By Anouk S. Rigterink, John J. Kenyi and Mareike Schomerus

JSRP-South-Sudan-report-page-001Our new report describes the findings of a survey conducted by the Justice and Security Research Programme (JSRP) in Western Equatoria State, South Sudan, in 2013. The survey is based on a representative sample of 433 individuals in the Ezo County and the two southern-most payams of Tambura County. The purpose of this survey is to provide data for the following lines of research: (a) an investigation into the impact of community-driven development programming on trust in government and willingness to contribute to public goods; (b) a study into how security information that is broadcast on the local radio station Yambio FM influences people’s fear of an attack by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and shapes their attitudes towards a local protection force, the Arrow Boys, and the South Sudanese army (SPLA); (c) research into the ways in which being exposed to violence shapes preferences, as expressed through political participation and contribution to public goods; (d) an investigation into the persistent effects of the historical Zande Cotton Scheme. In addition, the survey provides an insight into how individuals in Western Equatoria State live their daily lives, including their security situation and how they are served by various forms of public authority.

The following topics are covered in the survey: 1. Demographics; 2. Contribution to public goods; 3. Interactions with authority; 4. Security (called ‘resilience’ in the questionnaire); 5. Past experiences of violence; 6. Perceptions and opinions of South Sudan’s central government; 7. Access to information

Some key findings:

  • The population of Ezo and Tambura Counties is relatively homogenous in terms of first language spoken (which can be considered a proxy for ethnic group) and nationality. More than 90 per cent of respondents indicated Pazande as their first language, with only a small section indicating English, Dinka or Balanda. More than 95 per cent identify their nationality as South Sudanese.
  • Overall, the level of education is low: on (weighted) average, respondents completed 4.1 years of education whilst 28.3 per cent of respondents indicated they did not have any education.
  • The population of Ezo and Tambura Counties has been subject to substantial displacement; only 35.6 per cent of respondents classified themselves as a continuous resident. For those who left, it was common to come back to their original boma of residence. Only 7.2 per cent of respondents are classified as a ‘movee’, which means they are now living in a boma in which they have not previously lived.
  • Results indicate that over the past year, individuals made quite substantial contributions to various public goods in their boma. Contributing to funeral expenses is particularly common. 94.9 per cent of respondents report having donated money to a funeral, on a (weighted) average of more than 14 occasions. A substantial percentage of respondents indicate that their household has assisted refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the last year—either by giving them land (18.3 per cent) or tools (24 per cent), or by loaning them tools (7.6 per cent). Support for a civilian protection militia, the Arrow Boys, is widespread among respondents. More than 80 per cent of respondents indicate that their household has supported the Arrow Boys with a food donation; more than half indicate that they themselves or a member of their household are a member of the Arrow Boys.
  • When presented with a ‘menu’ of small infrastructure projects put together by a community-driven development programme—the World Bank Local Governance and Service Delivery Programme (LGSDP)—the most common first choice across bomas visited is a water point. From these small infrastructure projects, priorities for public goods appear to be fairly similar for men and women. We can observe more substantial differences between the priorities of various age groups.
  • Police and elders are the most common point of call in case of an issue or concern. Among boma and payam authorities, most issues are reported to the boma Administrator and Executive Chief. Among the armed actors, issues or complaints are brought most frequently in front of the Arrow Boys; reporting to the SPLA or the Ugandan army (UPDF), which has bases in Western Equatoria State—is extremely rare. Those respondents reporting an issue or concern expressed most dissatisfaction with the response of employees of non-government organisations (NGOs), the boma Administrator, the police and the SPLA.
  • Results indicate high levels of distrust in the SPLA and the UPDF.
  • When asked which authority was most important during—respectively—the civil war from 1983 – 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended the war in 2005 and ran to 2011, and since South Sudan’s independence in 2011, respondents indicated that churches, the SPLA and chiefs have lost substantially in importance since the war. The
  • United Nations (UN), South Sudan’s President and the State Governor have gained in importance.
  • More respondents indicate that they had feared for their safety ‘often’ in the previous twelve months from April 2012 – 2013 (85.9 per cent), than respondents had during the war (79.3 per cent). During the CPA, people appear to have feared for their safety less frequently: 42.6 per cent of respondents indicate having feared for their safety ‘often’ during the CPA.
  • Respondents appear to feel relatively safe while moving about by day, either to their fields or to another village. Moving about at night, either within the village, between villages, or to fields, is experienced as considerably more unsafe than doing the same by day. Women perceive leaving the house at night as considerably more unsafe than men.
  • Inhabitants of Ezo and Tambura Counties have been strongly affected by violence. In our survey 63.3 per cent of respondents report that a member of their immediate family was killed in violence, 12.4 per cent and 6 per cent of respondents report having been injured in an attack or cross-fire respectively, 60.5 per cent say they have been made refugee and 12.8 per cent indicate that they have been abducted. Women seem less likely to have been personally subject to violence compared to men, who were injured, abducted or made refugee more often.
  • Displacement appears to have occurred in two waves: the first around 1990 during the civil war; the second around 2009 when there was a peak in violence committed by the LRA. Violence by the SPLA appears to have been also fairly common, although less so in later years.
  • Voter participation in South Sudan is high. In our survey 88.3 per cent of respondents indicated that they voted in the 2010 national elections, and 92.2 per cent of respondents said they voted in the 2011 referendum on South Sudanese independence.
  • Dissatisfaction with the central government in the capital Juba is fairly high with 58.9 per cent of respondents (strongly) disagreeing that their expectations of the Juba government have been satisfied. It is possible to see signs of a patronage-based attitude towards government.
  • Respondents expressed very high levels of support for reinstating a Zande King in the future: 94.5 per cent of respondents support the coronation of a new King. There is a difference in the level of support for a future Zande King between men and women. Opposition against the Zande King is strongest among respondents in the youngest age cohort (18-25 years).
  • In total 32.3 per cent of respondents indicate that their household owns a working radio. Receiving Yambio FM appears possible: on average 82.9 per cent of radio owners indicate their radio can receive Yambio FM. Again, there is substantial variation across bomas.
  • Overall, respondents are fairly satisfied with the information they receive about what is happening in their community. More than half of respondents (strongly) agree that they have good information on what happens in Western Equatoria State, but this percentage is only 43.1 per cent for information about Juba and South Sudan in general. Respondents feel they have the worst information about events in the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as the rest of the world. Women feel more poorly informed in all dimensions compared to men, except where it concerns their community.

Note: This article gives the views of the authors, and not the position of the Justice and Security Research Programme, nor of the London School of Economics.