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Tearfund WASH service delivery in South Sudan: contributions to peace-building and state-building

Research report

Written by Leni Wild

Research report

This report forms part of a one-year DFID-funded research project, implemented by Tearfund and ODI, that aims to explore the links between service delivery of water supply and sanitation and the wider processes of state-building and peace-building in fragile and conflict-affected states.

It has focused on Tearfund’s water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions implemented through the ‘Capacity Building to Improve Humanitarian Action in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene’ programme, funded by DFID CHASE. The objective of the programme was to increase the capacity of Tearfund disaster management team operations, local partner projects and local government departments in conflict-affected and humanitarian contexts, to support improved access to potable water, sanitation and public health education (PHE), resulting in sustainable improved health, well-being and dignity for grassroots communities.

Some key features of the context in South Sudan seem particularly to shape the entry points and opportunities – as well as the constraints – for supporting peace-building and state-building efforts as part of WASH programmes.

Firstly, conflict and insecurity within South Sudan have been largely driven by marginalisation and perceptions of ethnic, regional and other disparities. Access to water and sanitation services per se has not been a major source of conflict; instead, there may be minor and localised competition in terms of how communities (and who within them) access water points.

Secondly, state-building processes remain uneven across the country; in some areas (such as the Equatorias), there is greater stability and greater potential for collective action at the local level; in border areas, this has been much more constrained in light of on-going conflicts.

Thirdly, the predominance of non-state providers (NSPs) in the WASH sector has meant that few citizens view the state as a provider of services.

Mickelle Kooy and Leni Wild