International Development Committee - Minutes of EvidenceHC 1570

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Oral Evidence

Taken before the International Development Committee

on Tuesday 17 January 2012

Members present:

Malcolm Bruce (Chair)

Hugh Bayley

Richard Burden

Richard Harrington

Pauline Latham

Jeremy Lefroy

Chris White


Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Melinda Young, Director of Programme Development and Advocacy, South Sudan, Save the Children UK, Emily Speers-Mears, Senior Conflict and Fragile States Advisor, Save the Children UK, Robert Schofield, Disaster Management Director, Tearfund, and Clea Kahn, Head of Policy and Advocacy, International Rescue Committee UK, gave evidence.

Q1 Chair: Can I say good morning and thank you all very much for coming in to give evidence to us? Before we start, perhaps I could ask you to introduce yourselves formally for the record.

Emily Speers-Mears: My name is Emily Speers-Mears. I’m the Senior Conflict and Fragile States Advisor at Save the Children, and I work on South Sudan, among other countries.

Melinda Young: My name is Melinda Young. I am the Director of Programme Development and Advocacy for Save the Children in South Sudan. I’m based in Juba in South Sudan. I’ve been working in South Sudan for the last three years.

Robert Schofield: Good morning. My name is Robert Schofield. I’m the Disaster Management Director for Tearfund, and we have been working with partners and operationally in South Sudan for many years.

Clea Kahn: I am Clea Kahn. I am the Head of Policy and Advocacy for the International Rescue Committee in the UK.

Q2 Chair: Thank you all very much. As you know, the Committee visited South Sudan in the first week in December. While I do not think any of us could claim that that gave us expert knowledge compared with yours, we certainly did get quite an insight into the challenges the country is facing. Even since we have returned, things have continued to be reported that indicate that the challenges are real and current. I just wondered, perhaps, if we could start with asking your view on how you feel the situation is in the country and whether it is getting better or worse. I think you were in Jonglei recently. Can you give us any kind of feel for how that is progressing, the role of UNMISS and the international community in intervening? It is kind of a biggish question; obviously there are four of you, so do not all feel you have to answer all the questions in detail. It would be sensible to start with you Melinda, and then the others can come in.

Melinda Young: We have just come out of the most violent wet season we have seen since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, so we are just on the seasonal change now into the dry season. In the wet season, it is very hard to deliver aid, but it is also usually a quieter period because, while we cannot move around, the armed groups cannot move very freely either. Coming into the dry season, we would expect the situation to deteriorate further, as armed groups have much greater ability to move and to shift. The attacks in Jonglei in December were on the cusp of that period, so we would expect that counter-attacks, which will be almost inevitable, will be happening. There are multiple humanitarian situations in South Sudan at the moment, which we would expect to escalate further.

In Jonglei we have a series of problems in terms of refugees, due to military operations in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states in Sudan, moving south, and returnees, with the moratorium on the status of southerners in Sudan coming to an end on 9 April; if southerners who are still living in Sudan are made stateless at that point, you have an estimated 700,000 people who might suddenly move south as well. There is intercommunal violence not just in Jonglei. That is a case in point, and what happened in December has brought more attention to that, but there is intercommunal violence across many states of South Sudan. There is a lot of fragility and factions within society, as they are not seeing the peace dividend coming out of independence. There are situations also with food insecurity, FEWS NET has warned, in terms of low harvest. We are seeing droughtlike conditions and food insecurity warnings across various areas of southern Sudan. We have a complex interweaving of humanitarian issues that we think are escalating into the future.

The violence we have seen in Jonglei: people say, "We’ve seen Jonglei violence before," but it is getting more brutal. More civilians and women and children are being targeted for abuse, including abduction and killing. In terms of the role of UNMISS and also the role of Government, Jonglei has shown a positive in terms of the UNMISS action there in the prepositioning of troops and in terms of patrolling, which is to be encouraged, but there needs to be more. In many ways, what was happening in Jonglei was predictable; you could have seen what was happening a month in advance. Also, UNMISS does not have the capacity to deal with two Jongleis at once. It is quite probable you could have two simultaneous situations that need UNMISS involved. It is not up to its full capacity in terms of troops as yet. It needs to have more resources. It needs a protectionofcivilians strategy, so troops know how to assist and protect civilians with the resources they have and with the growing number of conflicts that are happening across South Sudan.

Q3 Chair: We will come on to the role of UNMISS in any case. One observation is the extent to which the Government and the international community are appealing to the people of South Sudan, saying, "You’ve got your independence. You’ve got a new nation. Should your energies not be directed into trying to build that rather than fighting each other?" That is internal; you also have this border dispute. To what extent are the NGOs able to get safe access either to the dispute areas within South Sudan, or perhaps also those areas on the border, where clearly Sudan is trying to keep NGOs and the international community in general out?

Melinda Young: There are environmental access problems throughout the wet season. We are just starting in the period when we are going to be able to have access, because it is dry. There are also multiple rebel militia groups that are in operation throughout South Sudan, with a tendency to lay land mines. For example, in Unity state, where we are looking at refugee responses there, we cannot travel between the state capital and the areas of prospective camps due to land mines. If there are large military operations also between the SPLA and militia groups, we are very often unable to get access to those areas. In Jonglei, because of insecurity, our local staff are on the ground in Akobo, Waat and sometimes, on and off, in Pibor, but we cannot have a permanent presence for most of our staff there at the moment, because there are attacks and counterattacks.

Robert Schofield: Just to build on that, Tearfund has a presence in Motot in Jonglei and, because of similar intertribal violence at the end of last year, we had to pull our team out. In fact, they have not been able to return, because the situation is still insecure. We are able to access, but it is by remote management, so it is not ideal, but we are creatively trying to continue providing services. The other area I wanted to mention was this issue of the regulatory framework for aid agencies working into South Sudan. Particularly in recent months, we have had an issue with work permits, so that all but our country director have shortterm work permits as the Government, rightly, tries to seek a policy of Sudanisation. But there is a huge capacity issue in terms of people’s educational ability, so there is the prospect that we may lose some of our senior staff, who will not have their work permits reissued.

Chair: That is also an issue we want to explore, so we will come back to that.

Q4 Richard Harrington: I would like to ask you some questions about the DFID operational plan, which I am sure you are familiar with. We have seen the summary of the different headings and everything like that. When one reads it cold, it does seem very comprehensive, but I do understand that yourselves and other organisations have had comments about it. I would like a general view on what you think about it and whether you think DFID has the right priorities or not, and then maybe, from Tearfund and Save the Children, some specific points. I know Tearfund made some comments about the water and sanitation, and Save the Children about the educational targets to do with textbooks. As much as you could give us on this plan would be helpful, but with those two points specifically in mind please.

Robert Schofield: We would really like to commend DFID for the operational plan and this major investment of £94 million every year, for the life of the plan. We commend the focus on governance, health and ongoing humanitarian work. Our concern is that there must be a gradual and well planned transition from NGO provision of basic services to Government of South Sudan provision of services. As you probably know, something like 85% of basic services are delivered by NGOs in South Sudan at this point. It is really quite a major issue to transition to the Government of South Sudan. Just one small example of that is that we have been trying to hand on our health work. One of the major barriers to that is the payment of salaries by the Ministry of Health to staff in South Sudan. We are conscious that humanitarian needs are going to continue for many years to come, and so there is rightly in this plan a desire to move towards recovery, but a concern that the humanitarian efforts might slow down as a result of that. There needs to be a mix of approaches, not either humanitarian or recovery, to development. I can say a bit more about WASH at this point.

Richard Harrington: Please, if you would not mind.

Robert Schofield: Tearfund has been working in the area of water and sanitation for many years in South Sudan. DFID was taking a lead in the area of water and sanitation but is no longer. That is a disappointment to us, because it is such a vital basic service, and makes links to so many other sectors.

Q5 Richard Harrington: Is that because other donors are actually performing this function or do you think there is a hole-a vacuum-there?

Robert Schofield: Potentially there is a vacuum. Our concern is that DFID had built up significant experience, expertise and reputation. Whenever there is a switch in donors, the danger is you lose that expertise that has been built up. We urge DFID to ensure that all their learning is passed on to Germany, which is becoming the lead donor.

Q6 Richard Harrington: Presumably you have spoken to DFID about that. I imagine they would say they are satisfied that it is covered.

Robert Schofield: Yes. They are confident that another donor has picked up; our concern is that there would be a gap in provision and expertise.

Melinda Young: Just to echo on the WASH front, speaking to DFID in country, they were speaking about WASH in terms of putting that as part of pooled funding on humanitarian, but I think water and sanitation are linked to many other things-for example, Save the Children’s nutrition programming. One of the key causes of malnutrition can be lack of access to water. One of DFID’s operational priorities, in terms of humanitarian, is nutrition work, but it is not looking at some of those linkages.

Again, I would commend DFID in terms of their engagement in South Sudan, and that it is increasing. Two years ago, there was one DFID staff member in Juba. Now there are multiple. That presence is very much appreciated, including the humanitarian adviser position, which has now been extended. For education, it is that need for consistent longterm investing in education, in terms of building the human capital. For textbooks, it is laudable in terms of reaching numbers in textbooks, but the curriculum is being reviewed two times over, so the Government will be wanting then to renew textbooks. So there is a need to look at some of that as well, in terms of how long the textbook intervention will be effective with curriculum review as well.

Q7 Richard Harrington: I must say from what we saw, and I accept the length of our visit is very superficial compared to your involvement on a day-to-day basis, it seems to me that the textbook objective, while admirable, actually is very secondary compared to the fact that there are no schools or qualified teachers to use the textbooks. It would seem to be very ambitious, given what we saw. Leading on from that, if we could go back to the point Mr Schofield made about DFID’s stated intention of moving from humanitarian to development, it all sounds very good, and I do not think anyone who has had any experience in this field could say that is a bad thing. To me, though, perhaps somewhat cynically or because I do not know it in enough depth, from what we have seen, it seems pie in the sky at the moment. There are just so many basic humanitarian things to do that, while it is admirable talking about switching over to the more sophisticated development assistance, it seems almost inappropriate, given what we saw. Would you agree with that or have I not got it properly, in your opinion?

Robert Schofield: I would just repeat the point about it not being an either/or. We need to push into both areas. This whole issue of returnees is a good case in point, because there are some shortterm humanitarian needs, but also we need to build the resilience of local communities, and we might come back to that.

Q8 Richard Harrington: I took your point on that very well. The fact is, though, there are a lot of different countries and very well meaning organisations there; in the end, there is a finite pot of money. When it comes to priorities, I cannot see, from what I have seen, how at the moment anything other than humanitarian can be the priority.

