South Sudan: The Birth of a Nation and the Prospects for Peace and Development

Written evidence submitted by Tearfund

South Sudan: The Birth of a Nation and the prospects for peace and development

Introduction

1. Tearfund welcomes this opportunity to contribute to the International Development Select Committee inquiry on South Sudan. Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency working directly in response to disasters and in partnership with organisations in more than 50 countries, working alongside or through networks of local churches.

2. Tearfund has been working in South Sudan for over 40 years. Our work follows a two track approach, firstly that of supporting seven local partners, who work on a number of long term development projects addressing areas such as HIV and education, but secondly direct Tearfund operations in South Sudan, since 1998, undertaking projects to improve water and sanitation, nutrition, household food security and the provision of basic health services.

3. In South Sudan Tearfund’s approach in our direct operations is one of developmental relief, with a strong emphasis on community participation, reducing the risk and impact of disasters and building the capacity of government structures. The programme works in remote locations that have been severely affected by the civil war, and continue to be underserved and underdeveloped, and subject to continued humanitarian disasters such as drought and flooding. We have four project sites in the states of Upper Nile, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Jonglei with support sites in Juba and Nairobi. We currently employ 370 staff with an annual turnover of £5 million. We serve approximately 360,000 beneficiaries and our main donors are the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), the Basic Services Fund (BSF), the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and the government of Canada (CIDA). Our most recent project is serving 25,300 returnees in Aweil town in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, by increasing their access to safe water sources, improving sanitation coverage, promoting good hygiene practices and minimising the spread of disease, and where applicable, through emergency response activities, providing food and non food items.

Question 1: The extent of humanitarian need, especially among returning South Sudanese and those displaced by fighting in Abyei and South Kordofan; and any problems with humanitarian access;

4. Humanitarian needs in South Sudan are in part determined by the chronic under-development of the country following years of civil war, which ended in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). There have been improvements in the humanitarian situation as the country has started to rebuild but South Sudan is still one of the poorest nations in the world and off track to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 [1] . For example, it has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world – 2,054 per 100,000 live births, and only 6.4% of the population has access to improved sanitation

Instability and conflict

5. South Sudan suffers from ongoing instability and conflict. In 2010 more than 220,000 people were displaced due to various conflicts [2] and this trend is continuing, with a further 300,000 fleeing their homes and 2,000 people killed so far this year [3] (mostly in Warrap, Jonglei, Lakes, and Unity States). Conflicts range from clashes between tribes (over land, cattle and other resources), to attacks by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), to clashes between the government and local breakaway militia groups (many formerly in the army, some with political grievances) to fighting in the border areas. Not only do those displaced need emergency assistance but they cannot continue with their usual activities such as planting crops, leading to long term hunger and other problems. There have been reports of new landmines being planted during outbreaks of conflict in 2011 [4] .

6. The most recent tribal clashes in Jonglei State between the Murle and Lou Nuer tribes prompted a humanitarian response, firstly to register and verify those displaced and then to provide them with food rations as well as non food items such as plastic sheeting and mosquito nets. Tearfund has ongoing projects in the area affected by the most recent tribal violence. The figures are difficult to verify but conservative estimates reported that 600 people were killed and thousands were displaced. Child protection was also a concern with reports of 283 children missing in Motot and Pulchuol payams (equivalent of districts) as well as others separated from their families or orphaned. One health clinic in Pieri was burnt down with medicines looted, and boreholes were also dismantled, reducing access to safe drinking water. Villages and crops were destroyed and a World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse in Pieri was looted (apparently containing sufficient food for 2,000 people for one month). There are numerous challenges in the humanitarian response to this situation, including issues of access, infrastructure, continued insecurity and limited humanitarian capacity on the ground (as several Non Government Organisations (NGOs) temporarily relocated from the area). Thus subsequent relief efforts have slowed down [5] . The Government needs to organise mediation between senior tribal elders to reconcile differences, and to combine this with a sensitive programme of disarmament and provision of more active protection for civilians.

7. People continue to arrive from South Kordofan to Unity State and from Blue Nile State to Upper Nile State as a result of the ongoing fighting there. The high number of returnees that have travelled to the South places a high burden on the host communities, whose own coping mechanisms are already stretched.

8. The context in South Sudan has remained poorly defined and there is a lack of understanding among all actors as to whether the response should be emergency/humanitarian, recovery, or development. In reality it is a mix of all of these and needs to be carefully determined when approaching any project . Humanitarian needs look certain to continue for several years to come in South Sudan and it is important that these needs are met through adequate resources and emergency preparedness . But at the same time , emergency responses can exacerbate the situation and make communities more vulnerable rather than less so , as their dependency on relief/handouts grows and their self sufficiency decreases . The delivery of emergency, recovery and development interventions needs to carefully balance these tensions.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

9. Water and sanitation coverage in South Sudan is very low. In 2009 village assessments in Northern Bahr el Ghazal highlighted insufficient access to water in communities as the most pressing issue among the population across all 5 counties in the State [6] . In 2010 in Aweil Centre County 66% of the population had a round trip of 30-90 minutes to collect water and only 10% of the population collected 20 or more litres of water per person per day [7] . A recent knowledge, attitudes and practises (KAP) survey carried out by UNICEF in April 2010 indicated that only 7.4% of the population washed their hands with soap and water [8] . Tearfund’s KAP surveys in our project areas reported that 65% of households surveyed indicated that they practised open defecation in nearby fields, a majority (67%) did not have access to hand washing facilities and 48% said that they disposed of their rubbish on the road side. One-third of the existing water points in South Sudan are known to be non-functional due to the weak operation and maintenance capacity and less than 50 percent of existing basic primary schools-and even fewer health facilities-have access to safe water and sanitary latrines.

