“What are the biggest barriers to success?”
Written by Missy Williams on February 19th, 2015.
We often get asked the question, “What are the biggest barriers to success at Seed Effect?” The short answer is easy: securing funding, overcoming hurdles due to lack of infrastructure, and finding qualified leaders/manpower in South Sudan.
But the long answer, the insight behind these three, is much more complex. It’s the reality that we are implementing a microloan program in a conflict-affected area.
South Sudan, the newest nation in the world, was birthed out of conflict. A 25-year civil war wreaked havoc on this nation, leaving 2.5 million dead and over 4 million displaced as refugees. But after a short period of relative peace, the whole world watched as the South seceded from the North to become an independent nation. That was July of 2011. And now, in February 2015, we are well past the 1-year anniversary of renewed conflict.
While we were surprised about the manner in which this conflict returned, the conflict itself is no surprise. It’s actually why we are here, serving the people of South Sudan.
When we launched Seed Effect, we reached out to other like-minded organizations who are doing phenomenal microfinance work around the world. The reality is that we never set out to start a new microfinance organization, but merely to facilitate the work of these others within South Sudan. But we quickly realized that, simply put, this was not going to happen. We kept hearing the words from these other organizations, “We can’t go there. But you should.”
Working in one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world with very little infrastructure is expensive. It costs more to deliver the same service. And then, add in the risk and instability associated with operating in a conflict-affected area, and there just aren’t many organizations who are able or willing to invest the time, energy, and resources into such an unpredictable place.
But we could. And we did. So, like South Sudan was birthed out of conflict, Seed Effect was birthed as a response to this unmet need – this country desperately needed development, empowerment, and opportunity even in the midst of instability, turmoil, and conflict.
The very thing that makes this work so hard, the thing that serves as the undercurrent behind every barrier to success, is the very reason we exist. Seed Effect exists to bring Jesus and empowerment to the hard places. And we are committed to serving where others won’t.
This is a two- part series on conflict-affected microfinance by Seed Effect Co-Founder, Missy Williams.