Humanitarian Response

The Politics of Information and Analysis in Famines and Extreme Emergencies: Synthesis of Findings from Six Case Studies

Year of Publication
2020
Document Publisher/Creator
Daniel Maxwell and Peter Hailey
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://fic.tufts.edu/wp-content/uploads/PIA-Synthesis-Report_May-13.pdf
Summary
The ability to predict and analyze famine has improved sharply in the past fifteen years. However, the political influences on data collection and analysis in famine and extreme food security emergencies continue to limit evidence-based prevention and response. In many emergencies, good quality data are not readily available, which makes it easy to undermine analysis processes and distort findings. In some cases, these processes are even shut down for political reasons. Sometimes governments or armed groups are the party influencing results for political ends. But it can also be agencies, donors, and even local leaders.

This study documents those political influences, synthesizing findings from six different country case studies (five of which have been considered at risk of famine in recent years) including in South Sudan, noting separate influences on data collection and on analysis processes and the way these play out. Famine analysis will never be free of political influences, but this study recommends good practice for better managing political influences.
Date of Publication
11/09/2020

Promoting humanitarian principles: the southern Sudan experience

Year of Publication
1997
Document Publisher/Creator
Iain Levine
Institution/organisation
Overseas Development Institute
NGO associated?
Source URL
http://www.oneworld.org/odi/rrn/index.html
Summary
Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) seeks to integrate humanitarian principles and the protection of civilians
within its mandate and operations. This paper details the ways in which these laws and principles were promoted through negotiation, advocacy, dissemination and training and the monitoring and follow-up of violations and abuses. It seeks to distil specific lessons from working with armed opposition movements, as distinct from sovereign governments, in particular the concern of humanitarian agencies that they may provide or be seen to provide legitimacy to those who mistreat their populations.

Aid agencies working in south Sudan have sought to place the protection of civilians and the integrity of humanitarian assistance at the centre of their mandate. This approach sees complex emergencies as social and political phenomena, as much crises of human rights as of humanitarian need. In such situations, the victims of conflict require not only material assistance but also protection of their safety, dignity and basic human rights. A fundamental assumption of the paper is that, as pointed out by the detailed Joint Evaluation of Emergency Assistance to Rwanda (1996), lack of coherent political and policy leadership amongst aid agencies has led to many of their programmes failing those whom they seek to help.

Protection of civilians is achieved through the application of international law and principles such as the primacy of the humanitarian imperative, neutrality, impartiality, accountability, transparency and the protection of victims. The challenge lies not simply with the definition of the legal and ethical standards but in their implementation and enforcement.

The OLS experience is used to highlight broader dilemmas confronting the international humanitarian community. These include the lack of coherent political leadership in most humanitarian programmes,

sovereignty issues, the trade-offs between protection and assistance, the role of coordination in defining and protecting mandates, and the conditions under which the withdrawal of assistance might be considered morally acceptable.

Underpinning this paper is the assertion that

humanitarian principles and standards should lie at the centre of such programmes. While recognising that political authorities are ultimately responsible for protecting civilians and the integrity of humanitarian assistance, implementing agencies and those who fund them also need to address these issues more effectively.

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Scenarios for South Sudan in 2020

Year of Publication
2016
Document Publisher/Creator
Dr. Jaïr van der Lijn
Institution/organisation
PAX
NGO associated?
Summary
Although a peace agreement that includes important steps to build a stable andpeaceful South Sudan was signed in 2015, the future of the country remains highlyuncertain. Violent confrontations and human rights abuses continue and frequentlyit appears that parties have more faith in victory after a renewed offensive, than inpeace. Yet, although implementation of the peace agreement is lagging, talks progress, albeitpainfully slowly and with few results. In this environment, future scenarios are useful as theygather thoughts on possible long-term developments, stimulate open debate and may assist inpolicy planning.

The scenarios described in this report are intended to give a picture of how South Sudan mightlook in 2020, determined by three key uncertainties:

1 Will life in South Sudan be dominated by war and armed political conflict or willthere be predominantly peace – or at least the absence of large-scale armedpolitical violence?

2 Will South Sudan make progress towards good governance or will the countryface a further downturn towards bad governance?

3 Will governance in South Sudan be further decentralised (by design or violently)or will there be no further decentralisation and central governance is perhaps strengthened even further?

