Developed with the full financial support of the Government and the People of Japan and conducted under the auspices of the Government of South Sudan, the 2020–2021 UNITAR Building Bridges: Entrepreneurship and Project Planning in South Sudan programme sought to improve the capacity of South Sudanese professionals in entrepreneurship and project planning.
The programme supported the post-conflict reconstruction and development of South Sudan as it emerges from decades of devastating conflict and civil strife.
The programme was divided into two phases:
Phase 1 focused on fundamentals of entrepreneurship, organizational needs assessment, and leadership.
Phase 2 delved into project design and action plan.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak at the end of 2019, the programme shifted entirely online. An online mobile learning management platform and other online engagement tools were used to ensure that the participants had an effective learning and capacity-building experience.
Participants completed self-paced microlessons on a mobile learning management platform, EdApp, and assignments, and took part in peer-to-peer discussions and live webinars with subject matter experts.
National coaches, selected from a pool of UNITAR South Sudan programme alumni, provided valuable feedback and guidance to the participants and added important local context to the course content.
“My experience with the UNITAR Programme has been very insightful by broadening my understanding of Entrepreneurship and Project Planning. After the course, I am more poised to have a bird’s eye view of opportunities around me and open to taking risks, with contingency plans.”
Nathan Nyang Mayen
A total of eight South Sudanese national coaches were engaged for Phase 1 and five coaches for Phase 2.
They were selected from a pool of UNITAR South Sudan alumni and came from different educational and occupational backgrounds, providing diversity in their expertise.
“I am confident the knowledge and the skills I gained positioned me to better conduct the need assessment and environmental analysis of the institution I work for. The programme was amazing; I learned a lot of things that I’m currently applying in my working environment.”
Tabitha Nyawal Lual
The programme drew 75 junior to mid-level professionals – both female and male – from the public sector, academia, media, small and medium enterprises, and civil society and local non-governmental organizations.
Of these, 50 participants who performed well and completed the minimum course requirements in Phase 1 progressed to Phase 2.
“Learning with UNITAR was educative and exciting though it was online but having a chance to apply what we learned on our various workplaces was very exciting to me.”
A post-programme evaluation survey shows that the programme was rated highly satisfactory by the participants: 100% of the survey respondents believed that the information provided by the programme were relevant to their learning needs and will be used in the future.
The online modality allowed learners from different regions of South Sudan to take part. Out of the 75 participants enrolled in Phase 1, 69% were from Juba and the remaining 31% were from other parts of the country.
Geographical and sectoral representation is crucial in enhancing inclusivity and diversity, but has often proved difficult to achieve especially for in-person training, as remote areas often lack the necessary infrastructure to conduct safe and adequate training.
Given that internet access is limited and expensive in South Sudan, UNITAR used a platform for low-data environments, chose learning materials that needed less data.
UNITAR provided internet data bundles for participants, coaches, and local coordinators.
Participants also indicated a significant increase in their level of knowledge and skills in key topics.
Regarding the knowledge level of fundamentals of entrepreneurship, 12% of the participants rated their levels as moderate or high before the programme and this increased to 94% after the programme.
The greatest number of participants intend to use what they learned to “implement a project or lead a programme.”
“I was inspired by the module on social entrepreneurship…I plan to establish a social organization
for helping South Sudanese to solve social problems through poverty reduction and
achieve a social return on investment for service delivery in the community.”