The USAID Promoting Resilience through Ongoing Participatory Engagement and Learning (PROPEL) program was designed to foster social cohesion and resilience in targeted communities in Jonglei, Lakes, and Eastern and Central Equatoria states in South Sudan. PROPEL provided material improvements in the lives of community members and at the same time strengthened the communities’ capacity to drive their own development by harnessing their own resources, leveraging other donor-funded programs, and advocating for additional support to implement projects that addressed priority needs. These complementary results were achieved through a Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach.
The purpose of this document is to share PROPEL’s findings that inform a unified CDD methodology for USAID implementing partners in South Sudan (see PROPEL’s CDD Methodology for South Sudan ). This document is intended to equip humanitarian and development practitioners with relevant techniques to achieve a do-no-harm approach to implementation in South Sudan, one which varies according to the specific activities and contextual dynamics. The CDD approach is inclusive, ensuring representation of all community segments; transparent coordination with local leaders; targeted outreach to women; gender sensitization across the community to promote women’s voices in decision-making; strategic communication and grievance redress mechanisms throughout project implementation; and conflict-mitigation structures and capacity-building incorporated into project sustainability. What sets a CDD program apart from other kinds of infrastructure improvement interventions or democracy-building efforts is the range of identifiable impacts it has at the individual community level as well as at the regional or country levels.
The methods and techniques presented in this document have been tested in various contexts in South Sudan, and have proven effective despite localized conflicts, as evidenced by the results of a 1,600-household survey across eight of PROPEL’s original target communities at the end of the project (see PROPEL’s end-line report ). Findings are drawn from lessons learned through PROPEL’s Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) approach, its quantitative household survey samples at baseline (February-April 2016) and end-line (April-August 2017), and qualitative insight into communities’ resilience capacities, prevailing social capital and conflict-mitigation strategies. Quantitative findings revealed statistically significant improvements on indicators of community resilience capacity across rural communities and IDP settlements, while challenges to CDD fueled by the escalating political tensions in Juba prevented positive change in urban communities.
The CLA approach is critical to the goal of reducing costs and improving outcomes of interventions in South Sudan because it results in the documentation of evidence-based methods. The integration of that learning into the design of future projects, and the ongoing commitment of USAID-South Sudan to collecting, documenting and sharing lessons learned will prevent costly mistakes in future. This document is organized by issue so that content can be readily accessed, absorbed and applied by implementing partners who wish to improve the conflict-sensitivity, inclusiveness and sustainability of their program, regardless of whether they are using a CDD approach.
Reference list: Global Communities. 2018. Retrieved from http://globalcommunities.org/publications/2018 SouthSudan_USAID_PROPEL_CDD.pdf