Type of practice:
Phase I of the ECRP project concentrates on establishing Boma and Payam Development Committees (BDCs/PDCs) and building their capacities, in line with South Sudan’s legislative framework on local governance. Once functional, BDCs and PDCs will be instrumental in prioritising infrastructure development at the local level. Active participation of women and traditionally marginalized groups within communities will be encouraged throughout the project. Phase II aims to address immediate needs for basic services and flood risk reduction in selected vulnerable areas of the country, while strengthening community institutions and local governments’ capacity to better manage local development and intercommunal tensions over services and supporting the national government to provide oversight. The project seeks to maximize its impacts and sustainability through a strong focus on operation and maintenance (O&M) of the infrastructure. Main beneficiaries are vulnerable populations in South Sudan as identified by the World Bank’s vulnerability index, including women, men, youth, persons with disabilities, refugees, IDPs, returnees, ethnic communities, and tribal groups Protection, gender and GBV risk mitigation programming are integrated throughout the project cycle through activities that promote equitable local community participation, mitigate gender-based violence, and support women’s empowerment. In addition, to selecting and training an inclusive team, aiming for gender parity, IOM conducts the following activities to promote the empowerment of women from BDCs/PDCs in community leadership, as well as engaging men to support women’s meaningful involvement and mitigate GBV risks. For instance, one of the activities is to train BDCs based on diagnostic results (topics will include, inter alia, gender-sensitive and inclusive participatory development; mitigating GBV risks; linkages and support to Facility-based management structures; collaboration with local government structures). In addition, to encourage inclusivity and equity on the BDCs, the COAs/CMs organizes focus group discussions with socio-economic groups – including, inter alia, informal leaders, women, youth, religious figures, people with disabilities, elderly persons, and other marginalized group depending on the context.
Benefit and Impact
Community Infrastructure and Services: In line with the project objective to improve access to basic infrastructure and strengthen community institutions in selected counties, nine subprojects have been completed in the second quarter, resulting in a total of 49 of 67 (73%) subprojects completed as of Q2, 2023. Activities under the flood response continued to progress. In Rubkona, the dyke was handed over to the dyke management committee while in Leer, an additional 1.88 km rehabilitation of the dyke was completed and handed over to the dyke management committee. Thus, all flood response construction activities for dykes in Rubkona and Leer were completed.
Local Institution Strengthening: The project continued to progress toward building the capacities of local community institutions through training, mentoring, and coaching. Following the training, numerous BDCs have initiated their community development efforts. These include expanding ECRP subprojects, formulating robust plans to improve safe project accessibility, lobbying government and development partners for support to ECRP subprojects and other developmental initiatives, and launching BDC-led small-scale independent ventures. Finally, the ECRP community engagement team continued to conduct monitoring visits to project sites to identify gaps and extend additional support to Community Outreach Assistants (COAs). This measure ensures COAs are equipped with the skills necessary to offer comprehensive support to BDCs for improved performance.
Communications: During the reporting period, human interest stories were captured, highlighting initiatives taken by BDCs in new counties to enhance their community’s local development, as well as the impact of ECRP on individuals in ECRP’s operational locations.
Environment and social safeguards: The project’s Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) was finalized, incorporating minor adjustments to the existing system used in ECRP I. The ESMS ensures that environmental and social considerations are appropriately managed throughout the project's lifecycle.
The county government training was initially piloted in Pariang, a county under Ruweng Administrative Area. While this training offered valuable insights, the implementation faced challenges due to administrative changes, leading to an increase in participants and incomplete training content delivery . A decision was thus made to conduct a second pilot in a county not under an administrative area, to gather additional lessons for a confident roll-out across all ECRP counties.
Operation & Maintenance (O&M) committees are formed after the completion of the infrastructure as there is a risk that the infrastructure construction may be abandoned or shifted due to unforeseen challenges beyond the project. Therefore, the project will implement the formation and training of all O&M committees wherein construction is completed.
Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)
Along those lines, South Sudan’s economy remains severely underdeveloped. Within this context, the provision of basic services helps to alleviate societal tensions generated by poverty and a dearth of socio-economic opportunity, particularly in areas with high concentrations of returnees, and is essential as South Sudan struggles toward enduring peace and security.
From 2014 to 2019, the World Bank financed a Local Governance and Service Delivery project (LGSDP), which made inroads toward establishing a sustainable system of service delivery at the local level, and helped create a platform where communities could actively participate in determining local development initiatives. The LGSDP, however, was not able to operate in the most conflict-affected areas of the country where needs were acute.
Leveraging the experience of the LGSDP, the ECRP adopts a different implementation approach that utilizes UN agencies’ sectoral expertise and field presence to ensure flexibility, agility and effectiveness to address existing and emergent needs throughout much of South Sudan. To leverage their respective strengths, UNOPS will function as the overall Project Management Unit while IOM will function as the technical lead for community facilitation. Both organizations will share responsibilities to implement sub-projects. IOM will be responsible for community mobilization and institution strengthening, local infrastructure and service delivery (jointly with UNOPS), as well as for undertaking regular conflict analysis.
By engaging with communities in participatory planning processes at the county and local levels, Sudanese are mobilized and empowered to convey their needs, analyze challenges they are facing, propose creative solutions to those challenges, and vocalize their preferences to promote and shape community development.