10. The lack of safe drinking water, inadequate excreta disposal and poor hygiene practices leaves a large portion of the population at persistent risk of preventable waterborne diseases. Morbidity data from Aweil Centre Hospital compiled January – November 2010 showed that 29% of illness was exclusively related to WASH and a further 61% could have been reduced significantly through improved WASH [9] . Diarrhoea is cited as one of the most prevalent diseases in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State and this is attributed to the statistics cited above (hand washing practises, access to toilets etc) as well as the fact that 60% of households rely on water from untreated sources without boiling or treating prior to consumption. If poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water supplies continue there is a risk of cholera outbreaks.

Food security & Nutrition

11. Food security and nutrition conditions in South Sudan are extremely poor in absolute terms, as evidenced by malnutrition rates and poor dietary diversity. However, current conditions are vastly improved from war and even pre-war conditions. Such progress is threatened, however, by recurring household shocks (some annual, others more sporadic) such as drought, flood, crop disease, pests and death or theft of livestock. These shocks are of concern due to the importance of farming and raising livestock in the country; 83.7 per cent of households in the poorest quintile of the population are chiefly occupied in agriculture [10] . According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) a Rapid Crop Assessment conducted in August 2011 predicted a best case scenario of a 30-40% fall in cereal production in 2011 compared with the year before with Northern Bahr el Ghazal being the worst hit and only one in three persons reported to be food secure [11] .

12. Those recently displaced from various conflicts in South Sudan have also exerted addition pressure on household and market food stocks and community support mechanisms during the lean season (July ‐ September). Most Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are not yet engaged in food production and thus have not cultivated for the June‐September cropping season [12] . Other external factors that influence the food security situation include high fuel prices and regional shortages in food stocks. The blockage of the three main trade routes with Sudan is a major factor that affects areas like Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile. Our teams in the field report that food prices have risen four-fold over the last 3 months, making it difficult at times to procure adequate food.

Disaster response

13. In 2010 100,000 [13] people were affected by floods, which resulted in the destruction of many houses, and the need for emergency distributions of food, shelter and medical supplies. Tearfund works in Northern Bahr el Ghazal where communities are particularly impacted and have noted that it often forces many to live in make-shift shelters for some 2-3 months, during which time the availability of safe water and proper sanitation worsens leaving the affected groups more susceptible to water-borne diseases and at heightened risk of hunger due to the devastation of poor harvests. As a result, high levels of malnutrition and disease outbreaks are common. The government, donors and NGOs need to ensure all supplies are pre-positioned in advance of the rains and hardware such as latrines are built especially in areas that will not flood, or with special flooding design.

14. The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, which deals with issues such as flooding, is less than a year old and there needs to be concerted efforts on the part of donors to build its capacity in terms of emergency preparedness. This could include training in contingency planning as well as assessment and coordination mechanisms [14] . Good road and air strip infrastructure would also make a significant difference in the government being able to provide supplies in response to disasters such as floods.

Health

15. NGOs currently run and maintain approximately 85% of health services in rural areas . The problems are many, ranging from a lack of funding, investment and poor infrastructure and services, large operational areas, widespread populations, to more specific problems such as lack of qualified or literate staff and high prevalence of communicable diseases. Community awareness of the importance of hygiene practices, sanitation and health issues is low [15] .

South Sudanese returnees

16. T he above picture of various existing humanitarian needs is set against a backdrop of increased number of returnees arriving in South Sudan from Sudan , many needing urgent humanitarian aid. The total number of returnees who have arrived since the end of October 2010 is 346,000 [16] . Many pass through transit sites, some in Sudan such as Kosti (White Nile), and others over the border into South Sudan (e.g. Mina, Abayok and Agany, all near to Renk, Upper Nile).

17. Most make the journey to return to South Sudan with very little or no money or possessions and need food, plastic sheets, mosquito nets, vaccinations and blankets upon immediate arrival. Several transit sites have become overcrowded resulting in unsanitary conditions with outbreaks of disease (diarrhoea [17] etc) as well as malnutrition. This overcrowding is due in part to an absence of transport to carry people further into South Sudan (or the means to pay for it when it is available) or a large amount of luggage/commercial goods that some returnees are carrying which has significantly tied up barge space originally planned for passengers. As some people have been stranded for many weeks new needs, such as education for children, arise. At present there are 10,912 people in Kosti [18] and the sites in Renk are reported to be at full capacity [19] .

18. Following their journey from Sudan many returnees have predominantly settled in the border States, with Unity hosting the largest number (83,851), followed by Northern Bahr el Ghazal (66,128) and then Upper Nile (56,251) [20] . Central Equatoria (home to the nation’s capital Juba) and Warrap also host a large number. This number is anticipated to continue to rise as more await transportation from Sudan and other transit sites. This recent influx of returnees has put renewed strain on states and not all are equally equipped to cope. For example where Tearfund works, in Aweil Centre County in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, the area has seen little to no meaningful increase in WASH service provision post-CPA.

