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Localising cash and voucher assistance in South Sudan: challenges, opportunities and a way forward

The CCD Network in South Sudan comprises 19 members, including 14 INGOs and five local NGOs, working together to streamline the delivery and efficacy of cash and voucher assistance. As part of this effort, CCD's Localisation Advisor, Nino Khokhobaia, is jointly leading a Task Team to develop a localisation strategy and roadmap for South Sudan.


Recently, the Task Team discussed the most recent discoveries and suggestions arising from Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) and desk research from May and June 2023. This comprehensive report encompasses the culmination of 10 KIIs, offering diverse perspectives on the localisation efforts in South Sudan. It serves as a vital resource, presenting insights from INGOs and local NGOs and highlighting their viewpoints on the hurdles and prospects related to localisation in South Sudan.


What were some of the challenges?

The challenges facing local NGOs in South Sudan include:


  • A perceived capacity gap - There is a perception among donors and INGOs that local NGOs need more capacity, which leads to their exclusion or limited engagement in programming.

  • Risk perception - Stakeholders are hesitant to collaborate with local NGOs due to perceived risks associated with their capacity to manage programs effectively.

  • Limited support - INGOs and donors often provide little support for the organisational capacity building of local NGOs, which hampers the development of robust systems, policies, and processes within local NGOs.

  • Limited funding and Unfair allocation of resources - Local NGOs often struggle to access sufficient funding to support their programs and initiatives and lack funding to cover administrative costs.

  • An imbalance in decision-making power - The dominance of INGOs in accessing funds creates an imbalance in decision-making power.

  • Dependency on external actors - The reliance on INGOs for funding and resources can lead to a dependency syndrome among local NGOs.

While some INGOs and donors have partnership strategies for localisation, overall progress could be faster, and local NGOs need help to access funding and gain recognition within coordination structures. The current situation perpetuates power dynamics and limits the autonomy of local NGOs.


What were the opportunities?

The report suggests several recommendations to improve the capacity and autonomy of local NGOs in South Sudan. These include a holistic approach to capacity strengthening, advocacy for inclusion in coordination mechanisms, funding opportunities specifically for local NGOs, a comprehensive localisation strategy, genuine partnerships with INGOs, consideration of market functionality, and exploring long-term funding opportunities.


What's next?

As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, Task Team members have validated these findings and engaged in brainstorming sessions to determine the key priorities for the CCD South Sudan localisation strategy and action plan.


Additional deliberations and dialogues are essential to ascertain the precise definitions of fundamental concepts, including "localisation," "partnership," "local NGO," and other relevant terms employed in the formulated strategy. These discussions will be pivotal in refining and clarifying the conceptual framework underpinning the strategy's design. The collaborative review process will create a sense of ownership and commitment among the participants, contributing to the plan's overall effectiveness.


With the final draft, Localisation Advisor and Task Team co-lead will present the Strategy and Action Plan to the esteemed South Sudan CCD Steering Committee. The presentation will allow in-depth discussions and deliberations, emphasising soliciting their insights, suggestions, and potential refinements. The goal is to secure the Steering Committee's endorsement and adoption of the plan and dissemination to the wider in-country and global audience.


Stay tuned for the outcomes and progress for developing the localisation strategy for South Sudan as we strive towards a more effective and locally-led approach in our initiatives.


Image Credit: Concern. Concern and its local partners jointly develop a funding proposal for a donor.


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