Clea Kahn: I was just going to say that one of the things you can see in the operational plan is a gradual transition, or the expectation of a gradual transition, to development, with the reduction of humanitarian spending and an increase in development spending. I think that that is going to be too rapid a transition. Ongoing crises will need to be responded to, but there also needs to be an investment in longterm needs. Crises are arising in part because there is a lack of development; there is a lack of opportunities and a lack of livelihoods investment. If they are not invested in, then there will be no way of preventing the crises. There needs to be a balance, but there should not be this anticipation that it will be as rapid as planned.

Q9 Pauline Latham: Could I go back to the textbook issue? DFID has committed to delivering these 12.5 million textbooks, but I met with the Minister of Education and the Higher Education Minister last week, and they were saying that they are already having lots and lots of textbooks printed. Given Richard Harrington’s view, which I agree with, that there are very few schools and not enough qualified teachers, DFID has to be careful not to duplicate what they are doing themselves, because they are printing them there. As you say, they are going to change the curriculum and they also have the problem of returnees only speaking Arabic, not English. There are a lot of complex issues. Do you feel that DFID has comprehended all of this? If they are producing textbooks, why are we giving them textbooks as well?

Melinda Young: At the moment, there are no textbooks at all, which is a problem with the refugees coming in from the Nuba Mountains: they have no textbooks to access so that we can do some accelerated education during this period. The Government has not printed yet; DFID has not printed yet. We are not allowed to print, as Save the Children, until the curriculum is reviewed, because they have to change the flag on the cover and the name of the country, and do not want children to receive textbooks until that is done. We are actually in a textbook vacuum at the moment. I don’t think we will have duplication because, speaking to the Ministry of Education, they are very well aware of the DFID programme and that plan. It is looking at targets just in textbooks, when the comprehensive needs in education, as you have seen, are so massive. Just getting more women teachers into education, having inservice training and these sorts of longterm and sustainable inputs beyond textbooks really need to be focused on.

Q10 Pauline Latham: We are in a textbook vacuum, but also in a teacher and school vacuum. Do you have the textbooks first? Do you have the schools? Do you have the teachers? They have a huge problem, and I think DFID needs to work very closely with their Ministers to make sure they are getting it right.

Emily Speers-Mears: For anyone who tries to look at the problem of South Sudan and how to address the multiple humanitarian and development challenges, there is a sense of, "Where do you start?" How do you identify your priorities within a context where there are so many vacuums and there is so much need? DFID is very aware of the whole range of need. We should give them some credit for starting somewhere with what is actually a very difficult situation.

Clea Kahn: I just want to chime in on that. It is excellent that there is an emphasis put on education, and particularly that it highlights the need for education for women and girls. There is an emphasis in the operational plan on supporting women and girls, and addressing violence against women and girls. One of the challenges is just getting girls to schools in the first place. We can talk about the concrete nuts and bolts of the textbooks and, as you say, having the infrastructure and the teachers is important in the first place, but there is also a need to address some of those structural problems that are preventing particularly girls getting to school at all.

Q11 Richard Burden: My question really follows that exactly. A bit later, we will be going on to a number of broader issues concerning women and girls, but, on education itself, some of us, when we visited Lakes state, were able to see the Save the Children co-operation with DFID there around accelerated learning programmes and so on. We were getting, to some extent, mixed messages from different partners and people, all of whom had valid points, but I would appreciate your view. To tackle some of those deepseated problems of expanding education among girls that you referred to, how far do you see we should be trying to support projects that tackle the transport problem of actually getting girls to school and back safely? How far, in terms of a priority order, should it be an issue of trying to address important infrastructure issues at existing schools, sanitation being a key one? What would be your view on something where we have diametrically opposed views-again for very good reasons, both sides-about whether the bullet needs to be bitten and you need to be looking at trying to promote expansion of boarding schools to address development of, in a sense, a cadre of women that can then be role models for others in the future?

Melinda Young: There are multiple barriers to girls reaching education. One major cultural barrier is early child marriage. Girls often do not go to school, where they might be spoiled by male teachers, which are the majority of teachers, or male students, therefore affecting the bride price that they would receive upon marriage. If girls do go to school, they often drop out at puberty in order to marry. In talking to a variety of teachers, mothers and students, access to schools and transport to schools are a problem, but there are so few schools. Only 15% of the schools in South Sudan finish all eight years of primary education, and those are often in more elitebased areas, not remote rural areas. Alternative mechanisms of education like informal schools teaching girls in their mother tongue, so they can access that, allow them to be closer to their communities, where their parents will not feel that they would be attacked and they can have more monitoring and control of their children and their girls at school so they will not be scared to send them there. We are looking at those sorts of alternative approaches.

Boarding schools are very popular culturally in South Sudan. When you visited, you would have heard them mentioned a lot. A lot of that is in terms of history and also the history of the AngloEgyptian condominium, when the children of chiefs went to boarding schools. It is a status thing. It is also a protective thing. Communities want their children to go to boarding schools, because they feel they will not be attacked on their way to school or in schools. Again, an alternative way to look at this is informal and community schooling. There is a whole Government Department for this, but it is not looked at or supported much.

Q12 Chris White: Mrs Latham asked a very good question about the vacuum there seems to be in terms of schools, classrooms, textbooks and teachers. Your response was, where do you start? I appreciate that from Save the Children’s point of view, but my question is that this situation, although incredibly difficult, is not necessarily unique. Are there not models, best practice, research or something you can actually apply to the situation that would guide you in which direction you could start?

Emily Speers-Mears: That is a very good question. If you look at South Sudan, perhaps a "vacuum" is not an ideal way to talk about it, because it is a context in which there have been multiple interventions over multiple years to address some of the issues of development. While it is a new country, we are not starting entirely from scratch. In terms of models of best practice, there are definitely some. There are also some models of what you might want to avoid doing, which we are also hoping to learn from, in terms of the way that pooled funding mechanisms are devised. At the same time, there are certainly many different useful models of development-education and health care. It is important, though, to be able to try not to impose templates of development on to complex contexts, but to be able to ensure that the way in which you are developing programmes is appropriate to a very specific context, as Melinda was explaining in terms of schooling; understanding all those dynamics is quite important.

Q13 Chris White: The point of my question is, when we saw a map of the country, it is an absolute patchwork quilt of different NGOs looking after specific areas. How many times are we reinventing the wheel? Do you do something different from Oxfam, Christian Aid and whoever? How do you make sure that the minimum time is wasted trying to work out things from first principles?

Clea Kahn: There are quite a lot of co-ordination mechanisms. There is little fear of duplication, to be honest, with the scale of need in South Sudan. There is a fair bit of co-ordination between agencies and a lot of best practices. There is an enormous amount that has been written and created, in terms of best practices and how to intervene. In terms of identifying priorities, one of the risks with South Sudan is that we will focus on the immediate crisis of the day, and there are an endless number of crises-well, not an endless number, but there are problems on the border areas; there are smallscale conflicts; there are areas where we are expecting, as you were saying earlier, food problems later on in 2012.

The risk is that we will continue to chase the crises and put out the fires, rather than dealing with some of the longerterm issues. One of the particularly challenging things about South Sudan is the level of capacity. Realistically, it has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. In urban areas, you are able to find more trained staff with a higher level of education, but particularly in rural areas the level is very low. In implementing different kinds of programming, what we find is that it is an enormous challenge just to try to make up the difference. There is a lot that we can learn. There is a lot that is already being implemented, in terms of how we balance and co-ordinate with other actors. There is a need not to be simply putting out the fires, but dealing with the longerterm approach, but that is going to take a longerterm approach in order to redress some of the capacity issues.

Robert Schofield: Can I just pick up the point about learning? It is a really valid point about ensuring learning across agencies, but also recognising the multiplicity of agencies working in South Sudan. I have made the point already about basic service provision essentially being delivered by NGOs at this point, but there is a good cluster mechanism in place in country. There is a strong functioning NGO forum. Those are good places where learning can be shared and dispersed. Not to underestimate the incredible complexity of South Sudan and also the hugely important task of building the capacity of the Government of South Sudan to start delivering these services in due course, there is a whole other point there about how that needs to be done at every level. There has been a huge emphasis at capitalcity level in Juba, but at state level, at county level, at payam level, DFID and others need to intentionally build capacity for the Government.

Q14 Jeremy Lefroy: If I could just follow on from that, you have already mentioned, Mr Schofield, the dependence of South Sudan on NGOs and also the moves by South Sudan to look to perhaps restrict the number of visas and increase the number of nationals working in the delivery of basic services. Could I just ask you all briefly, because I know we are running a bit short of time, what efforts are you, in your own organisations, making to involve South Sudanese in the reconstruction and delivery of services? How many South Sudanese do you employ? Could you perhaps expand a little bit on the problems that will arise if there is too much or too hasty a move towards, to use that rather ugly word, indigenisation of staff?

Melinda Young: For example, Save the Children has over 600 staff in country, of whom 91% are South Sudanese. It is also an environment where staff working for Save the Children or staff working for a local organisation might not then be working for Government. We find when we are doing a lot of teacher training for female teachers, as soon as they pass the first semester, they then move off into other organisations, because there is such a low education level. Those who have even the basics will be moving in there. Qualified staff of the level that are needed in Government, local organisations and civil organisations, as well as NGOs that are currently providing the services, is a very small pool.

To move on from what Robert was saying just now about the need to focus at the local level, in terms of local governance, at the moment, we are running health facilities. They need to be passed over to the Ministry of Health and into the hands of the local health officials, which is what we are doing. We are doing that to support them, on the job, being able to run those facilities. Over the past five or six years, the most concentration in terms of governance has been on building Juba, first and foremost, and the Ministries there.

Latterly, in about the last year to year and a half, it has been at the state level. It is very interesting; when you take some statelevel Government officials out to the counties it is often the first they have ever been there. They are not connected to that constituency. The development plans are set at the state level, but there is not that interaction. Building up the local level, which has that connection with its people and how those facilities and services will be run, is not going to happen quickly, but there is very much that push. I speak to a county commissioner and say, "I am politically a threat to you because I deliver services to your people, but this is something where you have to have that social bond with your citizens. How do we move that forward?" We speak over five years of how that might happen, but the worry is that most funding cycles and donor strategies are for one year to three years; they want that kind of fix over that period of time. It needs that kind of consistency of investment and predictability of knowing how that will happen, so there won’t be that gap in terms of NGOs’ time to draw out Government and time to draw in, because there will be quite a long phasein period for that to happen, especially in remote rural areas.

