Mapping CSOs Engagment in Peace Building at National and State Levels in South Sudan
abstract
This mapping study is commissioned by UNDP to identify Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) offering peacebuilding services at national and state levels in South Sudan. To conduct the mapping study, the team of consultants 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.

In South Sudan, civil society engagement is a new undertaking and most CSOs involved in peacebuilding were created after the signing of the CPA in 2005. Prior to that, CSOs were operating in liberated areas mainly carrying out humanitarian activities because the situation was not right for activism (e.g. advocacy and lobbying for policy changes, human rights, rule of law, and accountability). After the signing of the CPA, a new breed of CSOs came to the scene and started to work more like contractors assuming service delivery or project implementation roles. The crucial activism role of CSOs was given less attention. Moreover, the project implementation part of CSOs has confused communities who started to look at the CSOs as service providers, undermining state legitimacy.

The CSOs in South Sudan are working under a challenging political and legal environment. Of particular relevance is the 2014 NGO Bill which contains a number of restrictive provisions such as mandatory registration of NGOs and requiring 80% of the staff of NGO to be South Sudan nationals. The 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 properties.