work with vulnerable households in Rubkona and surrounding counties to rebuild what was lost or destroyed due to years of war and conflict in the region.
Making a sustainable living is often a struggle in conflict and displacement-affected areas. In Malakal in South Sudan, a single mother of six has been able to establish her own business after taking part in a cash-for-work programme with DRC. She is now able to provide for her children.
Pervasive issues with gender-based violence in South Sudan makes it all the more important for single mothers to find a safe and sustainable source of income. After attending bread-making tutorials, Merry no longer has to pray before going to work.