19. To give a specific example, in 2009, our surveys showed 828 people accessed water per each hand pump in Aweil Centre County [21] . By October 2010 it was estimated to have risen to 1207 people and then in January 2011 to 1456 people. The number of people using each hand pump has already fallen short of Sphere Standard [22] of 500 individuals per improved drinking water source, as of 2009, and the January 2011 figure is almost 3 times this amount. This shows a marked deterioration in the water supply situation which is likely to continue to deteriorate as the steady stream of returnees continues.

20. As large numbers of returnees are confronted by poor water and sanitation facilities, this is likely to have an adverse impact on their health in terms of increased rates of water-borne diseases, weakened immune systems and malnutrition. Moreover the increase in food prices across South Sudan means many returnees are finding basic foodstuffs unaffordable and so can’t meet their needs. Households in the host communities are equally experiencing food shortages as a result of the traditional hunger period between March and August and now share the little remaining food they have with their returnee relatives.

21. Whilst some returnees have returned to their respective villages in rural areas or to extended family, the vast majority have preferred instead to relocate close to towns and are now concentrated in the major population centres. Many returnees have come from Khartoum and other urban locations, and are used to city-dwelling. In Aweil town, in addition to the registered returnees, the population is likely to increase as returnees who settle with extended family bring in other members to join them without formally registering them. This will place even more pressure on already insufficient resources, especially water.

22. Transit sites have been set-up on the outskirts of many towns, such as Aweil in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, to temporarily accommodate returnees. However the process of reintegrating and allocating them land to settle has been slow, which means people are not then in a position to farm and plant. Reasons for this are a combination of delays in surveying the land as well as the onset of the rainy season, both of which have put transporting and resettlement on hold. Additional sites have been identified and confirmed but there has been resistance from returnees and host community members about moving, as they do not feel they have been adequately consulted [23] .

23. Reports have emerged that local government in some areas allocates land only if the recipients can build shelters but these can be quite expensive and returnees may not be able to afford this immediately. Some returnees have been reportedly allocated land, but in insecure or inappropriate areas (e.g. women and children were allocated land near Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) of the armed forces in Melut, Upper Nile in February 2011). Slow rates of land allocation are also reported in parts of Lakes State [24] . In Warrap the Governor has discontinued land allocation in Kwajok town, requesting that all returnees proceed directly to their home counties in order to avoid drawing more people to an already congested area [25] . In Maduany and Apadta transit camps in Northern Bahr el Ghazal NGOs have been prohibited by the government from creating permanent structures, such as new boreholes or digging of shallow wells, with the focus being on maintenance and protection of existing water sources as well as activities like hygiene promotion. This also caused some problems with the host communities who already lived in the area before it became occupied temporarily by returnees. They felt discriminated against as they wanted to benefit from and participation in projects such as latrine construction but were forbidden due to their location being deemed a transit site.

24. In some other cases the returnees final destinations are currently inaccessible due to rains and landmines, which will means there needs to be an intermediate plan to support these returnees until they can proceed home [26] . In general the government need to start to work out the allocation of land and the plan for the movement of returnees now, so when the dry season comes the final stage of resettlement won’t be delayed any further. Donors should support the Government in this task.

25. Whilst some new agencies have come in to the area of Northern Bahr el Ghazal to work on the issue of returnees, most are over-stretched in the areas of highest return compared to the needs of the communities. Authorities and agencies are continuing to scale-up assistance but there are still some areas where very few NGOs are working, especially on longer term interventions such as water and sanitation (Aweil Centre County and Aweil Town are two such examples). Thus these areas remain underserved. In the area of Apadta, which is the key receiving point for returnees in Aweil, it has no clinic and no school.

26. Tearfund has agreed to support the government’s resettlement strategy for returnees in Aweil, whilst also ensuring that the needs of the most vulnerable returnees are met. For Tearfund this approach involves establishing new permanent WASH facilities such as boreholes at the sites earmarked for returnees to settle in permanently (thus supporting their integration into host communities by meeting demand), maintaining WASH services in transit camps for returnees e.g. through repairing and constructing new household and institutional latrines, and working to address the WASH needs of the most vulnerable amongst both returnee and host community populations. The aim is to add additional resources and build local capacity to meet the needs of both host community and recently arrived returnees and thus mitigate potential conflict over scarce resource. It is particularly important that locations for additional water sources and latrines etc. are decided in collaboration with both returnees and host communities, to minimize resentment and tension between the groups.

27. During focus group discussions that Tearfund conducted with returnees in the transit sites around Aweil town, it was noted that their expectations in terms of water consumption per household per day far exceeded the levels used by local residents in these areas. Some returnees from Khartoum quoted that before returning to South Sudan, they were accustomed to using a 200lt barrel of water per day for the family’s household water and sanitation needs. The equivalent figure for family’s living in Aweil South, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, is 45 litres per household per day, highlighting the disparity between returnee expectations and the current standards of living for locals within Northern Bahr el Ghazal state [27] , and the inability for local water sources to cope with this level of demand which could potentially become a source of conflict with host communities.

