A call to action from South Sudan

My former boss at the United States Institute of Peace, Patricia Powers Thomson, has prepared A Call to Action:  Establishing the South Sudan School of Public Service.  She writes:

Currently, there are only a few management training programs within and for government, and they are fragmented. Even fewer training programs exist for NGO and IO staff – although they do much of the country’s development work. Moreover, many partners/funders are keen to invest in programs that develop public servants, but there is no shared vision for what that means. A more strategic approach is required.


I propose the creation of the South Sudan School of Public Service (SSSPS) to build a new generation of public servants, while at the same time improving the skills of those currently serving in government. In addition to government, SSSPS should support the staff of both non‐governmental and international organizations.

I recommend you read the whole proposal, which strikes me as hitting the bulls’ eye.  A few years ago, I spent some time looking at one contractor’s work in South Sudan.  Its own employees were quick to note that lack of capacity in the public administration severely hampered their ability to accomplish anything useful.  A lot of money was wasted.

Trish currently teaches at the University of Juba and the Catholic University of South Sudan.  She has over 25 years of international development experience, including service in the military, government, NGO, and private sectors. She has served as the Chief Operating Officer of Relief International, Executive Vice President of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), and Senior Governance Advisor with the State Department in Iraq.  She also spent 10 years working in the private sector as an Associate Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting where she advised a range of clients in the United States and abroad. She served four years in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University.  She can be reached at PatriciaPowersThomson@yahoo.com.

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