Since the onset of the crisis in 2013, hundreds of thousands of people have been fleeing the conflict in South Sudan and an estimated 8.4 million are expected to be in need of humanitarian assistance as of 2022. Severity of food insecurity continues to grow due to compounding shocks amplified by intensified sub-national violence, three consecutive years of widespread flooding, localized dry spells, indirect effects of COVID-19, and an ongoing protracted macro-economic crisis with heightened poverty and vulnerability (more than 80% of the population is reportedly below the poverty line). As a result, the prices of food items continue to be high and access to basic goods and services has become a challenge in some parts of the country due to partially dysfunctional markets and reduced purchasing powers due to disrupted livelihoods.
In South Sudan, REACH has been presence since 2012, collaborating closely with and feeding information into the humanitarian architecture to support tracking of humanitarian needs. This has primarily been conducted through REACH’s Area of Knowledge project, which includes remote monitoring and subsequent information sharing and collaboration with the clusters, the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG) and the IPC Technical Working Group as well as through its role as co-chair of the Needs Analysis Working Group (NAWG), informing ICCG emergency response prioritization. As of December 2021, REACH South Sudan has more than 100 field staff operating in either Juba or one of its 15 field bases across all three greater regions in South Sudan – Greater Bahr el Ghazal, Greater Upper Nile and Greater Equatoria.
REACH South Sudan conducts three complementary streams of work: 1) a country-wide multisectoral needs assessment to provide a clear and comparable understanding of needs across the country feeding into the annual HNO and HRP, creating a foundation for 2) country wide prioritization to support response mobilization through the co-chairing of the Needs Analysis Working Group (NAWG) with OCHA, particularly considering rapid onset emergencies, which benefit from REACH’s 3) rapid needs assessments (ERRM missions) in response to tracking of vulnerability trends for early warning and reporting of emergencies throughout the country. REACH overlays these assessment data with historic data from key humanitarian sources (e.g. FSNMS, DTM, aid response, WASH IM) to pinpoint the areas where people’s lives are most at risk, then we feed this analysis into the IPC process, ensuring people who are most at risk are targeted for humanitarian food and livelihood response.
In addition, REACH conducts monthly price and supply chain monitoring and market assessments. These assessments include cash feasibility studies and rapid market assessments in response to the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. REACH’s global cash and market expertise has informed its ongoing programming in South Sudan, including the country-wide Joint Market Monitoring Initiative (JMMI), which provides monthly price and supply chain data for all ten states in collaboration with the Inter-Agency Cash Working Group (IACWG) through IACWG partner organisations. The JMMI has become a core tool for humanitarian actors implementing CVA, including 29 monthly factsheets and datasets, covering over 76 locations, and using 23 partner organisations as of December 2021. Since its inception, the JMMI has expanded in coverage of locations and in partner organisations. All JMMI data has been consolidated into a price and supply route dashboard.