28. There is a considerable gap in the County’s ability to manage its water sources and a need for capacity building so that WASH interventions will be sustainable in the long term. Many of the returnees have benefited from education and other opportunities in Sudan and it is possible that educated, skilled individuals who perhaps have worked previously on water committees or as hygiene promoters have returned to places such as Aweil Centre.

29. Tearfund wishes to reiterate that a degree of flexibility needs to be retained when running projects for returnees, to remain responsive to the areas of greatest humanitarian need and dependent on the changing situation. As the flow of returnees continues NGOs and donors need to maintain a state of readiness to support emergency WASH and health interventions in transit sites should the need arise. The returnees’ situation requires a higher level of planning, coordination, resources and creativity between concerned stakeholders than previous scenarios. There should be a focus on area-based recovery of rural areas (including security, provision of basic services etc), that includes the host and returnee populations without distinction and encourages people to move out of the towns and back to their areas of origin.

Humanitarian access in South Sudan

30. At present Tearfund is recognized as a humanitarian organization by the South Sudan Government and staff continue to be granted work permits to access the country. In general our access has not been limited by political or repressive security orders and full humanitarian access has been possible. The government is keen to restructure and reform the Sudan People’s Liberation Army ( SPLA ) . H owever , despite these efforts , soldiers sometimes lack resources (salaries, equipment, and supplies) and so resort to harassing communities, NGOs and the UN to secure supplies and commandeer transportation. The central SPLA command lacks control over the periphery to deal with such issues and its integration remains slow and poorly managed.

31. Humanitarian access to communities can be restricted due to long rainy seasons and poor infrastructure. Heavy rainfall and flooding is expected in many of the areas we work in, that lie in the western flood plain. There are prolonged periods during the rainy season where transport is seriously hampered and this can often frustrate humanitarian activities. Roads often become impassable for weeks, if not months on end, and landing strips become waterlogged preventing air freight from being distributed. However to mitigate this risk Tearfund prepositions supplies ahead of the rainy season to ensure that essential stocks are available and schedules project activities taking into account seasonal factors. Tearfund would encourage other NGOs and implementing agencies as well as government authorities to do likewise. That being said, the Government and donors should prioritise improving infrastructure to increase humanitarian access, and more importantly spur more widespread economic development.

32. International assistance can sometimes have unintentional effect of focusing on easily accessible areas to the exclusion of others. As donors want to see the quick utilisation of funding and for NGOs to deliver on their commitments made in proposals, those organisation s that are wiling to work in more remote areas get penalised, as the inherent risks often cause delays. Therefore the risk is high for NGOs targeting inaccessible areas, especially when dealing with international donors, even if the humanitarian need is very serious. Donors must appropriately target aid according to geography so as to promote equitable social and economic development.

Question 2: The provision of basic services, essential infrastructure and DFID's efforts to reduce extreme poverty and promote sustainable livelihoods;

Government Provision of Basic Services

33. At present NGOs in South Sudan provide 85% of basic services and there is a need for clear transitional planning and discussion as well as government capacity building , before basic service p rovision can be handed over to Government Ministries without there being a break in services . The Government of the Republic of South Sudan has stated its intention to meet the expectations of its people, including through the provision of security , law and order, basic services and the effective management of public resources. International partners will need to support the establishment of a viable governance system in South Sudan that is able to deliver on these objectives and make progress towards th e Millennium Development Goals .

34. There are a number of key issues linked to this, including the importance of developing and implementing an appropriate regulatory framework for continuation/facilitation of humanitarian and development assistance by and through international aid agencies. There is currently a lack of clarity regarding the bureaucratic requirements applicable to NGOs operating in South Sudan – including issues such as registration, taxes, work permit and visa requirements for international staff and social insurance for national staff – and there is some concern that the operating environment could become more restrictive. Such a shift could jeopardise the critical role played by NGOs in the provision of humanitarian and development assistance – and particularly the delivery of basic services – to the people of South Sudan. Such a framework should be informed by consultation with NGOs, and should clarify in particular: which government ministry is the primary interlocutor for NGOs; NGO registration requirements; immigration requirements for international staff and employment requirements for national staff; and applicable tax exemptions [28] .

35. Much international attention is currently focused on building the capacity of the Government at the central level, to handle certain priority core state functions, and this is undoubtedly important. However, there are also great dangers in approaches which focus on a country’s capital city. It must be recognized that capacity building at state, county and payam level is also important – and these lower levels have received far less attention and support so far than the central level. As responsibility for provision of basic services has been delegated to county level, it is vital that this level of government is given long term sufficient support and capacity building to deliver such services. Donors should be willing to fund projects with capacity building elements over a longer period of time than they currently do. At present government staff in rural areas are often of low capacity or absent altogether and it is difficult to find suitable Sudanese staff for rural areas. There are people on ministry payrolls who do not report for service and/or have left their positions but due to lack of follow up still receive pay (known as ‘ghost workers’). Despite the Government making a concerted effort to reconcile payroll at different levels of administration, this is still a significant problem.

