IREX launches $12M project to strengthen media in South Sudan

IREX has launched its Sustainable Independent Media Activity (SIMA) – A 3-years USAID supported project that aims at strengthening Media institutions to increase community access to credible, accurate, and reliable information as the country enters into its first ever general elections.

In October 2022, the US government announced the allocation of $12 Million dollars to facilitate media in South Sudan to improve media content and professionalism of community radio stations across the country.

“SIMA was envisioned to serve the need of the country going for the first national elections, building an informed populace, ensuring journalists tackle sensitive issues while preserving the ability to do their work as safely as possible,” said Farhanaz Kermalli, SIMA chief of Party on 9th February during the launching of the project.

The Radio Community, Abyei Information and Radio Service, Eye Media and the Association for Media Development in South Sudan are among the tops media institution that will be supported by SIMA project for the next three years.

“Over the next nearly three years, our ambitious plans include a collaborate approach, capacity building programs, strengthen core and advanced journalism skills, community engagement in our target and approximate look into innovation that create a way for media operations to remain viable while reaching the communities in most critical need of information,” Kermalli added

The US ambassador to South Sudan Mr. Michael J. Adler said USAID Sustainable Independent Media Activity (SIMA) is one of the concrete steps that the United States is taking to help South Sudan people face the challenges. they are encountering in achieving the everlasting peace in the country.

“This program will empower citizens with a factual and reliable information that is necessary to achieve peace. The United States recognizes the tireless work of those who promote freedom of expression and access to information in South Sudan often at their personal risk,” Adler said

“Freedom of expression, freedom of the press and strong media institutions or essential building blogs of democracy and every successful society are necessary for the South Sudanese people to achieve the objectives of a peaceful and prosperous country,” He said

As the implementation of the project commence, the ambassador call for freedom of press in the country.

“We renew our call for the transitional government to allow the journalists to work without fear of harassment, detention or violence. Journalists must be free and empowered to fulfil their essential functions so that this country can become strong and stable democracy.” Adler said

Some of the target areas where the project will be implemnted includes Baliet, Renk, malakal in Upper Nile, Ngok in Abyei administrative area, wau in western Bhar El Gahazal, Awerial in lake State, Twic in Warrap State, Aweil in Northern Bahr El Gahazal, wau western Bhar El Gahazal, Kapoeta South in Eastern Equatoria state among other places that are in most need of the informarion.