Coffey International Development’s Americas operation, MSI Worldwide, has just wound down a significant five-year project working alongside USAID to assist the new nation even before its referendum for independence. MSI’s USAID-funded SUPPORT (Services Under Program and Project Offices for Results Tracking) project helped to build the monitoring and evaluation and communications capacity for the newest USAID Mission, which was formally established in July 2011.
Over its five-year project life, the SUPPORT project provided a wide-range of coordination, logistical and support services to USAID, its partners and other key stakeholders. This behind-the-scenes role helped USAID implement its agenda in the South and respond systematically to a wide variety of requests under challenging conditions.
MSI evaluated approximately $1.2 billion of the USAID portfolio in South Sudan. Specifically, MSI developed a performance management system for USAID/South Sudan that provides technical assistance to partners on data collections and reporting. MSI’s SUPPORT team completed nearly 40 assessments, evaluations, and studies in health, education, environment, infrastructure, diaspora, governance, civic participation and referendum issues.
With the influx of staff to Juba, USAID found it had limited physical space in which to hold meetings, particularly in the initial years. MSI built and equipped a professional office compound on the corner lot across from USAID’s office on land that had previously been a community garbage dump. This compound, which became operational in 2009, was equipped with 32 offices to house the MSI team, as well as spaces that could be assigned on a revolving basis for meetings, workshops, and seminars, including two conference rooms equipped with projection and sound. Between its opening and the end of the project in 2012, approximately 2,000 USAID meetings, conferences and training programs were held on the SUPPORT site.
In addition to facilitating USAID meetings, conferences and training programs for its staff and implementing partners, the SUPPORT project played a critical role in organising and facilitating important international, multi-donor, multi-agency conferences that focused on Southern Sudan. For instance, in Washington, D.C., MSI helped to host USAID’s International Engagement Conference for South Sudan. The high-profile event took place in December 2011 and was attended by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Kiir of South Sudan and hundreds of other high-level officials from governments worldwide, private sector corporations and civil society organisations. More than 20 countries and 100 businesses and partners attended to assist in the expansion of South Sudan’s economy and business opportunities.
MSI was also instrumental in mobilising a number of key technical consultants who provided critical technical assistance. As a result of MSI’s overall technical assistance, the field mission’s reporting and outreach was more streamlined, frequent, comprehensive and accurate. For South Sudan’s independence, SUPPORT’s communications expert worked with the U.S. State Department in a number of areas, including working closely with international media to secure interviews. The SUPPORT team produced videos documenting the tremendous effort by the South Sudan government and the international community during the referendum, one of which was aired on South Sudan TV.
This appeared on MSI’s website, the Americas operation of Coffey International Development.