36. In any provision of basic services undertaken by the government they need to ensure equitable distribution of development. This also counts for international assistance, in that it should be equitable targeted. Assistance should specifically be given to support the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to develop a system for a more equitable and transparent distribution of wealth between and within the states. The Government need to increase their budget allocation to the social sectors, ensuring that donor support for social protection does not result in a reduction of support for essential services, and provide greater support for programs targeting vulnerable groups [29] .

Tearfund Health projects

37. Tearfund currently runs 14 primary health care units (PHCU) and 2 primary health care centres (PHCC) in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Northern Bahr el Ghazal . Our current activities cover curative services and maternal care through primary health care facilities, preventive health services including expanded programme of immunisation, health promotion, infrastructure and equipment, medical supplies, integrated nutrition programming, specific Voluntary C ounselling and T esting (VCT) and Prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services, human resources for health, capacity building and training and monitoring and evaluation. Tearfund also runs a School for Community Midwives which is based in Kodok, Upper Nile in order to provide increased human resources for health.

38. Tearfund plans to exit from the health sector within the next 18 months . After working closely with the MoH to build their capacity we will hand over to another NGO who will continue this before they hand over completely to the Government . The MoH is one of the strongest Ministries at a central Juba level and even at State level in m ost States. They recognise their weaknesses in terms of budgets and resourcing and work closely with NGOs to provide basic health services. There are now clear policy and guideline documents and while these will need review ing in time they are a good foundation for establishing a health sector in the country. Tearfund is help ing the government in rolling these policies down to the PHCU level and support ing their implementation. The biggest barrier to the MoH running the clinics is payroll .

39. The MoH has certain advantages and opportunities for strengthening ma nagement and restoring services. The latest set of government guidelines is the ‘ Health Sector Development Plan for South Sudan 2011-15’ and this, building on cumulative policies and strategies since 1997 , coupled with more effective partnership among the health authorities and international partners, provide s a strong foundation upon which a modern sector-wide health care delivery system can be developed, though this is still some years away in terms of support to the current system.

40. There have been notable successes in slowly handing over this basic service provision to the government. In the period up until 2007 Tearfund was fully responsible for supplying all the drugs and supplies that are used at the health facilities. By late 2007 MoH began sending medicines and now the medical kits are received from them reasonably frequently though there are often delays. Through County Health Departments (CHDs), where they are operational, monitoring and evaluation of facilities takes place and weekly monitoring reports and statistics are sent to MoH from each site. There has been an increased number of MoH guidelines (e.g. for management of malnutrition) and the number of standardised tools available e.g. clinic registers, project indicators, clinic assessment checklists has also increased. There has also been better UN and NGO coordination with the MoH and a health surveillance system is being set up and rolled out (using ‘District Health Information System’, a health surveillance software).

41. Tearfund encounters various challenges in working in heath. Infrastructure is poor in many places and some health structures can easily collapse. There is also a lack of shaded waiting areas in facilities. Resources need to be found to ensure that handover of clinics is done when they are in a good condition i.e. permanent structures with adequate water and sanitation provision and fenced compound areas as well as incinerators. The MoH is not able to absorb health staff onto their pay roll as quickly as expected. However NGOs should continue their commitment to ultimately handing over to the MoH, through resources, training and skill development of the County Health Department and donors should support longer term programmes to achieve this.

42. Other challenges include local level authorities not always being completely committed to health promotion activities, limited transport which affects proper implementation and coverage, expectations of incentives to mobilize communities for health promotion and large areas of operation (which limits coverage and makes supervision of Community Health Extension (CHE) Workers difficult, especially during the rains).

Civil society provision of basic services

43. As well as working operationally in South Sudan Tearfund also supports seven partners, some faith based organisations (FBOs) and some church denominations, each undertaking a variety of development projects. Several of these partners work on various aspects of basic service provision (school construction, HIV, water and sanitation, health work etc). Tearfund supports a process called church and community mobilisation which involves mobilising a local church to act as a facilitator in mobilising the whole community to address their own needs. Once the local church is mobilised, it becomes a facilitator rather than the provider and seeks to envision and empower community members to identify and respond to their own needs, using the resources they have, rather than meeting those needs for them. The local church therefore works with rather than for the community. The result of such mobilisation is that communities write action plans, sometimes for 15-20 years, and undertake a variety of projects including building bridges, installing latrines, protecting wells, running schools, nurseries and health centres and renovating houses. They also take on initiatives of hiring of health staff and teachers (paying wages and supplying accommodation and food) and procurement of medical supplies. The communities have established saving and farming groups and are expanding their agriculture.

44. The role of such groups in basic service provision should not be underestimated in developing South Sudan’s infrastructure, the capacity of its people and getting communities to break free of dependence and work together. Efforts should be made to understand such work, and support it, especially in the area of capacity building, keeping in mind at the same time that FBOs are not there to provide basic services instead of the government, but can be a good interim service provider whilst the governments own capacity is built, its responsibility in this area is acknowledged, and the country transitions out of poverty.

