Lessons from Stabilisation, Statebuilding, and Development Programming in South Sudan

20th November 2019
Author: Siân Herbert

This rapid literature review collates lessons from major evaluations and learning reviews from development, state-building and stabilisation programming in South Sudan since independence in 2011. Key findings include: a) Donors in South Sudan have had to transition from humanitarian to development aid and back and forth a number of times as conflict has broken out. Donors need options to cope with a nonlinear state-building process as South Sudan’s political settlement has been, and will remain, very challenging; b) The sustainability of programmes in South Sudan has been limited as typically funding will not continue beyond the project, and as there is a high turnover of donor staff due to the difficult and dangerous living and working conditions. This is a major challenge for donors; c) Many donor programmes are identified as being “relevant” to the context and needs. However, South Sudan’s security situation holds back the achievements of many programmes. This rapid literature review found a lot of evaluations and reviews of programming in South Sudan, with many focussed on humanitarian programming (not covered in this query), and development programming, and few focussed on stabilisation. This review has endeavoured to only include evaluations of programmes that occurred after 2011, however, where it does include papers that analyse the period before and after 2011, it attempts to separate off only the lessons relevant to the post-2011 period (e.g. it only includes a little bit of information on the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Southern Sudan (MDTF-SS) as this closed in 2012) (Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies, 2013). The literature is mostly produced by practitioners, policy-makers, and think tanks.

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Suggested Citation

Herbert, S. (2019). Lessons from stabilisation, state-building, and development programming in South Sudan. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.


20th November 2019


Continent: Africa

Country: Sudan