Cross cutting issues

Water for Lakes State

Programme for the Water Sector between South Sudan and the Netherlands

header website Water for Lakes

Dinka society and culture is overwhelmingly male oriented and dominated. In addition to their traditional responsibilities, tilling the land and domestic work, women spend long hours in search of water, a resource which they have little say over, viz. its allocation and management. Our work experience in the WASH sector has clearly demonstrated that access to appropriate gender sensitive SWIS facilities have significant long-term positive impacts, particularly on women and girls.
During the programme inception phase the TAT engaged mostly with (elderly) men and a male dominated government structure. This re-emphasises the importance of a gender-balanced approach to programming and the need to further incorporate gender in the programme design. We are therefore developing a gender strategy that will address gender mainstreaming in all programme components.
Peace building / conflict resolution
Since the introduction of small arms and the increase in bride price cattle raiding has become more frequent and violent. Deaths resulting from cattle raiding feed into a cycle of inter-communal violence and revenge that has increasingly troubled LS over the past few years. The violence in LS has many sources. The national conflict impacts on LS, e.g. through the influx of IDPs from Bor to Awerial in December 2013, but local issues play a greater role.
Several of the Dinka sub-tribes within LS are involved in fierce on-going conflicts with tribes and sub-tribes from neighbouring states. The most infamous and troublesome area is where the three states of Lakes, Warrap and Unity meet, known as the Wunlit Triangle. Each dry season this area is the arena for aggressive conflict between cattle keeping communities over grazing pastures and water points. These conflicts often spiral into cattle raiding and revenge attacks. There are also fights between different clans within LS. For example, in May 2014 an on-going conflict between the Gok Panyar of Cueibet County and the Agar Pakam of Rumbek North resulted in a violent clash in which over 200 people died. The inter, and intra, tribal conflicts in LS have increased in frequency and violence over the past few years.
The insecurity described above affects economic development in negative terms in LS. People are less willing to invest and transport between different counties within, and transport through, the state is hampered, resulting in inflation and an increase in poverty. The increased poverty may lead to an increase in cattle raiding indicating a vicious cycle of cause and effect.
In this sense, the programme is not working in a vacuum in LS. Just as water in LS is linked to larger scale hydrological systems originating outside the state, security in LS is linked to that of the nation and it is therefore important that programming follows the ‘do no harm’ approach and is ‘conflict sensitive’.
Sustainability is both an important part of the programme, as well as part of MM policies. It is also a recurrent theme in strategic planning documents and policies of the South Sudan Government. Accordingly, several frameworks for sustainability, including the Bellagio principles, ISO 26000, and frameworks used by MER were collected and reviewed during the programme inception period (November 2013 – October 2014).


The guiding principles behind the Water for Lakes programme are:

  • Given the generally low levels of education and technological know-how and the absence of a culture of asset maintenance (in favour of a tendency towards simply “replacing” whatever doesn’t work), preferred solutions are those that are as simple and unsophisticated as possible.
  • Community ownership of all programme assets. This will require intensive and extensive interaction with key stakeholder groups to put in place the necessary ‘software’. i.e. community organisation and participation in planning, financial contributions and O&M of proposed facilities before embarking on implementation of new water supply infrastructure for people and / or livestock.
  • Conflict sensitivity. See above.


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