Youth in South Sudan: Livelihoods and Conflict

17th November 2017
Author: Anna Orrnert, Roz Price

This review looks at livelihood issues related to “youth” in South Sudan, focusing on factors influencing decision-making by young men on livelihood options (both violent and non-violent) and trusted avenues of communication. In South Sudan, youth is not a fixed biological category, but a fluid social construct, and broadly refers to young men aged between 18 and 40/45. It is not possible to give definitive answers to the questions posed, and by its nature this review generalises motivations and choices. Therefore, when considering this review’s findings, it is important to bear in mind the diversity of youth and their motivations in South Sudan, the complexity of its different ethnicities and cultural identities, and that these identities remain highly flexible and may change in response to the dynamic environment.There is also imbalance in where research has taken place within South Sudan, with some areas (especially those around Juba, Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria and Jonglei states1) having a much greater wealth of information available than others. The literature reviewed here offers only a snapshot into these complex interrelated issues, and highlights the rapidly changing situation in South Sudan. It also brings up a number of knowledge gaps related to youth in South Sudan, particularly at the local level (see below). The majority of literature reviewed takes into consideration gender differences and inequalities in relation to youth. However, the focus of this review has been on young men in South Sudan and so much of the literature on young women has been omitted.

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Suggested Citation

Price, R.A. and Orrnert, A. (2017) Youth in South Sudan: livelihoods and conflict. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies


17th November 2017


Continent: Africa

Country: Sudan