South Sudan

The Impact of Food Insecurity on Women and Girls: Research from Pibor and Akobo counties, Jonglei State, South Sudan

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This research was undertaken in response to recent humanitarian reports that point to a critical food security crisis in eastern areas of South Sudan. Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) projections indicate an emergency (IPC Phase 4) in Pibor and Akobo Counties, with a likelihood of famine (IPC Phase 5) in the Pibor payams (administrative divisions) of Gumuruk, Pibor, Lekuangole and Verteth.1 Recurring flooding and intercommunal violence, as well as the poor economic situation of the area, coupled with the impact of COVID-19, are the main reasons for this food security crisis.

Given the vulnerability of communities during crisis and the different vulnerabilities of women, men, boys and girls, this research seeks to highlight the specific needs of women and girls, so that appropriate policy interventions can be put in place to ensure gender equality throughout the humanitarian response. The research aims to understand the extent of the food security crisis and how women and girls are affected in terms of their livelihoods and also household chores and safety, as well as what coping mechanisms they employ. In addition, this report looks at key humanitarian sectors such as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Health, Nutrition and Education and the kind of humanitarian assistance provided. Finally, it highlights both the most pressing needs and longer-term ones and puts forward thematic gendered recommendations for informed humanitarian programming by Oxfam, donors, UN agencies and NGOs, as well as national and local authorities.

The research was carried out in Pibor and Akobo Counties of Jonglei State and attempted to cover a broad range of issues related to food security. The methodology involved a review of secondary literature and an analysis of qualitative data collected from the field locations. The qualitative data included focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews (KIIs). Eight FGDs were conducted with women, five with girls, eight with men and five with boys across the two locations. A total of 28 KIIs were conducted, broken down into 10 with female interviewees and 18 with male interviewees, 16 with community leaders, and 12 with representatives of government, NGOs and UN agencies. The selection criteria aimed to reach vulnerable communities and to achieve a gender and age balance among respondents.