Created in 2011 from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, South Sudan is the world's youngest country with a wide range of challenges. Its government split apart in December 2013 leading to conflict that threatens to further destabilise the country.
WWS has provided an opportunity for the country programme to innovate around governance, and has successfully developed activities to promote accountability between citizens and the state. This involves strengthening civil society's voice and ability to engage effectively with power-holders at various levels. This approach promotes the idea of a 'social contract' between civil society and the state. Each actor has their own roles and responsibilities to fulfil; by engaging with each other, sharing views, experience, and expertise, they can work together to create a more
In Phase I, WWS deliberately took time to select partners who were appropriate for the programme, while ensuring others not selected were fully informed as to why they weren't chosen, the aim being to enable CSOs to cooperate on other issues better in the future. This was also in the context of a country where there is relatively little experience of governance and a lack of effective civil society organisations. WWS deliberately strengthened the five partners chosen who were working on a range of issues from media to election monitoring to disabled rehabilitation. A Phase I
partner, the South Sudan Domestic Election Monitoring and Observation Programme, sought to mobilise women to participate more fully in the political process. WWS also ran MP/public dialogues and public accountability meetings, enabling people to question their MPs and try to hold them to account for service delivery. WWS in Phase I also sought to engage with the African Union on civil society space and influence on legislation which threatened the ability of NGOs to operate.
In Phase I, WWS was very much grounded in the exciting context of a new state and key themes were transparency and accountability demonstrated in the slow but thorough selection of partners. This led to identifying space in civil society to engage with the new government structures through direct interactions such as MP dialogues. For phase II, the whole context changed following the split in the government and fighting which began in December 2013. While WWS still focussed on transparency and accountability, the direct interaction with MPs and the government became more challenging.
As a result, WWS tried new and creative approaches such as screening community mobilisation films which allow communities to have a space to voice their issues.
The programme currently works with three national NGOs which focus on giving support to local governance and community structures. They raise community awareness through theatre and radio, and work on women's empowerment with small scale cooperatives and working with women to raise their voices. WWS has also worked on local level peace mediation, developing an early warning system for cattle raiding.
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