Strengthening local governance and resilience
Title: Strengthening local governance and resilience in South Sudan
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: South Sudan
Lead executing agency: Office of the President
Overall term: 2017 to 2019
Following decades of civil war, South Sudan became the world’s youngest state in 2011. However, the population’s hopes for a peaceful future and growing prosperity have yet to be realised. Just two-and-a-half years after the state was founded, another armed conflict erupted in December 2013, this time within the territory of the state. The peace agreement signed in August 2015 following lengthy negotiations has yet to be implemented. In fact, fighting, forced displacement and violence against civilians continue to be daily occurrences, and the country is in the grips of an ongoing humanitarian crisis.
South Sudan lacks the capacities and resources needed to deliver basic state services, there is no state monopoly on the use of force, state legitimacy is lacking, and development prospects are extremely limited. A disproportionately high number of people rely on services such as the provision of clean drinking water that are provided almost exclusively by aid organisations within the scope of their capabilities. Another problem is that the preconditions for non-violent conflict transformation are not in place. The country lacks the capacities for peaceful conflict transformation and social dialogue on non-violent conflict transformation. This, in turn, is hampering the effectiveness of efforts by agents for peace. When it comes to conflict management, sustainable solutions are very hard to find.
The preconditions for non-violent conflict transformation have improved.
The project supports efforts to improve the preconditions for non-violent conflict transformation in the following areas:
- Improving capacities for service delivery
The Strengthening Local Governance and Resilience project works closely with other projects that support, for example, the implementation of concepts and business models for water supply, sanitation and markets.
To overcome the structural weaknesses in the administrative system, the project advises local decision-makers on planning and decision-making processes. It also provides vital support for the development of governance models that facilitate the sustainable management of basic infrastructure and contribute to sustainable basic public services and non-violent conflict transformation.
Activities in this area were discontinued in 2016 owing to changes in the general conditions.
In response to the lack of capacities for non-violent conflict transformation and governance structures for crisis prevention, new training courses are being developed for experts from local administrations as well as media professionals and selected non-state actors at the local level. In this context, the project is advising and supporting the Local Government Board, the institution responsible for capacity building and professional development measures for local administrative officers in South Sudan. Following several years of deadlock, the first training courses are to be realised by the end of 2018. Outdated training modules are therefore being updated and extended to cover the issues of civil conflict management and the role of the media in the work of local administrations. Particular emphasis is being placed on participation by women. In addition to developing training courses for local administrative officers, a university training concept on good governance and conflict management is being developed and implemented in cooperation with a university in Kenya. In partnership with selected local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), candidates from various sections of society with an interest in and the potential to contribute, as agents for peace, to the ongoing programmes of NGOs are being selected to take part in this course. This ensures that training has a practical focus and strengthens the local, ongoing activities of NGOs in the field of conflict management.
- Media dissemination
To enrich social discourse on non-violent conflict transformation and good governance as a conflict management strategy, the project is supporting the production and broadcasting of educational radio programmes. It is providing advice and financial support for existing community radio stations and radio networks in South Sudan. Participants in training measures are also involved in the production process. Supported by the project since 2013 and exiled to Uganda in 2016 due to the current security situation in Morobo, the Morobo Community Radio Association broadcasts (now from Uganda) to the refugee population there and to the remaining population in Morobo with support from the project.