Our Story

NACO (pronounced as na-cho) is a charitable not-for-profit community-based organization operating in the United States, Canada, and South Sudan serving all South Sudanese and other communities across the three countries.

The Otuho people are found in Eastern Equatoria State of South Sudan. They are formed of different communities called the Otuho speakers. The Otuho-speaking people are bordered by the Lokoro in the North, Bari in the West, Acholi and Madi in the South, and the Didinga and Boya in the East. The Otuho-Speaking region is characterized by ranges and mountains spurs such as the Imatong Mountain which is the highest with an altitude of 10,453 ft above sea level. It is also the highest mountain in the whole of South Sudan.

Based on Hino (1980), the region is divided into 5 major areas namely: Imatong, Horyok, Dongotolo, Lopit, and the Otuho Plains. The Otuho South Sudanese residing in North America are mainly in the United States and Canada. They immigrated during the twenty two (22) years of civil war (1983 – 2005) between the Sudanese government and the southern rebels called the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). The civil war ended in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which paved the way for the independence of South Sudan as a country in July 2011. Many of the families who came to North America did not come directly from the Sudan or southern Sudan but from neighboring countries including Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt and wherever they fled for refuge during the war. A great number of families began arriving in the early 2000’s.

During several events in the community, the elders realized the need to lean on and support one another in times of sorrow, and happiness and later decided in the summer of 2005 to establish a community organization. Thus, the Otuho-Speaking Community of North America, NACO (pronounced as na-cho), which means to lean on and support one another, was born. It was officially established during the Christmas celebration of 2005 after the constitution was ratified and passed in Erie, Pennsylvania. Shortly after its establishment, the organization was incorporated in 2006, and obtained its non-profit tax-exempt status (501) (C) 3 in 2007 in the United States. Later in 2013, and 2014, the organization attained its non-for-profit status in Canada, and South Sudan, respectively.