Clea Kahn: I would echo that. We see a lot of projects when we travel through South Sudan and talk to people who say, "A project was started and we were making progress but then it stopped." In addition to our national staff, we also work with local community groups in trying to build capacity within the community to take ownership of some of the local governance and local issues. It is often this stop/start, stop/start, because there is no continuity. Programmes are put in place for the shorter term. They get so far and then falter. It is also important to bear in mind that for most of us, in most of the places that we work, the majority of our staff are nationals. It is also important to ask the question of not just how many but at what level. We can all employ a vast number of cleaners, guards and so on, but it is also about having the systems that allow those people to be brought up within the organisation or supported to reach higher levels.

Robert Schofield: I would just add that I think it is the right challenge: how much are we handing on responsibility, particularly at senior levels, to national staff? Tearfund employs 370 staff in South Sudan, as well as working through local partners. A handful of those 370 staff are expatriates. Increasingly we are employing people from the region, if we cannot find them within South Sudan itself, so that we are not a kind of post-colonial organisation imposing British management on South Sudan. But let’s not underestimate the educational challenge in South Sudan, with 80% of women illiterate. That is really a significant issue when we are looking for people who have good levels of education to operate at the more senior levels.

The other aspect of this, which is really important to all of us as agencies, is how much the communities themselves have a voice in the way we do our programming. That is another issue to push in terms of DFID and the Government of South Sudan: how much are they listening to the community themselves, rather than taking a topdown approach from Juba? We have complaints mechanisms in place, with complaints from people on the ground in our programmes in Upper Nile and Jonglei, eventually going all the way to our executive team in our headquarters. We do really want to promote that sense of transparency, and the communities themselves being a part of designing the programmes that will benefit them.

Q15 Jeremy Lefroy: Can I just come back and press you all a little bit on this question of the South Sudanese Government’s desire, perhaps, to restrict the number of visas? Is that affecting all your operations at the moment, and in what way?

Robert Schofield: As I said, all but our country director now have limits on the amount of time they can work in South Sudan, depending on the role. The expectation is that those roles will be replaced by Southern Sudanese. As well as the stress of those individuals trying to work out whether they have a job in six months’ time or not, there is also the issue of us just wondering how we are going to continue our programmes. We would love DFID to lobby, on NGOs’ behalf, to ensure that there is a robust regulatory framework in place and ideally that NGOs themselves are consulted as that framework is developed.

Q16 Jeremy Lefroy: Can I just add to that? Is this same pressure on visas being applied to businesses in the private sector, as it is to NGOs by the Government?

Melinda Young: No, not that we are aware of. Actually, visas are not so much the problem at the moment, particularly with the Jonglei crisis; that has actually made visas flow a little better. Work permits are a bit more of a problem.

Jeremy Lefroy: I mean work permits; I beg your pardon.

Melinda Young: I do not know enough about business visas. I only know anecdotally that there is a lot of encouragement, certainly from South Sudan, of twoyear multientry visas with work permits.

Q17 Chris White: Just picking up on Mr Schofield’s point earlier, I don’t think anybody in this room or DFID wants to go back to colonial practices and the idea of British management, but I think one of our great exports is some of the things we do in terms of governance and the way we do things. I would hope that no NGO would be resistant to some of the practices and knowledge that we can transfer, but that was not really my question.

My question, looking at a specific example, is from when we visited Lakes and we visited schools. On more than one occasion and in more than one school, NGOs and DFID were being asked, "When could we build a fence?", which seemed to be very low level. Obviously the confidence was in NGOs and in DFID; there was not confidence in whatever level of local or national authority being able to deliver. Talking to yourselves directly, you called for DFID to develop a realistic plan for the transition of Governmentled service delivery. How satisfied are you that DFID has developed such a plan and how long a time scale do you think that plan will take to deliver?

Melinda Young: I think that plan will take longer to deliver than the planning that is being done so far. Developing strategies on threeyear scales is understandable, and why they are being developed since independence has happened, but growing a new country will take significantly longer than that.

South Sudan has also been prone to politically motivated change of priorities in terms of development and humanitarian. Being in Sudan in 2005, after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed at that stage, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the UN was suddenly drawn down, because now South Sudan was in a new era of development and progress. In 2009, you then had major humanitarian crises across South Sudan, with a lack of humanitarian capacity in the country. In 2010, as a result of that, "development" was a dirty word. Everything was "humanitarian". You’ve then got problems again coming in postindependence. Again, with the donor conference that happened in Washington last month, very little was discussed about the conflict situation or humanitarian issues, because again South Sudan was on that footing, with independence, to move through to a bright future of development. It goes back to what Mr Harrington was saying earlier: we are not talking in linear terms of development and humanitarian. As Clea had said before, it is a complex pattern of interaction. That is also in terms of building of the Government over this time and DFID’s operational plan; we are talking in small windows, so it is actually a little hard for me to answer that, because the longer frame that we need to put this in moves beyond that.

Q18 Chris White: Can you talk in terms of an exit strategy?

Melinda Young: I wish I could. I do not see an exit strategy in that kind of a window yet. I think it needs to be a phased response and a different use of NGOs. We all have experience from our organisations in working in a multitude of different countries in postconflict environments, in these kinds of conflict situations. You were talking about best practice; we can use some of that in how that kind of transition can be taken. It is also very much contextually informed by South Sudan. I have worked in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Sudan and so on, but South Sudan is a whole new kettle of fish in many ways, because of how low the levels of education and development were 50 years ago. It is not recovery. There is nothing to recover. It is very much starting from scratch. That is why that timeframe has to be stretched out in terms of expectation.

Q19 Chris White: Do you think or would you agree that the aim and the goal must be local confidence in the national Government? In terms of NGOs, the longer it takes, the longer that will take.

Melinda Young: Absolutely, and we do not want to be providing basic services here and to the ever after. We want to make sure there’s not a gap, but the sooner the exit that allows for basic services to be provided as well as possible happens, the better it is. That is why I say there is a different use in terms of NGOs, in terms of working on the job, especially with local government, to build that capacity, to be informing and assisting rather than as a direct delivery. We do not want to do that, but, in an interim, there will have to be some of those measures.

Q20 Chris White: Before you ask, because I am going to come directly to yourselves, can you talk in terms of health service delivery and the transition to national responsibility?

Clea Kahn: Actually, that fits in nicely with what I was about to say. What is important, at the end of the day, to your average South Sudanese is not actually who is delivering it, but that it is delivered well. That is particularly true, in fact, in terms of health. They want to be able to go to a hospital and to find that things are in place, that there are drugs. That is going to reflect well on both the NGOs and the Government of South Sudan. A lot of what the Government of South Sudan has been doing, in terms of service delivery, is to a certain extent co-ordinating NGOs as a means of providing services. There is a lot of cohabitation in hospitals. It is not necessarily that a hospital is run by an NGO; there is a handinhand approach and most of them are Government services, accompanied by or working with.

It is important to recognise that the expertise and skills that are brought to this kind of service provision are necessary. When you are dealing with a hospital situation in South Sudan, you really are dealing with medical people who are literally on call in the middle of the night in order to help with a basic malaria protocol. It is simply not at a level where you can say, "I am going to go home and, if somebody comes in with malaria, then the staff there will be able to handle that." There is so much work to be done in terms of the training and getting the basic skills in place that it still needs an enormous amount of support.

Robert Schofield: Just to respond to the question, absolutely the endgame is the Government of South Sudan taking full responsibility for provision of services. That is the endgame for all of us. As we have said, there are massive challenges along the way. We have been working in health for over 10 years, and are actively trying to hand over services and have had some success with that. Just in the provision of drugs, the Ministry of Health has started to take that over since 2007 without too many delays. In terms of the provision of health services, it is such a complex area-the hospital facilities themselves, transport of outreach workers, payment of salaries and getting the drugs to the health centre. What we are calling for is really a gradual and a very well planned transition from the NGO provision to, ultimately, the Government of South Sudan.

Q21 Pauline Latham: Obviously South Sudan has a lot of problems in terms of conflict and the size of the Army probably reflects that, but it is taking 40% of the national budget into defencerelated things including the Army. Unless they reduce the number of people in the Army, they are not going to have the money to spend on other things. Do you think there has been any progress made in reducing that Army and do you think there is any likelihood of any success in doing so?

Robert Schofield: A related point is about people’s felt greatest need. When we ask people on the ground, as we go out and do needs assessments, "What is your greatest need?" what they say is "security". I think what they mean, and what we interpret that as, is a functioning police service and a disciplined Army. I am not sure as NGOs we are necessarily the best people to ask about troop levels. We have got some comments about UNMISS, but what we know is that security is a critical need for people on the ground.

Q22 Hugh Bayley: I wonder if you are so close to the problems that you cannot see the progress. I was in South Sudan a week or two after the CPA was signed. Going back now, seven years later, it seems to me there has been huge progress. There are schools, infrastructure and roads that just were not there five years ago. Isn’t that your experience as a result of your work?

Robert Schofield: I absolutely agree. I first started working in South Sudan in 1998, in the midst of a major war. There was a famine at that point and massive levels of malnutrition. Actually, I went back two months ago, just before some of you were in Juba, and went right up into Bahr el Ghazal. That sense of optimism and the visible signs of transformation were brilliant. It was one of the most encouraging visits to Africa I have ever made, but there is still a massive humanitarian challenge and a development challenge. We need to be pressing into both.

Q23 Hugh Bayley: Okay, let me come back to you. The question is not that you, as NGOs and the official donors, and the Government of South Sudan, starting from a very low base, have not made a significant difference. It is how much you can expect and what the rate of progress ought to be. You, Robert, in your evidence, said that you felt a lot of international assistance had been characterised by an absence of realism. What do you mean by that and how would a more realistic approach have achieved more per pound spent?

Robert Schofield: The point we made in our evidence was related to funding mechanisms since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and it was a concern that things like the World Bank MultiDonor Trust Fund lacked realism, particularly in terms of their planning and then their delivery. There did seem to have been an absence of accurate assessments of what the actual situation was on the ground and understanding of local communities. All of that led to long delays and delays in implementation. We are urging that there be better planning and preparation. We do want to encourage donors to ensure there are no gaps in funding mechanisms. We recognise the Basic Services Fund has been extended for a year, until December of this year, but there is a concern that the clunking between funding mechanisms has implications for the delivery of basic services. Comments about the World Bank: many have made comments before me, and I do not want to repeat those.

Q24 Hugh Bayley: Do you think DFID’s programmes have been guilty of a lack of realism and, if so, in what respect?

Robert Schofield: It depends a bit on what you mean by "DFID’s programmes". They have made investments in the MultiDonor Trust Fund, the Common Humanitarian Fund and the Basic Services Fund. To keep it positive, the Basic Services Fund has functioned well and has connected well with NGOs. It is encouraging that there is another year of that Basic Services Fund. What we are urging for as NGOs is timely, predictable funding over more than a oneyear cycle. If we want to address these deeper development issues and ideally link to the seasonal calendar, you must bear in mind the rainy season when disbursing funding, because it is such a deterrent to doing good humanitarian and development work, you end up having a tiny window in which to deliver services.

