Sanou in South Sudan

Pibor: better late than never

The first Sanou in Pibor (July 2015) was a success despite huge logistic and HR challenges specific to South Sudan and even more specific to Pibor. Thanks to the flexibility of the great team of national and international staff in Pibor, the support of the coordination and the enthusiasm of the participants we had a great Sanou!
As Sanou coordinators we really enjoyed facilitating this training and to have the chance to see firsthand what a fantastic project Pibor is! It was a week of reflections and exchange of MSF experiences. Our national colleagues welcomed us by teaching us about the Murle culture and were very good at explaining the challenges they face on a daily basis and how they felt when MSF pulled out of Pibor in 2013. From our side as international staff we were able to share our experiences from other projects and from working in HQ. Like each training and each Sanou we adapted the modules to the facilitators and participants, even though most things stay the same wherever you go! In Pibor the movie "MSF Adventures" made the hearts beat faster and was a spark for a lot of interesting discussions.

After this first Sanou we have no doubt that the participants will be great MSF ambassadors in the project and the community but also in the rest of South Sudan. Hopefully the Pibor staff will continue on this path and be able to link up with their colleagues in other projects in the country. We are looking forward to hear more about them through the associative life!

In MSF we like to talk about lessons learned. The ones we learned from this Sanou are that despite logistic and HR challenges you can make it happen when there is a will and enough support, going from the organizational support of the coordination to the flexibility of the staff replacing their colleagues. Even though the content of the Sanou might look complicated and overwhelming, it is a tool that allows to be adapted to the facilitators and participants. Our MSF staff in Pibor had to wait a long time for a Sanou, but better late than never and even after many years presence, it definitely will make a difference for us all; the team on ground, the beneficiaries and the community!

Go team Pibor!

Kind regards
Sara and Malin


ABONA !!!  (hello and how are you in Murle)

With MSF’s presence in the Pibor area existing more than a decade, it was surprising to find National Staff with very little understanding of whom or what MSF is, where we operate, and how we are funded.

Luckily for us the Sanou team arrived to change the way staff understand MSF.  Although challenging due to limited expat numbers on the ground and few national staff who speak English, the Sanou team pushed through and the end result was impressive.  Not only were staff engaged and interested in the information being presented, but they were also eager to share this newfound knowledge with other staff members … and hopefully the community too.

I’m sure at first the Sanou team were a bit concerned about how things would turn out at the end of the course, however they identified the problems and adapted the program where they could to ensure that the best possible message got across to the staff who were part of the training.

After the course many staff were upset they could not attend Sanou and learn more about MSF, so we had modules one and two translated into Murle, the language and main Ethnic group of the people from the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.  Since then, module one has been provided to all National Staff in Pibor in their native tongue by the national staff trainers from the original Sanou course in July.  Our next step is getting the information to MSF outreach centers in Gumuruk and Lekuangole before moving on to module two.

I really think the overall impact is going to be big and the national staff are going to feel more like being part of a global team, rather than just collecting a paycheck.

Pete Clausen
By: Göran Svedin