To this end, the South Sudan Accelerator Lab has set out to better understand the impact of business skills training, specifically financial literacy and mobile banking, on entrepreneurial success. We are working together with two key partners.
First is UKRI, a UK Government non-departmental public body which brings together nine research councils, and is sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. UKRI’s Accelerate Hub is led on the ground in South Sudan by the Agency for Research and Development Initiative (ARDI), funded through the Global Challenges Fund and working towards accelerating achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals for Africa’s adolescents. UNDP and UKRI forged a global partnership in 2020 to use research to create faster breakthroughs for international development.
"Joining forces with UNDP provides an exciting opportunity to ensure policy makers and researchers with intricate on-the-ground knowledge of local challenges work together to find and implement sustainable, lasting solutions, which are owned and embraced by local communities across the world," said Professor Andrew Thompson, UKRI’s International Champion and Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, during the signing of the agreement with UNDP's Administrator Achim Steiner.
The second partner is Peacelink Foundation, who works closely with our Peace and Community Cohesion project. Peacelink Foundation works in Eastern Equatoria State delivering transformational trainings on peacebuilding, development, and for this initiative, financial literacy.
UNDP, UKRI/ARDI and Peacelink Foundation are testing if the combination of financial literacy skills will help to boost fledgling entrepreneurs’ ability to weather financial shocks, as well as increase their ability to hold higher levels of savings through improved money management skills.
To begin this learning cycle, 400 women and adolescents, most of which are from vulnerable groups and/or caregivers, took part in the Nimule training. Upon completion, the participants will receive a seed capital micro-grant and form Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) groups. The training focused on developing confidence and empowering the participants to start businesses.
“We need money, yes, but I feel that we also need training on how to manage and run a business because sometimes we get money to go to the market, but we only stay in the market for a few months before our capital is lost. Knowledge is power and because of this training, I feel that my fears about the market have been taken away,” says Mary, one of the participants in the group.