On 9th July 2011 South Sudan gained independence from Sudan after a referendum in January 2011 agreed under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 that brought an end to years of civil war. As the world’s newest nation, and 193rd country, South Sudan has many opportunities but also faces numerous challenges.
South Sudan has been at war for over a half century and this has caused great damage to both the population and the infrastructure. Although the CPA brought a formal peace to the country, many tensions between Sudan and South Sudan remain in need of resolution. The consequent independence of South Sudan in 2011 has also exacerbated many existing issues. As the world’s newest country, South Sudan is also one of the poorest. Conflict is ongoing across the country; the years of civil war have left many scars on the nation including a deep running tradition of violence. As a result, there is an inherent fear of conflict – fear of conflict causes people to arm themselves and prepare for violence, which in turn spurs violence, bringing about a self-perpetuating cycle intensified by real tensions.
SOS Sahel South Sudan
SOS Sahel South Sudan is a national NGO whose mission is to strengthen people’s livelihoods in order to decrease poverty and resource-based conflict by working closely with local communities and building on people’s own capabilities. Its long-term objective is to develop peaceful access to natural resources across the country through enhanced co-existence amongst the resource users to decrease tension that can lead to conflict.
SOS Sahel South Sudan is working to replicate some of the successful models of operation implemented by SOS Sahel in Sudan. These have focussed around building peace and prosperity through sustained engagement at the community level, working closely with both farmers and pastoralists as well as traditional community leaders, local government departments, women and youth, to reduce resource-based conflict through better management of natural resources, and by strengthening livelihoods and civil society.
Find a leaflet outlining SOS South Sudan's Mission and current projects here.
Read about SOS Sahel South Sudan's lastest peace conference here.
Read a report by SOS Sahel South Sudan on laws and policies governing natural resources in South Sudan here.
SOS Sahel South Sudan has just published a 'Community guide for understanding
and addressing the conflict issues being experienced in Warrap State'. Download it here.
Organisation and Funding
The organisation’s founder, Ajak Deng, is South Sudanese, from the contested Abyei region on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, and was one of SOS Sahel’s longest serving members in Sudan, with our South Kordofan programme. Knowing that he would be moving back to South Sudan following independence, Ajak took steps to register SOS Sahel South Sudan as a new national NGO in the country – a process that was rapidly completed in May 2011.
Since its registration, SOS Sahel South Sudan has secured funding from Oxfam Novib to help establish the new organisation, including the completion of all legal registrations, formation of a Board of Trustees and development of a strategic action plan.
SOS Sahel UK is also working with SOS Sahel South Sudan to help the organisation become a strong national NGO. We are supporting them to implement a second project, also funded by Oxfam Novib, to address some of the existing capacity building needs of the new organisation and to implement activities in Central Equatoria and Warrap States.
Capacity Building Activities for SOS Sahel South Sudan include:
- Further training for the SOS Sahel South Sudan Board of Trustees by one of the SOS Sahel UK trustees;
- Finance training from SOS Sahel UK finance manager;
- In-country support from SOS Sahel UK’s programme and administration officer who is supporting the organisation to set up an efficient office and to raise funds.
SOS Sahel South Sudan is starting its activities with a pilot project in Terekeka and Juba County, Central Equatoria State (CES) based on the outcomes of information from a baseline study commissioned by SOS Sahel South Sudan (please click here to read the baseline report).
Conflict resolution work is much needed in CES; clashes fuelled by disagreements over resources, prevalent across South Sudan, are endemic in CES and inter-tribal conflicts are common. Around neighbouring Juba County, conflicts between Bari farming communities are common and Terekeka County is particularly susceptible to violence: for example, the Mundari and Dinka pastoralists come into conflict over pasture, water points and fishing ponds, cattle raiding, revenge, counter-revenge, and border disputes. In recent months, pastoralists from Terekeka County and Lakes State have come into conflict with communities in the western part of Juba County.
SOS Sahel South Sudan will address these issues by:
- strengthening civil society
- bringing groups together in conflict forums
- allowing space to discuss contentious issues and find solutions
- providing conflict management training to key individuals and local organisations, identified by the communities themselves, to help them to address tensions that arise amongst them
SOS Sahel South Sudan’s baseline survey was also conducted in Warrap State and the organisation will be conducting a workshop in the state to feed back the results of the survey to the communities there. Meetings will also be carried out with relevant government ministries in the state to help SOS Sahel South Sudan start to build its presence in Warrap State.
South Sudan Peace and Prosperity Promotion Programme
SOS Sahel South Sudan is also implementing a project with Oxfam and another local partner, ACORD, that works to build peace by strengthening livelihoods and conflict management mechanisms in three key areas in South Sudan – Warrap, Upper Nile and Central Equatoria States.
SOS Sahel South Sudan has secured further funding from Oxfam Novib to follow up on this pilot project. The new project will enable the organisation to continue developing its peace-building work in Central Equatoria State.
SOS Sahel South Sudan is also seeking to expand its work in Warrap State. The organisation is therefore looking for funding and possible partners who could help it fulfil this aim.
Please contact us if you have any questions about the new organisation. And follow us on Twitter for updates on our work and news from South Sudan.