Ethiopia RPCV Allan Reed created a Diaspora Skills Transfer Program to bring educated southern Sudanese living abroad back to the country that needs them
More than 5 million southern Sudanese were displaced by war. Up to 90 percent of the population cannot read or write. Ten miles of paved road exist in a region the size of Europe. And diseases eradicated elsewhere in Africa, such as sleeping sickness and guinea worm, flourish. "Both health and education are critical to the needs of the returnees," Reed said. They are also the "least controversial" types of aid that can be given to a country still recovering from political strife, he added. Reed directs this and other humanitarian efforts from a four-bedroom house he shares with other international-development agency staff members in Juba, the capital of southern Sudan.
Since the program started in November 2005, about 100 doctors and educators have given up Western salaries and living conditions to return to Sudan for three months of service. In Sudan, the reception has not always been rapturous. "Sometimes there are attitudes (like), 'Who are these people coming back who were living these cushy lives while we were suffering?' " Reed said. "But the Sudanese government has clearly recognized the importance of (returnees) and the skills they bring." Reed said the proof of this is in the outcome: Almost 50 percent of the volunteers have since returned to Sudan, and several have stayed permanently. One volunteer, a doctor from Tennessee, is now the deputy director of southern Sudan's National HIV/AIDS Council. A Texas professor has become a minister in Sudan's fledgling government of national unity. Read more.
Read more about Peace Corps Ethiopia.
Read more about the Peace Corps and NGO's.
Read more about the Peace Corps and Service.
Caption: Allan Reed and wife Ayo Reed pose next to Sudanese art which represents Dinka tribal life. They met when she was working as a nurse in Sudan in 1972 and were married in 1974 and are preparing to return.