Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) interrupts and prevents incidents of violence by providing direct protection to civilians at imminent risk. NP enhances the capacity of South Sudanese people to be active agents of change within their communities and to take a leading role in peacebuilding and violence reduction.
When political and ethnic tension reached its peak in late 2013, violence broke out in South Sudan’s capital of Juba. It spread throughout the country in a flash causing a devastating humanitarian crisis and forcing over 4 million people from their homes. According to estimates, the conflict has left over 400,000 people dead. The years of brutal violence, displacement, deteriorating economic situation, and the marginalization of groups such as women and youth have weakened the ability of South Sudanese communities to cope and respond to the ongoing crisis. Although several peace agreements were signed between 2013 and 2018, little progress has been made to uphold them. Human rights violations and incidents of violence continue to take a toll on civilians.
Eight years into the conflict, 7.5 million people – over half being children – rely on humanitarian assistance to survive. 2.2 million people remain displaced in six neighboring countries and another 1.5 displaced within South Sudan. Ethnic tensions, gender-based violence, cattle raiding and revenge killing continue to contribute to this cyclical, multigenerational conflict. The conflict is exacerbated by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, breakdown of traditional justice systems and diminished capacity of people to face threats to their health, safety, and livelihoods.
NP has been implementing Unarmed Civilians Protection (UCP) in South Sudan since 2010. It is one of the largest protection programs in the country, with a focus on child protection, women's participation in peace and security and prevention and reduction of all forms of violence against civilians.
NP provides direct protection to groups and individuals at risk of violence, trains communities in nonviolence, conflict management and self-protection and advocates for the transformation of harmful practices and reduction of negative coping behaviors. NP assists survivors of violence, particularly civilians affected by sexual and gender-based violence, by providing protective accompaniment and referrals to critical life-saving services.
The first COVID-19 case in South Sudan was confirmed on April 5, 2020 - and we had been preparing our response ahead of time. Although many organizations have had to leave South Sudan, we maintain more than 90% of our staff, which means we can continue our operations and protecting civilians despite difficult conditions. And, we have been working to assist health and water and sanitation organizations to incorporate civilian protection into their regular work. This critical response to COVID-19 is possible because of your continued support.
For the past decade, you have supported our protection officers living in the same communities they serve. Because of these close ties, our staff are trusted messengers, and we are able to control rumors as a way of preventing tension, violence, retaliation, displacement, and panic related to COVID-19. And, we are continuing to respond to gender-based violence (including domestic violence) and conducting patrols in areas where civilians could be attacked if there are cases of COVID-19.
You have supported the training of Women Protection Teams and Youth Protection Teams. And now, we are working with local groups to make sure they have the information and tools they need to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Two members of the Women Peacekeeper Teams are now serving on a Covid Prevention Task Force, providing leadership to the national response. They are identifying where wash stations are needed and dispelling deadly rumors. They are also working with the government to reduce the anti-foreigner sentiment and violence that is brewing because of myths.
We are continuing to meet with Women Protection Teams, Youth Protection Teams, and authorities in accordance with WHO guidelines so that each community understands why some activities have been altered, while ensuring continued presence and visibility to maintain and enhance trust building. Thank you for making an impact in South Sudan, especially during the current health crisis.
"I used to be afraid to be a leader, but now I lead a Women's Protection Team. I dream of being a Minister of Gender and I want to make sure girls' rights are respected and they have access to education."
In 2019, NP teams working in South Sudan provided:
people support and protection at humanitarian aid distribution sites
individuals with knowledge on gender-based violence.
civilians with training in unarmed protection and nonviolent ways to resolve conflict.
Our Teams in South Sudan
Head of Mission: Thiago Wolfer Established: 2010
Offices: Juba, Bentiu, Rumbek, Aburoc, Wau, Mobile Teams
Conflict is inevitable. Violence is not. Stay updated on the latest news on nonviolence in action.