The five scenarios presented in this report are:

1 United in diversity: The 2015 peace agreement holds and the peace processleads to a further decentralised federal system and better guarantees for goodgovernance. The organisation of free and fair elections is one of the first stepsin a long and difficult process towards sustainable peace.

2 Divided leadership: After the opposition rejects the election results, its forcesoccupy part of the country, effectively splitting the country in two. The war stabilisesalong a frontline and consequently some of the improvements that had beenmade in good governance and development are maintained.

3 Fragmentation: After the peace agreement breaks down, slowly the governmentcollapses and opposition groups fragment. South Sudan lacks any form of nationalgovernance system. Politics is local and about the highest price: life and security.

4 21 Kingdoms: After a bloody victory of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movementin Opposition (SPLM-IO), South Sudan is divided into 21 states based on ethnicpower divisions. Some states do reasonably well, while others face ethnic conflictsand autocracy.

5 Dictatorship: With the SPLM-IO reduced to a low-level insurgency, the SudanPeople’s Liberation Movement in Government (SPLM-IG) embraces anyonewilling to return back to the party. The new 28 states do not lead to furtherdecentralisation as the SPLM-IG leadership reduces the political space for anyremaining opposition and dissent.

The first main message from the scenarios is that there is hope. If the parties stick to the 2015peace agreement and implement, consolidate and deepen the peace process, slowly South Sudanmay be on the road towards a positive future: the United in diversity scenario.

The second main message is that, if this is not the case, the 2015 peace agreement does nothold and the peace process is not opened-up, the future is far less hopeful. Broadly speaking,the scenarios show that the alternatives to the scenario United in diversity, as portrayed in thefour other scenarios, entail horrible devastation and/or repression.
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Access to Basic Needs and Services in South Sudan: Scenarios

Year of Publication
2020
Document Publisher/Creator
ACAPS
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://www.csrf-southsudan.org/repository/access-to-basic-needs-and-services-in-south-sudan-scenarios/
Summary
South Sudan has witnessed intermittent civil war and widespread communal and localised violence since gaining independence in 2011. 7.5 million people, 64% of the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Taking into account a range of variables that affect South Sudanese access to basic needs and services, these scenarios consider developments that could have humanitarian consequences and impact on access to basic needs within South Sudan over the coming six to twelve months.
Date of Publication
Tue, 01/09/2020

Violence against adolescent girls: Trends and lessons for East Africa

Year of Publication
2020
Document Publisher/Creator
CARE AND ET AL
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://www.csrf-southsudan.org/repository/violence-against-adolescent-girls-trends-and-lessons-for-east-africa/
Summary
Adolescence is a crucial and defining stage in a girl’s life.However, girls around the world too often face unique risksof gender discrimination and gender-based violence (GBV),including sexual violence, human trafficking, forced marriage and sexual exploitation and abuse. This is particularly the case in humanitarian settings, where girls’ already-limited access to vital services and family and peer support networks
are disrupted by crises and displacement. Despite this, humanitarian programmes and policies do not adequately
address adolescent girls’ needs. Caught between childhood and adulthood, these girls are often not able or willing to access services designed for adult women or young girls.
Adolescent girls face intersecting risks of violence due to their relative lack of power because of both their gender, and their status as children or young people in a world dominated by men. GBV against adolescent girls is rooted in systemic gender inequality, which underpins violence and leads to girls experiencing violence and harmful social norms and practices (like child, early, and forced marriage) at higher rates than their
male counterparts. Harmful social norms can also compound girls’ experience of violence, as some girls are considered “defiled” or “ruined” after rape.
This brief highlights research that examines the unique experience of adolescent girls by specifically exploring the types of gender-based violence and the drivers of this violence affecting this group within the context of South Sudan, where women and girls experience high levels of gender inequality and subordination. Key findings from this mixed-methods research can inform policymakers, UN agencies and donors as they identify and support programs that will effectively prevent and respond to violence against adolescent girls in conflict and
humanitarian settings.
Date of Publication
04/09/2020

Localising humanitarian aid during armed conflict: Learning from the histories and creativity of South Sudanese NGOs

