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Mapping of Civil Society Organisations Engaged in Peacebuilding at National and State Levels in South Sudan.
Amanuel Mehreteab (PhD) Ghebremedhin Haile

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Executive Summary

This mapping study was commissioned by UNDP South Sudan to identify Civil Society
Organisations (CSOs) engaged in peacebuilding activities at national and subnational levels
in South Sudan. To conduct the mapping study, the team of consultants1 adopted a
methodology that involved both document review and field research. Thus primary and
secondary data were collected through key informant interviews (KIIs), focus group
discussions (FGDs) and a checklist.

The emergence of CSOs in South Sudan dates back to the war of independence. During this
period, the CSOs were mainly carrying out humanitarian activities because the context was
not conducive for activism such as advocacy and lobbying for policy changes, human rights,
rule of law, and accountability. After the signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)
in 2005, there was a dramatic increase in the number of CSOs operating in South Sudan.

Most of these CSOs were mainly engaged by international organisations in service delivery
and project implementation activities. Consequently, the crucial activism role of CSOs was
given less attention. Moreover, the continuous engagement of CSOs in public service
delivery and implementation of development projects undermined state legitimacy as it
prompted communities to increasingly rely on non-state actors for support.
CSOs in South Sudan are working in a challenging political and legal environment.

The 2014NGO Bill contains a number of restrictive provisions such as criminalisation of unregistered
voluntary or humanitarian work; interference in the internal affairs, autonomy of NGOs;
and lack of clarity on the grounds for the refusal or renewal of registration. The 2015
National Security Service Law, which gives the security services broad new powers further,
constrains the political space of the civil society in South Sudan. This law allows state
security agents to arrest and detain suspects, monitor communications, carry out searches,
and seize property2. Church leaders have expressed their concern about the “arrests (of
citizens) for no reason, security organs acting as if they are above the law, shrinking space
for citizens and civil society …”3.

CSO Profile

At present the civil society sector in South Sudan is extremely fluid embracing a broad range
of actors. The Ministry of Justice and Relief and Rehabilitation Commission did not furnish
the list of CSOs operating in South Sudan. As a result, the researchers populated a list of 699
CSOs engaged in different activities based on information obtained from UNDP, NGO
Forum, NPPR, and other umbrella organisations. From this list, 285 CSOs engaged in
peacebuilding were identified prior to the fieldwork. Of the 285 CSOs, the field researchers
were able to find only 67 CSOs in their respective states and the remaining were either
inactive or have wrong addresses. As a result, the field researchers had to spend the first
two days of the field work identifying CSOs engaged in peacebuilding in their respective
states. In the end, a total of 290 CSOs engaged in peacebuilding were identified and covered
by the mapping exercise. About 20 percent of them are national level CSOs operating in
more than one state while the remaining are state level CSOs4 which are scattered across all
the ten states.

The study revealed that 71 percent of the 290 CSOs were created in the period from 2004 to
2013, most likely stimulated by the significant increase in donor funds. Nearly all
peacebuilding CSOs (98%) are legally registered at national and state levels as per the
government requirements.

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