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Arsenio Beda Ladu in South Sudan

Published: 20 September 2011 Updated: 5 June 2015

In Africa's youngest nation, South Sudan, corruption is rife; Government funds disappear and pensions and wages are not paid out as they should be. This affects salaried employees such as Arsenio Beda Ladu, teacher at Buluk Primary School in Juba.

 "Corruption is not only harmful for individuals, but also for society as a whole," explains Arsenio Beda Ladu. "There must be control and insight, all the way from the top to grass-roots level. It's not uncommon for people to receive their pension very late, or not at all. Moreover, the number of teachers on the payroll isn't consistent with reality."

Arsenio, also known as "Mwalimu" - Swahili for "teacher" - describes corruption as "denying people their rights". According to Arsenio, the delayed payment of wages creates room for corruption and affects the already meagre wages which salaried employees such as Arsenio receive.

Up until three months ago, Arsenio only tended to receive his monthly wage after two months' work.

 "Getting paid has always been difficult. For some teachers, it takes up to six months before they are paid," he explains.

Supporting a family of seven children is a challenge for Arsenio. He pays for his children's school fees, healthcare and medicine, housing, food and clothing and he also provides for his wife, in addition to his own needs.

 "We were in a really bad situation when my children became ill. I borrowed money to pay for hospital bills. Borrowed money with interest charges.”

Sometimes he was forced to ask for money:

 "I didn't even have enough money to buy food for the family; naturally, our savings were gone and I was still working every day."

Arsenio's problem would later be solved with a computerized system for wage payments. With the help of the new computerized wage system, the teachers finally receive their wages in time and corruption is decreasing.
"For me personally, this computer system is the best way," says Arsenio. The Government should continue with this project."

The system was introduced via The Capacity Building Trust Fund, which receives support from Sweden, as one of the methods of combating corruption in the national government payment system. Arsenio feels that the benefits of this system are clear for everyone:

 "Three months ago, things started to change. I started to get my wages on time."

Arsenio is proud of his profession and feels that he was born to be a teacher; he would never have taken a different job.

 "I'm proud to be a teacher. It's not easy, but we teachers are here to serve the country; every teacher is building the nation. To build a nation you must start with the foundation, the children."

Page owner: The Communication Department

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