Student case study: Marshal Papworth scholar helps tackle the impact of Covid-19 in South Sudan

Student case study: Marshal Papworth scholar helps tackle the impact of Covid-19 in South Sudan

Name:                          John Wani

Country:                        South Sudan

Course:                        MSc Food Security and Development

University:                     The University of Reading, 2018-19

After graduating from the University of Reading with a degree in MSc Food Security and Development in December 2019, John returned home to South Sudan and quickly secured an international agricultural role in April 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, John has been unable to take up his new position and has turned his analytical and technical skills to assessing the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on local and regional food systems in South Sudan.

“The result of this assessment will provide an opportunity for understanding how individuals and communities with limited livelihood options are coping during this crisis and then design strategies that can be used to address them.”

John is also working hard to increase the productivity of his family’s piggery unit, as well as sharing his learnings with his community.

“In my free time I engage in the family farm to look after the small piggery unit and demonstrate to individual pig farmers who visit the unit the important husbandry practices for a successful and profitable piggery enterprise. Pig farmers who come to buy piglets are impressed with the variety of modern pig breeds that I rear in the unit, and the majority do buy piglets to replace the local and less productive breeds that they have been keeping.

“In South Sudan, rearing pigs is an enterprise that is increasingly in demand and can generate income within a short period of time and in a relatively small area, which helps new entrants to the sector and to provide more families with a constant source of income. My desire is to attract more potential farmers to venture into pig production so that we can reap the benefits of group marketing and sharing production expertise to improve the value chain.”

John has also shared the benefits of studying for his Masters degree in Food Security and Development at a British university and with the support of a UK-based agricultural development charity behind him. He says: “Before going to the UK, my dream was to visit progressive and successful farms and indeed this came true through the various visits organised by the Marshal Papworth Fund and the University of Reading. These visits greatly enhanced my knowledge of the farm production systems in the UK and how many farmers have transformed the farming sector into successful businesses, a source of employment and a livelihood for successive generations. These visits were interlinked with core concepts of my course as it dealt with food systems and development in general.”

To find out more about supporting the Marshal Papworth Fund, the agricultural development charity managed by the East of England Agricultural Society, please contact Sandra Lauridsen on 01733 363514 or email for more information.  If you’ve enjoyed learning about us and would simply like to make a donation please visit

Student case study: Marshal Papworth scholar helps tackle the impact of Covid-19 in South Sudan

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