Promoting rural governance and participation in South Sudan
Title: Rural Governance in South Sudan
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: South Sudan
Overall term: 2020 to 2024
Local administrations in South Sudan often lack the capacities to provide public services. This affects people in rural regions, in particular, who make up 80 per cent of the total population. They do not have sufficient access to clean drinking water and the country lacks mechanisms to settle or prevent disputes over land and livestock migration. Another issue is the lack of training institutions to prepare staff of local administrations for their tasks. The rural population has only limited possibilities to assert their interests to the local administration, participate in municipal decisions and help shape their living environment.
In addition, conflicts between farmers and livestock herders for water resources and land result in violence in many parts of South Sudan. As a result, essential crops often cannot be harvested and livestock herds are endangered. This exacerbates existing conflicts for land and is an additional risk to food security.
There are local efforts to resolve conflicts peacefully and prevent them from arising in the first place. Decision-makers in the local administrations play a key role here and can mediate in conflicts. Women in particular frequently have the required societal backing to perform the role of mediator and shape the work of local administrations. However, women are often denied access to public offices due to structural and societal framework conditions.
Local administrations in selected counties in South Sudan improve the conditions for sustainable rural development with the participation of the population.
The project is part of the One World – No Hunger (SEWOH) Initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
It advises selected administrative counties in South Sudan on improving the provision of services for the rural population by taking a needs-based approach. The project works with employees of local administrations and civil-society organisations and promotes women in local administrations.
There are three main fields of action:
1. Training staff at local administrations
The project provides support for educational offers in the thematic areas of rural development, citizen participation, financial management, and peace and conflict mediation, thus enabling administrative staff to improve the provision of local services. Together with civil-society organisations and the local administration, it also creates mechanisms for involvement so that the population can participate in planning processes and actively present their interests.
2. Promoting and networking women in local administrations
Women in administration organise themselves in a learning platform. This platform gives them a space to discuss how they can overcome societal and structural barriers in South Sudanese society. At the same time, they can benefit from one another and provide support with their day-to-day work.
3. Mediating land conflicts and promoting regulated livestock migration
Together with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, the project supports approaches to peacefully resolving land conflicts and to regulating livestock migration in view of time and location. In this way, it promotes peaceful dialogue between the parties involved and prevents hostilities. The mechanisms developed aim to resolve disputes, for example by setting compensation for the loss of agricultural products due to grazing livestock.
The project supports the use of media and community radios to disseminate approaches to peaceful societal discourse. The project regularly interacts with the South Sudanese Local Government Board (LGB), an autonomous supervisory body that is responsible for implementing training measures for staff at local administrative structures.