Infrastructure

45. Throughout South Sudan infrastructure coverage is poor and this makes access to communities challenging, especially during the rainy season when the ground becomes too muddy to allow access by vehicle. Access issues and lack of resources and transport in local Government and communities make monitoring and Government support challenging. In Tearfunds area of operation in Northern Bahr el Ghazal one of the reasons for the lack of interventions in Aweil Centre County by other NGOs is poor access during rainy season. Roads in the county are poor to non-existent, and the county headquarters in Arroyo is cut off for months as it is situated on the other side of a river without a bridge. This often means project activities are focused on the areas around Aweil town and only in the more rural regions of the county during the dry season. However road improvements are currently underway on the road to Arroyo. The Government, supported by donors, needs to make adequate investments in general infrastructure such as roads, communications and rehabilitation of airstrips, especially in remote areas. This will also enable them as the authorities, as well as UN peacekeeping operations, to reach unstable locations quickly.

DFID efforts to reduce poverty

46. Tearfund welcomes the recently published DFID Operational Plan for South Sudan 2011-15, in particular the emphasis on governance, health and ongoing humanitarian work. However one of the areas Tearfund has experience in, from a South Sudan perspective, is water and sanitation and this is therefore what we have chosen to focus our attention on below, in regard to DFID’s efforts to reduce poverty.

47. Tearfund is currently undertaking a five year programme entitled Capacity Building to Improve Humanitarian Action in the WASH Sector, which is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (2008-2012). One of the countries it covers is South Sudan and the goal is sustainable improvements in the health and well-being of communities in a complex political and disaster-affected environment. Its five outputs are:

a) Increased quality of WASH service delivery (good practice, gender, conflict and HIV sensitive, accountable to beneficiaries, and environmentally sustainable)

b) Capacity building intervention implemented to increase the quality of public health and environment (PHE) service delivery of local Government and civil society health institutions.

c) Low cost, sustainable, innovative and contextualised alternatives for WASH researched and piloted and implemented.

d) Improved policy environment and service provision at local and national levels.

e) Lessons learnt, captured, and disseminated to local and international NGOs and donors on good practice service delivery specific to water & sanitation interventions

48. The programme in South Sudan started with the lowest baseline of all the countries but due to a strong focus on capacity building of local government and village level water committees, hygiene/sanitation promotion and water safety planning, there has been a steady improvement against indicators. The project promotes ‘Demand-Led’ and ‘Livelihoods’ approaches, which seek to stimulate demand for appropriate water and sanitation interventions, and create livelihoods opportunities to meet the demand. Where new appropriate technologies and approaches have been piloted in the field, Tearfund have seen a high level of uptake by the communities. Particularly good progress has been made with Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), biosand filters, rainwater harvesting, Water Safety Plans (WSP), siphon filters, and locally produced hand washing systems. Challenges have included a wide dispersion of the population, low levels of existing water related infrastructure and increasing numbers of returnees.

49. The government have recognised and acknowledged the work being carried out by this project, as it accesses regions where they have little physical presence. Equally in many areas Tearfund is the only ‘resident NGO’ providing water and sanitation. This project has had many achievements and below are several notable highlights within our target communities:

o A reduction of round trip travel times to water points to less than 30 mins and an increase in water consumption to 15 litres per day for each household.

o New boreholes and pit latrines constructed in communities are still functioning after three years.

o Communities, trained in health and hygiene, have established water committees to maintain their water sources. They have reported a reduction in WASH related illnesses and a rise in enrolment of girls in schools, as a result of construction of school latrines. Moreover there are improvements in existing household sanitary facilities like latrines and rubbish pits with cleaning of areas around water sources being conducted regularly.

o More reliable and nearby water sources for homes, health clinics, schools and community spaces due to development of innovative rain water harvesting systems.

o Policy change is being put into practise as communities are constructing further water and sanitation facilities in accordance with national standards.

50. Tearfund’s DFID WASH programme in South Sudan has now concluded and DFID have made it clear, as confirmed in their Operational Plan, that they do not intend WASH to be a big focus for them in next few years. Whilst this is disappointing, we would urge DFID to play a part in championing investment in WASH, by ensuring that the rest of the donor community in South Sudan overall continues to cover this area adequately. This is in light of the ongoing pressing needs that still exist in South Sudan and the clear value for money that such investment in WASH demonstrates. For example there are reports that the Basic Services Fund will not continue to fund WASH activities after December 2011 and Tearfund is concerned that it is not clear who will pick up this work after that. DFID should share past learning it has acquired through investment in WASH and encourage others to do likewise.

Question 5: The role of the UN development and humanitarian organisations, the World Bank, other bilateral donors and the extent of leadership and coordination between them;

51. Much international assistance provided to South Sudan over the past six years has been characterised by an absence of realism, including: an absence of accurate assessments; a lack of understanding of the situation on the ground (especially the growing disparities between Juba and the rest of the south); unrealistic assumptions by international actors; and high expectations from local communities and authorities. Associated with this, flaws in the design of the post-CPA aid architecture for South Sudan have resulted in long delays in implementing urgently needed projects. There is growing frustration amongst communities at the lack of improvement in their living conditions since the CPA was signed. It is important to learn the lessons from past experience and to maintain a focus on real, on-the-ground results, recognizing that the expectations of local communities are most likely even higher post-succession than they were post-CPA.