Q25 Hugh Bayley: What about your colleagues? Do you think DFID is acting effectively, spending money wisely? Do you think the World Bank is doing the same, managing its resources well or badly?

Melinda Young: I think DFID has engaged for the long term and wants to engage for the long term. That is highly beneficial. The realism aspect applies to all donors. There is a desire to change a lot in a small period of time, and that is where the realism is: to hit very high targets, for example with the textbooks-if we print this many million textbooks, we have hit that kind of a target-rather than look at some of the qualityrelated aspects that might have cultural changes, for example in early marriage and what barriers that will then release in terms of the future, some of those areas.

For the World Bank MultiDonor Trust Fund, we know that was not the best of mechanisms. Moving into the future in terms of health funding, it is very opaque at the moment. The World Bank will be looking to fund health in Jonglei and Upper Nile states-two of the most difficult remoteaccess areas with crises in them-putting together a mechanism and we still do not know what it will look like. The majority of health facilities are supported by NGOs, and we do not know, at the end of this year or even the middle of this year, what is going to happen to them and whether we will still be supporting them or there will be another mechanism in place. What does that mean for the future? There has been discussion of whether there will be user fees, which is actually unconstitutional and we also feel would be a real barrier in terms of healthseeking behaviours to health facilities. At the moment, we are in this period where strategies are being changed and formed. We are not quite sure what is happening with them, so we are playing a bit of a waiting and a dodging game just to try to keep things running.

Clea Kahn: It is also worth saying that, although there has been a lot of progress made in terms of best practices and learning how to do things in the best possible way-and there is an enormous amount of emphasis put on value for money and making sure we are doing things as effectively as possible-there is still a certain amount of trial and error involved in working in these contexts. There has been an enormous amount of time and effort invested in Jonglei just to prevent the kind of violence that has broken out, which is not to say that peacebuilding efforts are not worth doing. It just means that we have not quite figured out how to do it all right yet. There has to be space for that. There should not be so much emphasis put on value for money that we do not take the risks and invest in programming that is innovative and has the potential to make a difference.

Q26 Hugh Bayley: It seems to me you are saying that we, as NGOs, and the donors, bilateral or multilateral, are doing much more good than harm, but it is an extremely difficult environment. Sometimes money is wasted. Sometimes you do not deliver what you hope to deliver. Is that the right balance for me to pick up from what you are saying? You are not saying the World Bank should not run multidonor funds, or are you?

Robert Schofield: That mechanism was slow and overly bureaucratic. It does not mean it has to be, but, because it was poorly planned and there was not a good connection with or understanding of the field, that led to serious delays.

Q27 Hugh Bayley: All of you have used the World Bank fund as an illustration of clunking bureaucracy. What three changes or few changes would you want the World Bank to make so that future multidonor funds are more responsive and effective?

Robert Schofield: Let me just repeat some of the things I have said, if that is okay. It should make sure there are no gaps in the funding mechanisms between mechanisms. It should very carefully plan and prepare, and consult NGOs and local communities in the development of that funding mechanism. Those three things would make a huge difference.

Q28 Richard Burden: Could we talk a little bit more about UNMISS? We really would like your take on this, because again it is an area where we have had very different views put to us. On the one hand, some of us who were over there have images in our heads of a row of white UN helicopters sitting on a runway not going anywhere because of a dispute between the Russians and the United Nations. At the same time, we were being told in another room that there was a vital need to get helicopters to get people where they need to go more quickly. We appeared to see UN personnel stationed in places where you would wonder, "Is that really where you would expect to see a UN force?" Yet in other places where quite extreme violence was taking place, or there was the risk of it, they were in short supply. We were told the problem was operational, and we were also told, in other quarters, "Absolutely not; the problem is with UNMISS’s mandate or it is the UN bureaucracy in New York."

Again, that has all been played out in the media in the last month with the Jonglei issue, with people making the same criticisms and quite robust comments coming back from Lise Grande saying "Absolutely not. We have done more than could be expected. Don’t forget the mandate. Don’t forget the level of resources we’re operating under." Who do we believe and what could we sensibly say to ensure that what is a really big UN effort is actually being effective?

Melinda Young: Almost every peacekeeping mission will always say they do not have enough helicopters and troops. What is needed within UNMISS now is, as I mentioned earlier, a protectionofcivilians strategy. What approach are they taking? They do have a Chapter VII mandate, so how is that going to work in South Sudan? That then needs to be broken out into an action plan: what actions can be taken in situations such as in Jonglei, or situations nearer the border area as well, with the resources they already have? With patrols and the Pibor example, UNMISS troops were in Pibor. They were digging in and they were patrolling and moving around, despite the fact that they did not have heavy weaponry because of the Russian pilots. They were unable to bring them in. There are still actions and deterrents available regardless of the resources. We would certainly encourage there to be more resources because, as I mentioned, two Jongleis could not have been managed at the same time.

UNMISS did engage in patrols and put troops into Pibor and are putting troops into Akobo-because we would expect there could be counterattacks in that area-which is to be encouraged and needs to be continued, but there is much more that can be done in various areas. UNMISS did respond in Pibor; earlier in 2011 and 2010, as NGOs, we were often bringing up intercommunal violence as something that UNMISS’s predecessor, UNMIS with one ‘S’, was needing to intervene on, but the response back was usually, "That’s not within our mandate. That’s intercommunal. That’s tribal violence. That’s not part of what we do." The intercommunal violence does have a political element. It has an enormous risk to women, children and civilians on the ground. That is a part of holding the state together and working with the SPLA to provide security for its citizens. It is expanding that and breaking down exactly how UNMISS will do it in the future.

Q29 Richard Burden: If we said to you, "Okay, sit down and write the chapter of our report on UNMISS," what would you say in it? Would it say that it is improving; it is getting better; it needs to do more of the same but these are the extra things it could do? What would they be? Or is there something fundamental about the mandate? Does the change need to happen in the way it operates in South Sudan, or is it something between New York and South Sudan?

Clea Kahn: There has been a lot of work put into that mandate and into discussions about the protectionofcivilians role and the way that UNMISS functions over the last few years. There has been a huge amount of discussion of all of that. As is the case with a lot of peacekeeping missions, there are always a lot of complaints, but, at the end of the day, it is necessary to have them there and they generally do more good than harm. I would be hardpressed to say that it was something fundamental about the mission. If you look at most comments about most peacekeeping missions, from one country to another, a lot of the complaints are similar. A lot of it has to do with the way that peacekeeping missions invest in training for protection of civilians for their field staff, whether they are civilian or military. The command and control structure may have a certain amount of expertise at one level, in terms of protection of civilians, but it does not filter down. There is a lack of awareness of basic genderbased violence protection, or even an understanding of the extent to which that is in their mandate. These are all issues that need to be addressed.

There have been improvements. We do hear that UNMISS gets out more often-that they are making progress in actually addressing issues. The fact that they reacted as Melinda was saying is a big step forward. We are more concerned by rumours that the troop numbers might be decreased and that there might be major shifts. At this stage, they have spent so much time trying to understand how to implement that mandate, shift it, change it, adapt to it and put these systems into place that it would be a shame to start right from the beginning and go through the whole process again.

Q30 Richard Burden: I know it is stargazing a bit, but what kind of timeframe do you think we should be looking at for UNMISS’s presence in Sudan? As a best guess, when do you think the South Sudanese Army and police might be sufficiently developed that you would not need an UNMISS? Are we talking five years, decades or several decades?

Robert Schofield: It depends entirely how much investment is made in the Government of South Sudan’s own Army and police force. The police force is an appropriate area to invest heavily, and also thinking about demobilisation and disarmament, really pressing into that, because of the availability of small arms in South Sudan.

Emily Speers-Mears: As well as peacebuilding and locallevel communitybased reconciliation processes, which are an essential part of what we would encourage UNMISS to continue to be engaged with, along with the Government of South Sudan and local communities, which is often where these conflicts start.

Chair: We are reaching slightly into the second group’s time, but we have a couple more questions. If we can just be crisper, we will get to the end.

Q31 Pauline Latham: Can you tell me what the key measures are that are needed to be taken to improve women’s and girl’s equality in Sudan? Clea in particular has been heavily involved with genderbased violence programmes in South Sudan. How do you feel that DFID can help and reinforce the programmes that you have taken forward?

Clea Kahn: The fact that it is addressing violence against women and girls specifically, and the programming for women and girls in general is specifically mentioned in the operational plan-that there is this emphasis-is hugely welcome. That is extremely important. When we talk about conflict prevention and longterm sustainable development inside Sudan, the critical issue is going to be, first, the elimination of violence against women and girls, and then giving them the tools to move forward. It is taking a very comprehensive and holistic view of how to provide services to women who have suffered violence, which unfortunately appears to be on the increase. It is hard to put a figure on it, but the levels of violence appear to be becoming worse, in conflict situations and in general. Most women say that there is an enormous amount of domestic violence, in addition to early and forced marriage and a lot of harmful traditional practices.

It is addressing, first, providing the services to women, but then, in addition, giving them opportunities in terms of livelihoods programming and fostering women’s groups. There are a large number of women’s groups-and this is one of the things I was referring to earlier-that say, "There was a group here that provided a certain amount of support or a livelihoods opportunity, but then they ran out of funding and so they left." That women’s coalition would try to keep going for a while, but eventually faltered from lack of resources and investment.

There is a need for that longterm consistent funding. There is a need for continued direct service provision, because the systems simply are not in place. We are talking about systems at a variety of levels, including health support-not just to survivors of sexual violence, for example, but also just on reproductive health. A woman is more likely, still today, to die in childbirth than to graduate from primary school. It is investing in health, education, access to justice-making sure that there are systems in place that will support women having access to justice when they either have had violence perpetrated on them or, in some cases, are simply put in jail as a proxy for a husband, child or son. Then there is livelihoods support that allows them to take a bit more command of their own lives. Again, that means direct service provision and also mainstreaming to make sure that, when we talk about putting schools in place, there are toilets for girls and the systems in place that will facilitate girls getting assistance. If a woman goes to a health clinic, can she be seen in private? All of these things are essential.

