The work of SOS Sahel South Sudan is focused around building peace and prosperity through sustained engagement at the community level. They work closely with both farmers and pastoralists, and related stakeholders, to reduce resource-based conflict through better management of natural resources, and strengthening livelihoods and civil society.
SOS Sahel South Sudan’s mission is to strengthen people’s livelihoods in order to decrease poverty and reduce conflict through the use of natural resources and realisation of people’s potential and participation.
SOS Sahel South Sudan’s work is based on local context analysis but their broad programme strategy includes:
- Local conflict mitigation (for example, over livestock routes and shared water points) through bringing together traditional councils, local government, civil society organisations (particularly involving women and young people), and expert facilitators to work on mediation, dialogue, exchange visits, conferences and other approaches.
- Organisational capacity building for grassroots organisations that can potentially influence conflict over natural resources (for example, traditional farmers and pastoralists’ unions).
- Developing livelihood options as peace dividends for local communities.
- Working cooperatively with local government to strengthen dialogue between them and others, and to build local and state capacities in natural resource management and conflict prevention.
SOS Sahel South Sudan has now completed four conflict management trainings for key community stakeholders in Terekeka and Juba West Counties, Central Equatoria State. Having successfully secured further funding they will be continuing these trainings and extending them to a wider range of people. These initial trainings, as well as providing important skills to the stakeholders involved, also enabled SOS Sahel South Sudan to gather input for future activities, and we have designed these accordingly in coordination with local communities and governments.
Reducing the risk of conflict in Terekeka County
SOS Sahel South Sudan’s work in Terekeka County to date has focused on Nyori, Tombek and Muni payams. Here they work with key individuals from across the payams including chiefs, community police officers, farmers, women, youth and cattle camp heads.
The organisation conducted the first two-day training workshop in July in 2013, with the support of an expert consultant, and the South Sudan Law Society (another national NGO). 23 participants were introduced to the key laws and policies governing natural resources and trained on tools for analysing and managing conflict. This training was well received by the participants and they requested that further training also be provided. In the coming months SOS Sahel South Sudan will provide further conflict management training to these communities in order to help them become more resilient to the challenges that they are facing.
As a result of feedback from workshops like the one described it became apparent that many communities, and indeed often those in local government, were not clear on the laws and policies in place governing natural resources, and therefore what their own rights were in this regard. SOS Sahel South Sudan raised money and has commissioned a study to look at the laws and policies that exist and to reflect on where the gaps are. This research is being finalised and will then be widely shared with all stakeholders and potential follow-up activities will be identified.