52. Many of the current funding mechanisms are coming to an end and new ones are in the early stages of development, including a DFID-led ‘Health Pooled fund’ (HPF), a World Bank ‘South Sudan Transitional Trust Fund’ (SSTTF) and an International Organisation for Migration (IOM) ‘Rapid Response’ Fund. It is important to note that aid architecture has to be appropriate to the environment and discussions in Juba can quickly become utopian and idealistic. In a context which is complex, like South Sudan, an efficient and effective response requires a range of funding mechanisms. This should include providing bilateral funds directly to implementing agencies as it is an approach proven to result in timely and effective responses. [1] Funding mechanisms need to have realistic starting points and baselines driven by engagement with communities and these should set the priorities for funding. The HAP (Humanitarian Accountability Partnership) 2010 report on engagement has interesting perspectives ab out what communities in South Sudan think of NGOs and donors. It also needs to be recognized that NGOs and the Government might not be able to deliver everything the communities need/want at once and those needs will have to be prioritised. Government budgeting of their own resources also needs to play a part in the development of the aid architecture. Finally whilst new mechanisms are being designed donors must make sure there is a continued flow of funds for basic services.

UN development and humanitarian organisations

53. UN development and humanitarian organisations have been responsible for administering a range of funding mechanisms in South Sudan, in an effort to bring about more timely, predictable finance. The Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) and the Sudan Recovery Fund (SRF) are two cases in point, both pooled funds run by UNDP. The UN has administered pooled funding citing benefits such as reducing administration costs, increasing coordination and making it easier to share learning. Donors have therefore supported and contributed to such funds seeing this as a way of meeting commitments to Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) principles for engagement in fragile states, the Principles and Good Humanitarian Donorship initiative and other statements of good practise. However in reality UN bureaucracy within such mechanisms has ended up reducing efficiency and increasing operating costs for NGOs as there have been considerable delays encountered in trying to access funds as well as little money to cover overheads, short timeframes to implement and a lack of general engagement [2] .

54. The Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) is one such fund that been hampered by disbursement delays. Although grants run on a January to December basis, NGOs usually get given the funds around April/May which leaves little time for programmatic activities (no longer than seven months) and means they can’t synchronise properly with the various seasons. Some NGOs do resort to pre-financing activities to cover the gap before funding arrives but for those who are smaller this isn’t possible and they have to wait. The UN’s own evaluation of CHF (by OCHA) confirms the above issues.

55. When designing a new CHF for South Sudan it is crucial that lessons are learnt from the previous period, especially in relation to the issues mentioned above; delays in funding, short windows to implement and NGOs being unable to synchronise with the various seasons. Suggestions for how this could be achieved could include extending the timeframe of CHF projects from 1-2 years and aligning the funding schedule to match the seasons. If donors are able to commit multi-year funding and commit funds before the start of the project year this will equally result in less delays and uncertainty.

World Bank

56. The main pooled fund in South Sudan is the Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF), administered by the World Bank and mandated by the CPA. Although originally envisaged to enable a quick expansion of basic services it ended up taking a longer term focus on development and its aim, according to the World Bank website, is a focus ‘on rebuilding the southern states of Sudan and providing capacity-building support to the newly formed Government of South Sudan" [3] .Although one of the largest funds in South Sudan, it is also cited as ‘the slowest and most bureaucratic’ according to the recent NGO forum report. The report continues saying:

"At the end of 2009, four years after the establishment of the fund, donor contributions amounted to $526m. Of this, just $212.5 had been disbursed to partners and $190m actually spent. Performance in the health sector was particularly poor. The MDTF-funded multi-agency program for health sector development was supposed to deliver the governments Basic Package of Health Services to 37 counties across all states in South Sudan. Four years in, just three out of ten lead agent contracts were active and not a single subcontract had been signed nor dollar disbursed." [4]

57. The World Bank, as administrator of the fund, has come in for some criticism over the years for establishing the fund but then failing to manage expectations that it would quickly deliver (a combination of start-up, structural, staffing and management issues). Contributing donors to the fund have not proactively held it to account in terms of progress or supporting it to establish more effective delivery mechanisms. Although there have been some credited successes such as better donor coherence and coordination, reduced transition costs for donors, Government increased capacity at central level and also ownership of programmes, various critiques point out that these successes are meeting donor objectives rather than producing good results on the ground [5] . NGOs and civil society have not been sufficiently involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of MDTF programmes.

58. One area of concern is for Tearfund is the World Bank’s role in the new health funding mechanism that is being proposed to start in 2012. Several donors (USAID, DFID, World Bank) will take responsibility for funding health services in a specific number of states, instead of by NGO. The World Bank will be responsible for Jonglei and Upper Nile and in recent discussions it has emerged of their intention to adopt an approach of Performance Based Financing and charge beneficiaries for health care. Performance based financing will move to an output based system which means the local people would be responsible for the health clinic budgets, drug supplies, logistics etc. They would need to prove their results by ‘outputs’ e.g. number of children immunised, number of latrines built etc. In response to the measured outputs, they would then in turn be rewarded with cash payments. This presumes there is the local capacity to undertake such things and also a certain level of infrastructure, which South Sudan simply doesn’t have in many places. NGOs would take on the role of purchasers and there would be 4-5 per state which means one NGO would be expected to cover approximately 200,000 people. However the information about what this role would involve is still being decided. In addition, charging for health care goes against the Ministry of Health sector development plan and would deter many from accessing health centres and getting the vital services they need. We would urge DFID to take a lead role in these ongoing discussions around this health funding mechanism in order to bring about an amendment of this World Bank proposal but also to bring more clarity to the table in regard to what funding will be able to bridge the gap between the current donor system and the new system.