Q32 Pauline Latham: Certainly from our visit, it was fairly obvious that many of the barriers for women are cultural practices that they have, particularly, say, in the dowry system. It is all very well for us to go in and say these things should not happen, but we are interfering in their cultural life. How much do you feel that the international community should go and talk about these very sensitive cultural issues and try to persuade them that they are wrong? Having said that, the girls that I spoke to were very aware that they ought to have the education; they wanted the education. They did not want to get married young. Although we go in with our Western ideas, I think that the younger women are beginning to feel that they do not want to continue with the oldfashioned practices. It is very difficult for us to say you should not do it. Surely it has to come from their own communities to say, "Enough is enough. We need to move on in order to have any sort of prosperity or future life that gives us a better quality of life and living. Should we not change the practices?" How much do you think we should hold back and let it happen naturally?

Clea Kahn: I would hesitate to say we should. I think the change will come, and it is partly because people have been exposed to other ideas, but it is also partly that, when you talk to women, as you say, they do not want to be beaten. They want to have access to opportunities. They want to be able to better their families. These are not things that are brought in. When we do this kind of stand-alone programming for women and girls, a lot of it is focused on working with the communities and having them dictate what it is that they want. We have these discussions and, very often, we might say, "You should be advocating for the right to vote." They say, "Really what we want is a sewing machine for the community, so that we can make a little bit of money." That is fine, because that is what they feel that they need in order to take some control over their lives.

That is where the change comes: through empowering women to make those decisions and to have some influence on those things, rather than coming in and simply saying to communities, "No, you must change this." It is about helping women to have the opportunity to change it themselves, but that takes a fair bit of work. In the meantime, there just needs to be work done to prevent women from being killed-beaten to death, savagely hurt and dying in childbirth needlessly. There are simply protections that should be in place. Women should not be left to die because we do not think we should interfere with people’s culture.

Melinda Young: I would just add there that a useful mechanism to get beyond this being a Western notion is the Child Act of South Sudan, which is one of the most solid Children’s Acts in the entire region. The age of marriage is contained within South Sudanese law, but knowledge of South Sudanese legislation, through to the police, through customary chiefs and customary mechanisms, is not there. It is not so much a Western notion; it is South Sudanese law that the rights of these girls are protected. Being able to have that happen out in communities is the next step.

Q33 Chris White: When we met with the Church, it was clear that they were playing a very important role in terms of transition, development, infrastructure and education. How would you see the role of the Church and do you think that there is an opportunity for the Church to take on some of your current role?

Robert Schofield: Can I answer that, since we partner with Churches? I am sure Anglican Alliance will say much more themselves. We just have to recognise that the Church is a major civil society organisation in South Sudan. They were there before the conflict started. They will be there well beyond UNMISS, NGOs and everyone else. The Church does have some capacity to provide some services. Our concern as Tearfund is not necessarily to characterise the Church as an NGO, providing basic services, but they can be a significant agent of change in their local communities.

I saw one Churchbased partner two months ago, working in Yei in the south. They worked with the local community and had created a 25year development plan in this community. As a result of that, another agency had come in and built a school. The community themselves had built their own local latrines and handwashing facilities. It was great to see. What we are doing in Upper Nile is hardcore humanitarian work, but, in another part of South Sudan, longterm development work is going on through the Church. It was a good example of the Church potentially being a very powerful agent of change. They can be a good complement to the Government ultimately being the ones responsible for providing basic services. What we want to urge is that the Government and donors connect with local communitybased organisations and the Church, so that they can start being fully engaged in the development process.

Q34 Chair: I think we are just at the end. You have mentioned returnees. The only thing I would ask you very briefly is about this pentup potential as we get towards March. To what extent do you think there will be a mass migration, and to what extent are the community and DFID, in particular, able to respond to it?

Robert Schofield: The figures OCHA gave last week were that 362,000 people had returned. There is a concern that the provision for those returnees is quite sporadic and ad hoc, depending on individual State Governors often, and how engaged they are with the return process. Again as part of my trip, I saw people camped next to a train that had come down from Khartoum. It is a twoweek train ride on a rusting old train. When they arrived, the transit facilities were not ready, so they just had to camp next to the train for several weeks. There is a concern that the provision is not equitable. In some areas it is good; in other areas, transit sites are unsanitary and overcrowded. We are urging the Government and donors to really step into that.

Q35 Chair: Is there a danger of that being overwhelmed by another influx?

Robert Schofield: One of the figures I had read was that there is the potential for 800,000 additional people to come over. If the current structure is stretched, how much more will it be if double that number return? Yes, we need to step up.

Chair: I think that is something we may need to ask the Secretary of State. Can I say thank you, all, very much indeed for coming in and the answers you have given us? It has helped to give a broader dimension to what we have seen and heard ourselves. Thank you very much.

Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Dr Sara Pantuliano, Head, Humanitarian Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute, and Rebecca Coleman, International Co-ordinator in the Office of the Archbishop, Episcopal Church of Sudan, and Canon Ian Woodward, Diocese of Salisbury, representing the Episcopal Church of Sudan, Lambeth Palace, the Diocese of Salisbury and the Anglican Alliance, gave evidence.

Q36 Chair: Hello, good morning and thank you very much indeed for coming in. Nice to see you again, in my case, all of you, and for those the rest of the Committee welcomes. I just wondered, for the record, if firstly you could introduce yourselves, and then we can proceed, starting with you, Sara.

Dr Pantuliano: I am Sara Pantuliano. I am the Head of the Humanitarian Policy Group with the Overseas Development Institute, and a long-standing Sudan analyst.

Rebecca Coleman: My name is Rebecca Adelaide Coleman. I am International Co-ordinator in the Office of the Archbishop for the Episcopal Church of Sudan. I have met some of you before in Juba. I have just come from Juba. I represent the Archbishop here today, and he apologises for not being here himself. He is delighted that you have allowed me to represent him. I have a letter here directed to the Committee members, from him to you.

Canon Woodward: Canon Ian Woodward. I am Vice-Chairman of the Diocese of Salisbury Sudan link. We have had a link with Sudan for 40 years, and it is very much part of the life blood of our diocese.

Q37 Chair: Thank you very much. I can only say we enjoyed our visit with the Archbishop, and indeed we met him when he was here. I am sure you are a very adequate representative of him and his Church, thank you. Obviously, even since we have come back, there have been some issues that have been reported to us. Perhaps starting with you, Sara, could you give us a flavour of what you think the current situation is? In particular, is the biggest threat conflict on the border or the internal conflicts, because they seem to be playing against each other? Then perhaps I might ask you what you think of DFID’s role in contributing to resolving those conflicts.

Dr Pantuliano: I am sure you have all followed the reports of the last couple of weeks, since the violence restarted in Jonglei in December. It is important to remember that this is not a new eruption of violence; this builds on ongoing tensions, particularly in that state, which have been characteristic of the Greater Upper Nile region, of which Jonglei is a part, ever since the civil war. It builds on a cycle and dynamics that are ongoing, and some of the internal tensions, particularly in the state of Jonglei, have actually been the worst during the civil war. They have seen some of the different ethnic groups in Jonglei come to direct confrontation several times. The Bor Massacre, when the SPLM split in 1991, was probably the worst example of violence during the civil war, and that was internal within South Sudan.

Having said that as a preamble, this was the last iteration of a series of confrontations that we have seen over the last two or three years, and perhaps even before, that actually have never seen any remedial action by the Government of South Sudan in terms of administration of justice holding the perpetrators of violence accountable and bringing them to justice. We have come to a situation where, because there is very scarce provision of security and administration of justice is so wanting, the youth have just decided to take matters in their own hands and go after one another. This is not just characteristic of Jonglei. It is starting to happen in other parts of South Sudan as well, increasingly.

You have mentioned the conflict across the border. That is the other big part of the scenario we now have in South Sudan. Obviously the conflict is taking place within Sudan, in the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, although there is tension in Abyei, which is the contested region between the two states. Of course, South Sudan is receiving a large amount of refugees from the region of South Kordofan in particular. Refugees from Blue Nile are going over the border to Ethiopia. You have a very large refugee crisis in a state that does not have the infrastructure to cope with this influx of people. Of course, the influx of people brings with it tensions, and we have seen a series of attacks within South Sudan as well, following the refugees. The instability over the border is profoundly troubling.

Q38 Chair: When I attended a briefing you gave across the river a few months ago, you were quite negative and pessimistic about the international community’s role in the scenario. Do you feel the situation is getting worse or better in terms of the capacity of the various agencies to deal with it?

Dr Pantuliano: You need to distinguish whether we are talking about agencies engaging in humanitarian response, international political action or peacekeeping. We have the international community responding in three different spheres. Politically, we still do not see the kind of firm and coherent political action that is required. We have had a profound and strong engagement in the past with Sudan, which has led to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and has also allowed the referendum to go ahead. That kind of robust political engagement is lacking at the moment. In other words, there are isolated initiatives, but they are not robust and coherent enough, both regionally and internationally, at least in my opinion.

In terms of a humanitarian response, because there has been so much focus on supporting state building in South Sudan and supporting the Government of South Sudan to provide services in its own terms, there has been a focus away from humanitarian response capacity. That is also being ramped up now, but the infrastructure was no longer in place. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, does not have a regional presence. It is not present in all the states. It is only now that they are strengthening their capacity. They should have always been there, because South Sudan has remained volatile throughout these last six years, since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed.

In terms of peacekeeping, again there has been a lot of criticism of the lack of capacity of UNMISS to provide protection for civilians, particularly after the last incident in Jonglei, but I would emphasise that the force-the strength-of the mission allowed by the UN Security Council is very small compared with the size of the country. You have an authorised mission strength of 7,000 troops and, at the moment, there are 4,900 deployed plus some police and other uniformed personnel. That is in a country that is two and a half times the size of Great Britain, with a lot of hotspots and very unstable borders. While there are definitely inefficiencies in the mission as well that have not been redressed since the last mission, I would also say that, again, you need the political mandate to be able to strengthen the mission to be present in a way that really provides protection to people. It is impossible, given the size of the mission and the kind of assets they have, to provide the effective protection that is required.

Q39 Jeremy Lefroy: I would like to move on to ask specifically about the Church’s role in mediation and peacekeeping. Do you believe that this is properly recognised, that the work that the Archbishop and others are doing is being supported through the official agencies, and that the great potential there seems to be is being fully used?

Canon Woodward: Increasingly it is, but perhaps I could say that the unique advantage the Churches have, and I am speaking ecumenically as well as for the Diocese of Salisbury and the Church of England, is that we reach into every part of community. Church is community in South Sudan, and that is a unique advantage. There is always the risk that the Church does not have the resources, but what we increasingly do better is to work in partnership with agencies and NGOs. We work very closely with the Foreign Office, DFID, the Sudan Unit, people on the ground and so on. We can always do better and be better appreciated. If I may, I will ask my colleague, Rebecca, to say what she has been doing with the Archbishop on that particular issue.