Year of Publication
2020
Document Publisher/Creator
Leben Moro, Naomi Pendle and Et al
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://www.southsudanpeaceportal.com/repository/localising-humanitarian-aid-during-armed-conflict-learning-from-the-histories-and-creativity-of-south-sudanese-ngos/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=localising-humanitarian-aid-during-armed-confl
Summary
In contexts of armed conflict, international humanitarian organisations increasingly rely on local and national actors to deliver aid. South Sudan is no exception: while international organisations have worked with and through South Sudanese organisations for decades, the number of local and national NGOs involved in the South Sudanese humanitarian response has increased substantially since the outbreak of widespread armed conflict in 2013. The number of South Sudanese NGOs registered as members of the South Sudan NGO Forum has also grown, from 92 in 2012 to 263 in 2019. The proliferation of South Sudanese NGOs and their increasingly central role in the humanitarian response has been driven, in part, by the significant access constraints and risks associated with operating in South Sudan. International actors increasingly depend on South Sudanese NGOs to reach conflict-affected communities. These shifts are also taking place in the context of global commitments to ‘localise’ humanitarian response, with humanitarian organisations and donor governments committing to shift power and resources closer to affected populations.
South Sudan provides an opportunity for us to learn about the realities of implementing these localisation commitments in the context of protracted, complex crises, including armed conflicts. While there is a desire among many international organisations to localise humanitarian response, there are also concerns that the national NGO sector can be more easily captured by political interests that contradict humanitarian principles, and that humanitarian funds can be diverted to resource violent political economies. In South Sudan, violent conflict has been consistently driven by political structures in which claims on power can be made through violence and loyalties can be bought with money. This raises questions over how national organisations (and humanitarian assistance more broadly) play into this marketplace of money and power.
This report moves beyond abstract assumptions and global-level debates to understand the reality of the struggles and strategies of local and national organisations during complex emergencies. We focus on the histories, politico-economic dynamics and everyday realities of South Sudanese NGOs during South Sudan’s armed conflicts and intermittent periods of peace over the last four decades. We draw on consultations with over 200 people in six sites across South Sudan, including urban and rural areas, and sites controlled by rebel forces as well as sites controlled by the government. We consider South Sudanese NGOs’ institutional development and funding sources, as well as the backgrounds and motivations of their founders and staff. The report focuses primarily on the perspectives and experiences of those working for local and national NGOs, as well as local communities, authorities and former staff, thus bringing these local perspectives to the global debate on localisation.
By starting from the perspective of South Sudan and drawing on detailed ethnographic and historical research in sites across South Sudan, this report is able to make a rare, locally informed contribution to these global debates. This allows us to see the everyday efforts and motivations of South Sudanese NGOs, as well as noticing the structural issues within the aid sector which elevate the risks they face and, over time, reproduce a lack of trust in South Sudanese NGOs.
Date of Publication
07/09/2020

The Secondary Impacts of COVID-19 on Women and Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa

Year of Publication
2020
Document Publisher/Creator
Tal Rafaeli and Geraldine Hutchinson
Institution/organisation
K4D (Knowledge, Evidence and Learning for Development)
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://opendocs.ids.ac.uk/opendocs/handle/20.500.12413/15408
Summary
This rapid review focuses on identifying evidence on the secondary impacts of COVID-19 on women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It aims to enable a greater understanding of the unique circumstances of women and girls in the region, which could assist with the provision of effective support throughout the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath. Guided by available evidence, the review explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls in SSA across various issues. These include some of the following – girls’ education, social protection, unintended pregnancies, access to health services, poverty, livelihood, land rights, women’s and girls’ informal employment, food security and nutrition, female health workforce, and access to WASH. The review touches upon, but does not thoroughly investigates the following topics as they are considered in other reviews - Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH), girls’ and women’s rights, child marriage, harmful social norms, and women’s political participation, leadership and empowerment. Despite the limited data, the review found that based on emerging evidence and lessons from past health crises, there is strong evidence to suggest that women and girls in SSA will suffer from extreme and multifaceted negative secondary impact as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Some of which may include higher poverty rates, increase in unplanned pregnancies, a surge in school dropout rates and child labour of adolescent girls, loss of income and reduced financial empowerment, increased household work, reduced access to healthcare and WASH alongside increased maternal deaths, and greater food insecurity and malnutrition.
Date of Publication
08/09/2020

Access to Health for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in South Sudan

Year of Publication
2020
Document Publisher/Creator
United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and OHCHR
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://www.csrf-southsudan.org/repository/access-to-health-for-survivors-of-conflict-related-sexual-violence-in-south-sudan/
Summary
Survivors of conflict-related sexual violence continue to struggle to access adequate medical and mental health care, according to a new report issued by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the UN Human Rights Office.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear, if there was ever any doubt, just how important it is for everyone to have immediate and adequate access to health care,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. “For the survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, it goes beyond treating their physical injuries and psychological trauma. It is quite simply a crucial step in giving them a chance to rebuild their lives and the lives of their families.”

