• Bird's-eye view of Kajo-Keji

    Bird’s-eye view of Kajo-Keji


Decades of war and ongoing conflict

In early 2005, a comprehensive peace agreement was signed between the Sudanese government in Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM/SPLA), thereby ending 21 years of civil war in Sudan. Relative peace prevailed in the years following, with many people returning to their homeland, paving the way for the Republic of South Sudan to emerge as an independent state in 2011. However, increasing tensions in South Sudan resulted in a new wave of political instability which, on 15th December 2013, culminated in violence which has caused over 10,000 deaths, with 100,000 internally displaced and many others exiled as a result.


Lack of mental health services and psychosocial support

The past decades of war and ongoing internal conflict have subjected the South Sudanese people to prolonged – and continuing – violence, displacement and extreme hardship. This has had a huge impact on their mental, physical, social and economical well-being, supported only by an underdeveloped healthcare system and infrastructure. While there is a tremendous need to manage the overwhelming effects of such trauma, mental health services and psychosocial support largely remain unavailable to these vulnerable people.


Traumatised refugees return to their communities

Kajo-Keji county, home of the Bari speaking Kuku, is the southernmost county in South Sudan, located in the state of Central Equatoria. It lies just south of the country’s capital, Juba, very close to the international border with Uganda to the south and bordered by Juba to the north, Magwi county to the east, Lainya to the north-west and Morobo to the west.

Kajo-Keji county has affected by the consequences of numerous conflicts: civil war, local disputes and periods of unrest in northern Uganda. Bombing, fighting, large losses of life and property and fear of landmines, coupled with raids by the Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and weak local structures, have caused chaos, food shortages and mass migrations. As a result of the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005 and independence gained in 2011, many refugees have returned home and are still returning to their communities of origin. Central Equatoria is one of the states in South Sudan where the largest number of returning refugees accumulate (53,459 between October 2010 and June 2012 according to UN OCHA). According to the village assessment survey of International Organization for Migration (IOM), 18% of the estimated host population in Kajo-Keji in 2012 were returnees (38,743).