Rebecca Coleman: Thank you very much. The recognition from the international community has been a long time coming. I think it could be strengthened. However, at this point in time, the Archbishop and other Church leaders in South Sudan have been mandated by the President, His Excellency Salva Kiir, to lead the reconciliation and mediation process in Jonglei state. We in the ECS and the Sudan Council of Churches Committee have been working very closely with the UN leadership, with Hilde Johnson, Lance Clark and others. They have increasing trust in us. They have stated on numerous occasions, publicly, that the Churches are the strongest civil society in South Sudan. We held a conference of MPs in Bor, which the Archbishop chaired. The Governor of Jonglei state, His Excellency Kuol Manyang, was present. Hilde Johnson invited Archbishop Daniel and me to travel on her plane to go from Juba to Bor. Small things like that add up to something very significant. While we have been campaigning and advocating on behalf of the people of Jonglei state-sometimes it is recognised and sometimes it is not-we do feel now, particularly towards the end of last year, that the support is growing.

Q40 Jeremy Lefroy: Just as a followup to that, I believe that DFID has recently made an allocation of something like £200,000 to support the Church in that work, which is welcome. Could you perhaps explain how that is going to be used and whether the Church itself has the administrative capabilities to be able to deal with the quite high levels of accountability that this funding involves?

Rebecca Coleman: The Churches have been entrusted by the President to lead this reconciliation process, so that is a very big encouragement and a boost for us. DFID approached us with funding, because they have recognised the commitment and the dedication of the Church leaders to address the conflicts in Jonglei. It has been very clear from interviews and trips that the Archbishop and the rest of the committee have made to the ground, trips from United Nations and feedback that the local government officials have received from people that the people have faith in the Church. They are able to speak to Church leaders on a very personal basis.

For example, Archbishop Daniel travelled to Pibor to meet some women after their houses had been destroyed. They happened to be not wearing any clothes; they have not known anything of civilisation and education. They are completely isolated and cut off, but they felt able to speak to him about their children who had been abducted and about their houses that had been burnt down. That shows the unique role the Church has in this peace initiative. DFID on the ground certainly understands that, which is why they have given us that money. I think it is £300,000. They call it "tiny money". I think one of the DFID representatives actually said that when you came to Juba and met with the Archbishop; she called it "tiny money". There are positive murmurings about further funds.

Q41 Chair: I think that was in relation to what you were looking for in education, which we will come on to a bit later. That was the context in which she used that expression. I do not think we regard it as an insignificant sum of money.

Rebecca Coleman: No, we certainly do not in the ECS either; it is vital to our peace work. We are very grateful, and we praise DFID and Her Majesty’s Government for supporting us with those funds.

Q42 Jeremy Lefroy: If I can just come back to the second part of my question, DFID raised concerns about the ability of the Church to process this kind of money and use it. I wondered how you would respond to that.

Rebecca Coleman: The money that was given to us will be used eventually for a joint conference between the two communities that have been in conflict, at the moment-the LouNuer and the Murle. As I stated, the Church is in a unique position to be able to bring them together in dialogue. The Government of South Sudan has failed to do that to date. The money that was given to DFID will support the costs of that conference. We are working in companionship with other Churches; it is not just the ECS. Additionally, we have a lot of technical support from NGOs, such as DanChurchAid and UNMISS Civil Affairs, so we are not working on our own here; it is very much a team effort.

Canon Woodward: Maybe I could add to that. If the concern was whether the money would be properly accountable and so on, I think it is. The systems in the provincial office of the Episcopal Church in Juba have improved considerably, and they are much more open to access by partners, particularly from the United States and from the United Kingdom. We are more satisfied.

Q43 Richard Burden: Can we return to UNMISS again? In the Church’s written evidence, you say you would like it to have a broader bordermonitoring mandate. Sara, this is where you talked about the need to do something about the mandate. Can you say a little bit more about what precise changes to the mandate you would like to see, and why you think that is important?

Rebecca Coleman: It touches on what Sara has said, in that 7,000 troops may sound like a large number but, with the size of Jonglei and considering that there is also a north/south border conflict, it really is not. We would like to see UNMISS supported. We would like to see their mandate extended. We feel it is very important that there is proper civilian protection on the ground-not just in Jonglei, but also along the border-in order to prevent people being caught up in a conflict that they just want nothing to do with.

Q44 Richard Burden: If in New York they said, "Okay, we will now authorise a greater bordermonitoring component," and even if they said "with some more troops involved", would UNMISS then be doing what you feel it needs to be doing or are there other institutional impediments to that that need to be addressed as well?

Dr Pantuliano: I think the force component is one element. Definitely you do need more peacekeepers to be able to provide effective monitoring and protection when required, including intervening if there is physical violence involved. The other element though, learning from the experience of the previous mission, which wound up with the declaration of independence of South Sudan, is the ability to have a strong civil affairs component that can focus on reconciliation work and support NGO peace building initiatives, as well as facilitating the involvement of the Government in these initiatives, with the political affairs capacity that can bring together these initiatives at a different level. Learning from the previous mission, there has not been enough of this work done at county level, in the peripheries. Too much of its work has been concentrated at the level of Juba or, where it has happened, in the state capitals, but not in the more peripheral counties, where the state is less present and has more difficulties administering security and justice. That is where the role of an international peacekeeping mission is particularly required: to support the Government where it is less able to fulfil its responsibilities for security and protection.

Rebecca Coleman: I would like to add that it is important also to consider just how difficult it is to operate in Jonglei state. It is the largest state in South Sudan with the largest population. There are no paved roads. From April to November, it is practically impassable. You find yourselves stuck in a Land Rover in the mud, with no one around-no police forces, no telephone reception. It is very difficult and also very expensive. I know UNMISS Civil Affairs, especially in light of this recent conflict in Jonglei, worked in collaboration with the SPLA to move troops to specific key areas by helicopter, but that alone is an expensive timeconsuming operation. There is a lot that needs to be considered when we are talking about a stronger mandate, a broader mandate or a longer mandate. It is going to cost a lot, but it is absolutely vital to secure the safety of the people of Jonglei state.

Q45 Richard Burden: In terms of what they have been doing so far, understanding that you think they need a broader mandate and they could clearly do with more troops, from what you have said, given the environment that they have been operating in, are you saying that you think their performance in Jonglei has been as good as it could be under the circumstances and given those difficulties, or are you saying it is better than it was, but they could still have been doing this, that and the other, even within their current mandate?

Rebecca Coleman: I am speaking from a Church perspective and from what we have seen in the discussions that we have had with the Civil Affairs leadership just last week. We talk to each other all the time about this kind of thing, strategies and so on. The Archbishop made a trip to several villages within Jonglei state in September. After that trip, he came back to the office of the Vice-President, His Excellency Riek Machar, to brief him on what he had seen, and he made it very clear that there was going to be conflict at the end of the year if there were not troops deployed in strategic areas. Nothing happened. Two weeks before the conflict, the Archbishop went back again. He verified the information and took it back to Riek Machar. Again, very little happened.

It is difficult and irresponsible to pin any blame, as such, on UNMISS for what happened at the end of the year. It is just extremely difficult to work in those circumstances, and also there was not a speedy enough response from the SPLA and the Government of South Sudan, from the experience of the Church. That is what we have seen. It is not really UNMISS’s role to work alone; they have to work in partnership with the Government through the structures that are already in place. If there is not seen to be that much of an immediate concern, it is very difficult for UNMISS to move forward, and that is certainly what we, as the Sudan Council of Churches, have witnessed.

Q46 Richard Burden: Do you see this changing any time soon? I asked the previous witnesses to just crystalballgaze a little bit about when the South Sudanese Army and police might be in a position to take more of a role themselves in dealing with these things, even to the extent of UNMISS not being necessary at some point. What kind of horizon should we be looking at?

Rebecca Coleman: It is going to be very difficult, because 80% of the South Sudan police force are illiterate. Many of them in Jonglei state do not have weaponry; some of them do not even have shoes. We are talking about a very basic police force. Again, I will mention another trip the Archbishop made. He was told by some ladies, "The police are just like women; they’re just like us," because the women do not walk around with guns. The women are always advocating for peace. That is exactly what the police are seen to be doing in Jonglei state. They are incapable of protecting because they do not have arms, because they are remote and are not able to move around and inspire people with confidence. As the recent conflicts have shown, there are serious problems when it comes to civilian protection by armed forces. It will definitely take a very long time to build the capacity of the police force and the Army, which is why it is just so important for Her Majesty’s Government and other Governments around the world to be advocating for capacitybuilding in the armed forces.

Dr Pantuliano: I could not agree more with what Rebecca said. It is important to stress that, because , in the past six years, the fact that there was an autonomous Government that was potentially preparing for independence, has given many donors and actors the impression that there was a state that was able to provide on a number of different fronts, including in terms of security. It was very obvious that an army that was never really trained or qualified would be unable to act like a professional army. Likewise, a police force, which was nonexistent, obviously could not materialise overnight. There has been some support to the professionalisation of the Army and the police, but it has been very little, and absolutely not commensurate with the scale of the need. We are still a long way away from seeing an effective police force and a professional Army that the citizens can trust and respect.

If we are really serious about supporting the transition in South Sudan, we need to make, as international partners, a serious commitment, also in terms of funding, to support these processes, long term otherwise instability and violence will continue to characterise the future of South Sudan. We have seen studies done on this in other countries. For instance, the World Development Report of the World Bank in 2011 highlighted a very clear link between the end of an armed conflict, continued violence because of inefficient or inadequate security structures in the country, and levels of homicide, violence and large criminality-for instance, in Central and Latin America, 15 to 20 years after the end of the conflict in those countries. It is something where we can learn from other contexts, and try to invest robustly now to make sure that we can help South Sudan lay down the foundations for a better and safer future for its citizens.

Canon Woodward: If I can just add one point, there is a specific issue here, talking to colleagues in UNMISS at the moment. It is one thing of course to have properly trained forces, but the big problem at the moment is mobility and getting them to the right place, at the right time, with their equipment. I think we all saw that very strong leader in The Times on Saturday, with the suggestion that the UN was walking, in the case of Jonglei, into another Srebrenica or another Rwanda. The point is that the forces need to be movable quickly. They were relying on other resources for helicopter transport-the Russians, I believe in this case-that were not forthcoming. We could put international pressure on that.

Q47 Hugh Bayley: Dr Pantuliano, do you think the World Bank and UNDP have got on top of the problems they had with administering their trust funds, multidonor funds?

Dr Pantuliano: I was part of the team which conducted the evaluation of aid assistance to South Sudan over the five years from 2005 to 2010. We looked very closely at the MultiDonor Trust Fund administered by the World Bank, as well as other funds administered by UNDP, as well as UNDP’s own programmes and interventions. The deficiencies of those funds have been very well documented.