The report, titled “Access to Health for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in South Sudan,” takes an in-depth look at the adequacy of health care available in Unity and the Central and Western Equatorian regions, which account for 85 percent of conflict-related sexual violence cases documented between January 2018 and January 2020.

It found that funding for public health care in South Sudan has not been prioritized, with just 1.2 percent (USD 14 million) of the national budget allocated for this purpose. This has resulted in international organizations using donor funding to try to fill the gap. Despite the enormous financial investment, the medical response for survivors of sexual violence remains weak.
Date of Publication
09/09/2020

Cost-Effectiveness in Humanitarian Work: Preparedness, Pre-financing and Early Action

Year of Publication
2018
Document Publisher/Creator
Iffat Idris
Institution/organisation
K4D (Knowledge, Evidence and Learning for Development)
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://opendocs.ids.ac.uk/opendocs/handle/20.500.12413/14218
Summary
Rigorous evidence of the cost-effectiveness of investments in disaster preparedness is limited. However, overall the available data points to disaster preparedness leading to clear reductions in both humanitarian costs and losses due to crises (lost lives, assets, livelihoods). While there is general consensus on the importance of preparedness, significant challenges mean it still accounts for a very small proportion of humanitarian aid. There is a need for more research on the impact of disaster preparedness. This review details the evidence from a number of studies of disaster preparedness impact, focusing on cost (and time) effectiveness. The literature reviewed was a mixture of academic papers and development agency reports published in 2013-2018. Key findings include a study examining the economic case for investment in early response and resilience-building in disaster-prone regions of Kenya and Ethiopia concluded that early response was far more cost-effective than late humanitarian response (Fitzgibbon, 2013). Secondly, a cost-benefit analysis of emergency preparedness in relation to drought and flood hazards in Niger (Kellet & Peters, 2014) found that the benefits of investing in preparedness far outweighed the costs. Meanwhile, a 2015 study by the Boston Consulting Group found that all the emergency preparedness investments examined saved significant time and/or costs in the event of an emergency. A 2016 report (Venton, 2016) gives the findings of a Value for Money (VfM) assessment of DFID contingency funding that was provided early in the 2015/2016 Ethiopia drought crisis whereby timely procurement had helped DFID in saving 18%. A 2018 report (DEPP, 2018) gives the findings of a study of the return on investment (ROI) of DFID’s Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Programme (DEPP)’s capacity development investments in Ethiopia and the Philippines that yielded positive returns. Overall, this review found that there was evidence for cost-effectiveness of disaster preparedness, pre-financing and early action, but there remains considerable potential to increase savings. The literature points to the need for greater research into the impact of different disaster preparedness investments – as well as greater allocation of resources for preparedness.
Date of Publication
16/09/2020

When Peace is the Exception: Shifting the Donor Narrative in South Sudan

Year of Publication
2015
Document Publisher/Creator
Jort Hemmer & Nick Grinstead
Institution/organisation
Clingendael
NGO associated?
Source URL
http://www.clingendael.nl
Summary
The crisis in South Sudan calls for a critical reflection on past and forthcoming aidpractices in the country, and on the assumptions and ambitions that underpin them.

On the whole, donor engagement in South Sudan has been based on a flawedsituational framing, informing a dominant theory of change that disregarded key eliteinterests, misjudged the main conflict driver, promoted a culture of appeasement,and obscured symptoms of a deeply rooted crisis of governance. As this crisispushed itself to the fore in mid-December 2013, the old narrative of development andpartnership has become untenable. Donors should prepare and plan for working inan environment where armed conflict is cyclical and where periods of relative calmoffer limited options for longer-term development schemes or sustainable reform,narrowing the scope for constructive engagement and enhancing the risks involved.