Other bilateral donors

59. Some donors fund NGO programmes bilaterally, although these are relatively few. A case in point for Tearfund would be our DFID WASH programmes and our CIDA bilateral funding. But on the whole as NGOs were not able to access MDTF funds readily they have more resorted to short-term humanitarian funding (from donors such as United States Agency for International Development, ECHO, CHF). Funds such as Basic Services Fund (BSF) have also made an important contribution to supporting service delivery through NGOs. Originally created by DFID, in late 2008 it was expanded into a new multi-donor fund with additional contributions from Norway, Canada and the Netherlands. It has been credited with working exceptionally well, being professional, functional and well managed. The proposed extension of the Basic Services Fund is welcome however the details of the extension must rapidly be finalised so as to ensure appropriate continuity of service delivery [6] .

60. Tearfund wishes to commend the UK approach of working in South Sudan, in having a joined up Unit comprised of the Foreign Office and DFID. The Sudan Unit has engaged well with NGOs, both at a UK and Juba level, always being open and willing to meet and discuss. We have equally been pleased with the high level of ministerial engagement on South Sudan. In recognising the success of this approach we would suggest that this be used as a template for DFID’s engagement in other fragile states in the future.

The extent of leadership and coordination between donors

61. Whatever new funding mechanisms are created it is clear they will require better donor coordination on a number of fronts: between donors who work in different sectors and between those working in humanitarian relief and development, including the humanitarian and development offices of the same donor. In order to enable a smoother transition of projects donors should participate in the clusters and better coordinate discussions regarding gaps in coverage and where their responsibilities begin and end. [7]

October 2011


[1] Statistics taken from South Sudan MDG profile, Basic Services Fund website http://www.bsf-south-sudan.org/node/489

[2] Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Sudan profile - http://www.internal-displacement.org/countries/sudan

[3] Economist article “ Their day in the sun : South Sudanese are gaining independence on July 9th but have yet to build a fully functioning state “, July 2011, http://www.economist.com/node/18929477

[4] OCHA South Sudan Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 19-25 th August 2011

[5] OCHA South Sudan Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 2-8 th September 2011

[6] IOM, State Report Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Village Assessment & Returnee Monitoring, 2009.

[7] IOM Survey, March 2010

[8] KAP Survey on Water, Sanitation, Hygiene & Nutrition in 7 States of sourthern Sudan , UNICEF, April 2010

[9] Cumulative morbidity records January 2010 – November 2010 (Aweil Centre Hospital)

[10] A Poverty Profile for the Southern States of Sudan’ World Bank, March 2011, page 6

[11] OCHA South Sudan Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 25 th August to 1 st September 2011

[12] South Sudan , Food Security Outlook Update, USAID, Aug 2011

[13] “Getting it Right from the start: Priorities for Action in the New Republic of South Sudan”, Joint NGO report, Sept 2011, page 7

[14] “ Ibid p8

[15] Health data in civil conflicts: South Sudan under scrutiny, Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) , Sept 2011, page 8

[16] OCHA South Sudan Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 6 th October 2011

[17] OCHA Sudan Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 1-7th July 2011:150 diarrhoea cases reported by 4 July and a child died from diarrhoea on 3 July in Kosti.

[18] OCHA Sudan Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin 30 th September – 6 th October

[19] OCHA Sudan Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin 23-29 th September 2011

[20] OCHA map, “ Cumulative No. of Returnees, by Type, Arriving 30 Oct. 2010 - 20 Sept. 2011

[21] IOM, State Report Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Village Assessment & Returnee Monitoring, 2009.

[22] Known fully as Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, www.sphereproject.org

[23] OCHA South Sudan Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 19-25 th August 2011

[24] Ibid

[25] Ibid

[26] Ibid

[27] Tearfund, Nutritional Survey in Aweil South, November 2010 (110 households surveyed across 30 villages)

[28] “Getting it Right from the start: Priorities for Action in the New Republic of South Sudan”, Joint NGO report, Sept 2011, page 26 &27

[29] “Getting it Right from the start: Priorities for Action in the New Republic of South Sudan”, Joint NGO report, Sept 2011, page 15 , 19

[1] “Getting it Right from the start: Priorities for Action in the New Republic of South Sudan”, Joint NGO report, Sept 2011, page 29

[2] “Getting it Right from the start: Priorities for Action in the New Republic of South Sudan”, Joint NGO report, Sept 2011, page 29

[3] World Bank website, MDTF overview

[4] “Getting it Right from the start: Priorities for Action in the New Republic of South Sudan”, Joint NGO report, Sept 2011, p 28

[5] Funding mechanisms in Southern Sudan : NGO perspectives, Wendy Fenton and Melissa Phillips, Humanitarian Exchange Magazine, March 2009

[6] “Getting it Right from the start: Priorities for Action in the New Republic of South Sudan”, Joint NGO report, Sept 2011, p27

[7] Getting it Right from the start: Priorities for Action in the New Republic of South Sudan”, Joint NGO report, Sept 2011, P36

Prepared 3rd November 2011