You asked me if there has been an improvement, I assume compared with what was documented up to 2010. As far as I understand, there has not been any marked improvement. The funding frameworks that existed until the evaluation was carried out-it concluded at the beginning of last year-are winding up now. We are in a transitional phase between the old funding frameworks and the new funding frameworks. There is obviously a lot of discussion that is informed by the inefficiencies and problems that the MultiDonor Trust Fund and other pooled funds have proved to have, but, to be honest, there is little indication that these funds administered by the World Bank or the UN will be any better in their new iteration.

There is a lot of concern among NGOs and others that we will see a repeat of the same burdensome administration and potentially delayed disbursement. For instance in the case of the Common Humanitarian Fund, the CHF, which is so critical in providing funding for emergencies and humanitarian assistance, there is the continuation of a calendar that is completely out of sync with when you can actually implement activities in South Sudan. To explain better, we have a Common Humanitarian Fund that goes from January to December. Now, the disbursements never arrive before April/May. That is the end of the dry season. That is effectively the end of when organisations can really be operational in many parts of South Sudan, where there are no allweather roads. The rainy season ends pretty much in November, so then you have a month to finish spending the funds that you have been provided through the Common Humanitarian Fund.

Large NGOs can prefinance, because they have the ability to use their own resources and then using the funds whenever they are disbursed, usually in April/May, but for smaller NGOs it is very difficult, let alone for national NGOs. That really provides a significant hindrance to the ability of these organisations to operate effectively in this context; we are talking of humanitarian assistance. That is just one example. Of course, the inability of the World Bank to administer the Multi-Donor Trust Fund efficiently has been so well documented. Just in terms of figures, when we did the evaluation, out of the $450 million1-I think I have the figures somewhere-that had been allocated, only $190 million had been spent.

Q48 Hugh Bayley: What I do not understand is this: is it badly managed, the World Bank fund, because of a lack of management capacity-bad design, badly managed-or is it because the World Bank is working in a difficult environment?

Dr Pantuliano: It is both, if you want. It is applying a funding model to a context for which it is completely inappropriate. The World Bank obviously operates in more stable settings normally, with Governments that have the capacity to administer and deal with cumbersome procedures. What we have seen is, first of all, the difficulty the Bank itself has had in deploying quickly in this context. It took a long time for the World Bank to actually have staff on the ground. For the first year and a half, if not two years, the Bank administered the fund using a manager based in Nairobi, who would frequently fly into South Sudan. Then you have a set of procedures that have been put in place to mitigate the fiduciary risks, but, in a context where there is no Government capacity to deal with such cumbersome procedures, this obviously delays the capacity to administer and spend the fund quickly enough. This has been the biggest problem.

There has also been a really inadequate staff presence. The Bank has found it very difficult to find personnel that would deploy in a country such as South Sudan, because World Bank staff are, I guess, not very used to working in environments such as South Sudan. There has been an objective difficulty in finding experienced staff that could go there and would be willing to serve there for sustained number of months or years.

Q49 Hugh Bayley: Can I ask you one final question, and then I will turn to Rebecca and Ian? Do you think that DFID is an effective international donor in South Sudan and, if so, should it be putting its money through multidonor funds run by UNDP or the World Bank or, if they are poorly managed, should it be doing something different?

Dr Pantuliano: DFID has demonstrated itself to be a better donor than many others. It is responsive. It has tried to deal creatively with some of the challenges. Surely it has put money in the MultiDonor Trust Fund and in other funds administered by UNDP, but it has also remedied the inefficiencies by creating new pooled funds administered by private companies, such as the Basic Services Fund, which have performed infinitely better than the World Bankmanaged pooled fund or UNmanaged pooled funds. That is really to DFID’s credit, and the BSF was DFID’s creation and has been one of the few successes we have seen in South Sudan. It has provided critical assistance in the service delivery sector. In the discussions that are being held now about the new funds, a lot of the advocacy that the NGOs are offering around these issues very much emphasises the success of this model, which was very much of DFID’s own making.

DFID was also one of the first donors to invest in the security and justice sector, recognising the importance of not just supporting service delivery, but also funding security and justice, and supporting peacebuilding separately. Not all of what they have funded has been successful or has proved to have the impact that they were expecting, but at least there has been an effort to recognise the importance of issues that were so critical, which we have not quite seen with a number of other donors.

Q50 Hugh Bayley: I know we are getting short of time.

Dr Pantuliano: Can I just mention the one concern that I think is voiced more and more in South Sudan about DFID’s action? It is the relatively new emphasis on value for money. Now, South Sudan is a context where it is going to be very difficult to get value for money. If you want to operate in Jonglei, you are not going to get much value for money, and also the pooled funds have not proven to provide the value for money that they were expected to provide-for which they were set up.

Q51 Hugh Bayley: Could I just ask this of Rebecca and Ian? The Church has expressed concerns that some of these big funds’ programmes will come to an end this year, and you are worried that they will finish before other programmes are up and running to take over. Is the situation any better now or is that still your concern?

Rebecca Coleman: It is still very much our concern. What the Basic Services Fund has been able to show is that basic services can be delivered through local and indigenous organisations. We have a very good relationship with the Basic Services Fund in the Episcopal Church of Sudan. For example, through funds from the Basic Services Fund, we have been able to construct several schools, all across South Sudan, for a number of years now-for almost five years. It has proven to be an opportunity for the ECS to train teachers to construct schools and to really provide education services across the country, so much so that we have been recognised in Central Equatoria and Western Equatoria states, by the Ministry of Education in both of those states, to be the best provider of inservice teacher training in the country. Those are just two states out of the 10 states of South Sudan, but they are the only two that have declared, at this point in time, who they think is the best. Without trying to blow my own horn or the horn of the ECS, it is generally perceived that we are able to provide an excellent service when it comes to teacher training, school construction and general provision of basic services. That is definitely because of the support that we have received from the Basic Services Fund.

I do have to say that we were also very concerned when funding that was pledged to us, verbally and through emails, for school construction was later diverted to UNOPS, the UN agency, without proper explanation to the ECS as to why, particularly when we are very well known to construct schools without needing a lot of money-schools that serve the community well, that are owned by the communities, where the community can then hold the Church to account if there is a problem. They are involved from beginning to end with the planning and construction process. It is a concern to us when there is not mutual partnership in the relationships we have with other donors. We are certainly concerned by what the future will hold next year if the Basic Services Fund and other funds come to a close, but we would strongly like to encourage this Committee to urge DFID and Her Majesty’s Government to continue supporting local organisations, particularly the Church, with the provision of basic services. If that can be through the extension of the Basic Services Fund, we would certainly be advocates for that.

Q52 Jeremy Lefroy: If I could come back to something that Dr Pantuliano said and I was a little concerned about, you were implying that one of the problems with the disbursement of the MultiDonor Trust Fund with the World Bank was basically that the World Bank could not find staff who were willing to work in difficult environments. That seems to me a serious charge. If the World Bank cannot do that, should they be entrusted with such funding?

Dr Pantuliano: That has been documented in a number of analyses and evaluations that have been conducted on the MultiDonor Trust Fund. The Bank did remedy the problem in the end, but it was definitely a problem in the first two or three years of the fund. There were significant delays, because it was difficult for them to find staff who would deploy in South Sudan, stably and continually in Juba. As I said, people were coming in and out of Nairobi.

Q53 Jeremy Lefroy: Yet-if I may interrupt, because we are short of time-all other agencies seem to be able to find people to work there who are willing to work possibly in much more difficult environments outside Juba. Why is the World Bank not able to do that and what lessons should be learnt?

Dr Pantuliano: They have a different organisational culture. If you work for OCHA or for a humanitarian NGO, for MSF, you will find people who are happy to be deployed in South Sudan, even at the height of an emergency or a conflict. For development organisations that have only recently started engaging in transitional and postconflict contexts, it is more difficult to find the type of staff internally that can be entrusted with the management of such a large and important fund, and are willing to be deployed. They need to have a level of seniority within the organisation to do that, and to be willing to serve in such a complex environment. This is not my firsthand assessment; this is something that has been documented by enough evidence.

Chair: It is a criticism the British Government has levelled at the World Bank: not being able to sustain the kind of country offices that DFID believes they should. It is an issue.

Q54 Jeremy Lefroy: It seems to me extraordinary that such a major and important part of the rehabilitation of South Sudan was put into an organisation that was the wrong organisation to deal with it. That seems to be a question that perhaps we could push at another time. I realise we are short of time.

Rebecca Coleman: I would just like to make a very quick comment based on what you have said. The Episcopal Church of Sudan is made up of 31 dioceses; 26 of those dioceses are in South Sudan. Every single diocese has, via satellite, access to the internet. We have trained staff, who know how to use computers. We have solar panels to keep our dioceses and offices running. The Episcopal Church of Sudan has a network-not just of people, but a proper infrastructure across the whole country. It can sometimes be a bit frustrating when we are overlooked by some of the big organisations. They are not so willing to work with us or work through us-they just see our limitations and immediately write us off-but we would really like to be given the chance to show that we can work for development. We can work in the areas of relief distribution, not just because, as a Church, we have a presence in every single community, but also because we have the communication structure that allows us to keep in communication with donors, to ensure that money is spent correctly, and to ensure that, if any messages come from Geneva, Nairobi, Juba or wherever, they can reach us.

Chair: We have got that message loud and clear.

Q55 Chris White: I am going a bit further into depth with regard to schools. What do you think the impact will be on the Government’s decision to classify Church schools as private schools?

Rebecca Coleman: What do you mean by "the impact" exactly?

Q56 Chris White: What will be the impression? What will be the public view of those schools moving from the Church to a different kind of setup, if I can put it like that, or classification?

Rebecca Coleman: By classifying the ECS schools as private schools you imply that they will not be funded by the Government of South Sudan. That is really our main worry. We are the best provider of education across the country. We have 300 schools. We have 80,000 pupils. To be frank, if our schools were not supported, if we decided today to close down our schools, there would be an education crisis in South Sudan. The Government of South Sudan is not yet at the stage where it is able to provide any alternative for those 80,000 pupils that we are teaching.

That is not to say that donors or the international community should not support the Government of South Sudan, or should support us at their expense. I think we are all doing the same work, and the Episcopal Church of Sudan is working in order to serve the people of South Sudan and to support the Government of South Sudan. As I said, we do have quite a strong partnership and a very good working relationship with the Ministry of Education, at the level of Juba and also in the field. It would be rather reckless and would not make very much sense for the Government to suddenly turn off the taps and say, "We are not going to support Church schools anymore," when not just the ECS, but the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church and other Churches, provide so much education and opportunities for people across the country.

