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Livelihoods, basic services and social protection in South Sudan

The longstanding war with the north took a heavy toll on the lives and livelihoods of South Sudanese people, either those who were not displaced, or those who were displaced locally. Against this background, the current paper sheds some light on the fact that livelihood recovery has begun across South Sudan.

The authors demonstrate that livelihood recovery initiatives are underway, though the private sector contribution is very limited. However, they find that:

  • while there are formal return programmes that provide assistance, most South Sudanese have returned to their place of origin without the benefit of these, and basic services are still minimal
  • government of South Sudan (GoSS) is clearly prioritising the provision of some of these services, but is still preoccupied with security
  • in this context, social protection programmes have largely not yet taken off, in spite of the clear need for them

The paper highlights the need for a new set of interventions and operational frameworks that can bridge the current emergency development programming gap in South Sudan.

Conclusions made:

  • bridging the emergency–development gap requires programming aimed at vulnerability brought about not just by the conflict but also by chronic poverty and limited access to services
  • in a risk-prone environment such as South Sudan, risk management programming is essential
  • an important trend to understand, particularly with regard to livelihood change, is the apparently rapid pace of urbanisation in South Sudan
  • indeed, there is a clear need for good analysis to inform ongoing programmes and to contribute to the knowledge base for new programmes in the future
  • additionally, private sector growth and development has to become a greater priority in post-independence South Sudan, which requires further research and strategisation