Q57 Chris White: Thank you. If I can just ask one further question, obviously, to have good schools you need to have good teaching. How is the training of these current and potential teachers getting on, in terms of your role, DFID’s role and NGOs’ role? Is it seen as a priority?

Rebecca Coleman: Yes, absolutely. It is a priority of the Ministry of Education and it is also a priority for us. At the moment, we have inservice teacher training, so training teachers while they are on the job, and we also have 400 hours of residential training in centres across the country. The Government of South Sudan has stressed that training is hugely important. However, I think they only have about 13 training centres across South Sudan, and they do not even cover every single state of South Sudan. There are huge limitations on the part of the Government, which is why organisations such as the ECS are working in such close collaboration with them: to ensure that teachers are trained. Just for clarification, in our training institutions, it is not just ECS teachers who are trained. We train teachers from other Churches. We also train a large proportion of Government teachers, who then go back to Government schools and work on behalf of the Government.

DFID has been quite a good partner of ours concerning teacher training. One of the best schools in the country is Juba Diocesan Model Secondary School. That is directly supported with DFID money for the training of teachers, and they routinely come out with top marks across Juba, Central Equatoria state, when the examination results are announced. This is the reality. This is what is happening on the ground. We, the Church, are able to provide a service largely because we are supported by the Basic Services Fund, but also others. Teacher training is of huge importance to us. Because we are organised and fairly efficient, we can implement a service that is also benefiting the Government of South Sudan.

Canon Woodward: If I could just add to that, the shocking statistics of literacy or illiteracy, depending on how you look at it, demonstrate that education is absolutely No. 1 if Sudan is going to grow.

Chair: We have some very stark statistics about the literacy rates within Government. The majority of people working within the civil service, though it was not their fault, were probably not literate in their capacity.

Q58 Jeremy Lefroy: We have talked about reducing reliance on international NGOs to deliver basic services and moving towards Governmentprovided services, whether that is through local community organisations, the Church and so on. How long do you think the international NGOs are going to be needed at this level of delivering basic services?

Dr Pantuliano: I think for a long time to come. The important issue to address is the ability of NGOs to work in partnership with the Government to help the Government in the transition. We have seen in the last five to six years, and from some of the discussions that continue to permeate the aid sector in South Sudan, this emphasis on allowing the Government to take over and administer the services. Perhaps there are areas where the Government can do that-I am talking about geographical areas as well as sectoral areas-but there are many other areas, both geographically and in terms of sectoral and technical capacity, where the Government is unable to take over service delivery. Actually, pushing for this accelerated transition, if the Government does not have the capacity to take over the responsibility of delivering services, will only deprive people of the services, especially in some peripheral areas.

What we need to see are funding arrangements that allow NGOs to be more accountable in terms of the way they support the Government in the various counties in which they operate, with benchmarks put in place to see a gradual transition over the years, from the NGO delivering the services towards moving to the Government being able to provide timely and adequate services to its citizens. At the same time, there is a need to do work at the central level to ensure that the Government is able to pay the people that are supposed to deliver the services. A large part of the problem where the transition has been pushed, in terms of state schools, hospitals or health centres, is the inability of the Government to pay people in the counties in a timely manner or where they are located. For example, many teachers are supposed to go and collect their salary from the county capital, but travel to the county capital can amount to half of their salary.

Q59 Chair: We saw that first hand.

Dr Pantuliano: You have to be able to eliminate these problems to see this a transition to Government delivery, where the services are protected for the citizens.

Canon Woodward: From a Church point of view, we would see the support that is there at the moment for the foreseeable future.

Q60 Jeremy Lefroy: Following on from that, with a considerable amount of the provision being done by the various Churches, do you see it as a problem in the eyes of the people of South Sudan that it is not the Government that is delivering these services, but other organisations?

Canon Woodward: I suppose there is that risk, but, if it can be demonstrated to be done in partnership-so that it is not just an NGO or not just the Church, but working with Government-that could ameliorate the problem, but it is a risk, yes.

Rebecca Coleman: This is happening on a practical level. Whenever we establish a school, from education services even to advocacy, we are always working with the Government of South Sudan. They sit in on our meetings; they are present with us in our dialogues. When it comes to forming parent-teacher associations at ground level, the county commissioner or local government official is informed. This is our methodology.

Q61 Jeremy Lefroy: Presumably that is why you are very concerned that the schools should be kept as part of the Government system or a community-Government system, rather than being seen as a separate body of schools?

Rebecca Coleman: That is right, because they were not formed in isolation; they were formed with the Government.

Q62 Chair: If you look at the history of the UK, that is precisely how our schools developed, and some of them are still funded by the state.

Dr Pantuliano: Can I add a quick thing on that? This was one of the questions that the evaluation I referred to earlier interrogated. The evaluation proved that, actually, people did not feel that service delivery by NGOs undermined Government. They often referred to the Government as "our baby Government", one that needs support to become a robust and strong Government. What the evaluation proved was that, where the capacity of the NGOs to deliver services had been taken away and the Government was not able to deliver services either, this is what delegitimised the Government even more, because people felt they were worse off than during the war. They did not receive services from either the NGOs or the Government.

Q63 Chair: Perhaps just a final point: when we were in South Sudan, we were split into two groups. One group went to Lakes and one group went to Eastern Equatoria, and I think we had two different experiences. Basically in Lakes, the feeling was they saw nothing much on the ground, whereas we in Eastern Equatoria felt we saw some things that were working, whether they were clinics, schools, policing or things like that. It was not perfect, but there were things happening. Indeed, the general criticism of the international community and everybody else has been that it is all happening in Juba and, by the way, Juba is not exactly a metropolitan capital. It has not got mains electricity, water and all those kinds of things. Ultimately, you have to deliver across the country-the 10 states. To what extent do you think there is a consistent or co-ordinated approach to delivering that capacity through the state governments and the local and regional governments for it to meet you precisely at the point you have just made there? People can perceive, even if it is not as much or as fast as they want, that things are happening and there is some visible idea of a peace dividend. To what extent do either the Government of South Sudan or DFID and the international donors really work together to try to deliver this?

Dr Pantuliano: The peripheries continue to be profoundly underserved. The farther away they are, the less presence we see. There is a concentration of assistance in the Equatoria region because, it is more stable, it is more accessible and it is closer to Juba. Naturally, it is easier for organisations to operate and set up there, but there is a parallel problem, which is a policy of the Government of South Sudan, which DFID and other donors should strongly advocate to modify. That is that the Government sees any provision or any support has to be distributed equally across the 10 states-not equitably but equally. The same amount of money that goes to Jonglei goes to Eastern Equatoria. That means that it reaches a third of the population of Jonglei. Of course, we have very unreliable population data, but we know approximately that there are a lot more people in Jonglei than in Eastern Equatoria, just to use an example of another state. Unless this policy is redressed, we will continue to see the same inability to concentrate assistance where it is needed most. Assistance has to be on the basis of need and need alone. That has to be the paramount criterion to assess what the needs are and allocate assistance in a way that is commensurate with the level of need.

Q64 Chair: We had that conversation with the President, those of us who met him, and he did acknowledge the point you make, exactly that-equal but not equitable. I do not know to what extent he was going to do something about it, but he did acknowledge that he felt that needed to be addressed.

Canon Woodward: We do have a network of 26 dioceses within South Sudan. As the Church both here and in the provincial office, we keep in very close touch with them. Pressure comes from the bishops and their people about their needs. In many ways, we are in a position here to take a good overview of constantly saying, "Where are the needs? How can we help and how can that be delivered?" While there is a risk of Juba getting the concentration, the diocesan structure does allow us to have a view of the needs across the whole country.

Rebecca Coleman: May I just add also that Dr Sara made the point about the staffing of the World Bank and maybe not wanting to live in the more uncomfortable areas of South Sudan? At least from my experience of what I have seen living there for the last two years, that is not an accusation that can be levelled at just the World Bank. There are several NGOs that are guilty of this. Even the Government of South Sudan and Members of Parliament who are supposed to be residing in their constituencies are often found in the state capital, in Juba or even in Nairobi. One of the fundamental problems is just lack of personnel on the ground and a sustained presence.

What we have in the Church are people who suffer alongside the people, and see exactly what is lacking. All they can do is comment. They could not necessarily deliver or implement a very large project, which is why the network we have is so useful. In terms of constructing a school for example, we can build a school in two months. We can build a school with £40,000. That is not a lot of money to build eight classrooms, and to go from having a budget approved to having a school fully functioning, but all of that requires a maintained presence on the ground and liaising with the communities. If you do not have that presence, whether it is the World Bank, any other NGO, the Government of South Sudan or even the Church, you cannot have development that is owned by the communities and something that is sustainable. I would very much encourage you to urge DFID to encourage the Government of South Sudan to maintain their presence in the periphery, and to ensure that, if services need to be provided, they are there to supervise the provision of those services. In that way, you build credibility, communities are happy and peace dividends are finally delivered.

Q65 Chair: That is a clearly understood message. DFID is still in the process of establishing itself on the ground. They have done a lot in a short space of time, but I would want to put on record our appreciation that they are not living in entirely comfortable conditions, but they are there and they are developing. We appreciate what they are doing, but obviously there are continuing issues with reaching the whole country and giving people measurable, identifiable signs of progress to keep optimism and the enthusiasm together.

We would like to thank you very much for your honest analysis. It is a huge challenge, but it is not all bleak and bad. There are probably worse places in the world, in terms of what is going on on the ground, but not very many places that are so underprovided. We are very well aware of both the Church’s capacity and, if I can put it this way, the Church’s assessment of its capacity, which clearly is somewhat different from DFID’s assessment of the Church. There is an issue there, which I cannot say we can resolve, but we are very aware of it. I am glad that there is a role for the Church and support for DFID on reconciliation, but we appreciate that you feel there is more you could do in partnership, if you were given the chance. Indeed, the relationship between the Church in the UK and the Church in South Sudan is a positive issue too. I guess you have a foot in at least three camps, Rebecca, being based in Juba and, I think you said, Ghana. Is that right? You are also from a UK base, so you are very much the triangle in all of this.

Seriously, we are finding it a very fascinating study and challenge. There are people on the ground. There are huge issues. Something Hilde Johnson said in her New Year message was that, ultimately, if there are not enough people in South Sudan who want South Sudan to succeed, it will fail. That was a plea to say, "Do not just blame the international community. We are all in this together." Your evidence has demonstrated that perspective, which was much appreciated. Thank you very much indeed. It was nice to see you all.

[1] Witness later Correction, corrected amount The correct figures are: $536 allocated in donor contributions to the Fund, $212 disbursed and $190 spent

Prepared 11th April 2012