South Sudan

South Sudan has been a priority country for the Swiss Humanitarian Aid since its creation in July 2011. Switzerland mainly focuses on food security and livelihoods, protection of civilians and promotion of human rights, as well as peace- and nation-building.



South Sudan is facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. The country lives its fourth year of conflict, marked with violence and massive population displacement in and outside the country. Since February 2017, the state of famine was declared in several parts of the world’s youngest nation. 

Various units of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) together with other Departments of the Confederation are involved in efforts to provide emergency relief and recovery (SDC Humanitarian Aid), development assistance (SDC South Cooperation), conflict resolution support (Human Security Division) and the expertise of staff officers and humanitarian mine clearance specialists (Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport – DDPS).

Food security and livelihood

South Sudan suffers from a chronic lack of food security for a variety of reasons: conflict and violence, rising prices for basic foodstuffs, difficult humanitarian access, logistical constraints and climate change. SDC’s aim is to help securing safe access to food for the most vulnerable and to help producers to become self-sufficient. It supports projects of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), its principal multilateral partners in the food security sector in South Sudan. SDC also contributes to the work of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and international NGOs in training farmers in the diversification of agricultural products in the province of Northern Bahr el Ghazal and in the Equatorias. It also supports food production and income generation for the urban poor in and around Juba is another example of livelihood support.

Agriculture and food security

Protection of civilians and promotion of human rights

SDC aims at ensuring the protection of civilians, focusing on the immediate needs of the most vulnerable victims and displaced persons; and empowering communities to create a safer environment for themselves. The safety of women and children is a matter of particular concern. Gender-responsive interventions and the prevention as well as the response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) are priorities. Switzerland is committed to ensure unimpeded access to humanitarian aid for these vulnerable populations.

Furthermore the DDPS has seconded several staff officers as well as humanitarian demining specialists to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).

Fragility and violence impede poverty reduction

Peace- and nation-building

The Human Security Division (HSD), together with SDC supports peacebuilding efforts in South Sudan. It focusses on the following key areas:

  • Fostering spaces for genuine and inclusive dialogue among South Sudanese constituencies that respond to citizens’ needs for peaceful coexistence, social cohesion, governance, truth, justice and accountability;

  • where possible, support viable and equitable options towards nation-building;

  • ensure greater conflict sensitivity among donors and implementing partners intervening in South Sudan. 

Approach and partners

Switzerland takes a holistic approach by combining humanitarian aid, development cooperation, multilateral instruments, diplomatic measures as well as peace-building approaches. Partners include:

  • International and national NGOs
  • UN Agencies
  • Civil society organisations


The new state of South Sudan was created on 9 July 2011 following several decades of civil war. It became the 193rd member of the United Nations and the 54th member of the African Union. Before this, as early as 1994, the Swiss Humanitarian Aid was assisting victims of war in the region. A Programme Office was set up in Juba in 2006, which in 2011 became a Cooperation Office. The same year it opened a programme office in Aweil, a city located in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, devoted to water and sanitation projects. Early 2017, the SDC decided to close it after the successful completion of all projects.

Current projects

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South Sudan, Concern Worldwide: NGO Forum Support

01.09.2017 - 31.08.2020

This is the fourth phase of support to the NGO-Forum in South Sudan, aiming at contributing to the effectiveness and coordination of emergency humanitarian response and development programming in South Sudan. This will be achieved through sustained and enhanced engagement with all stakeholders on issues affecting NGO operations, advocacy, capacity building and information sharing. 

Food Security and livelihoods support for farmers and IDP's from Yei and Maridi States and refugees in Bidibidi, Uganda

01.08.2017 - 28.02.2019

Through this corss-border project, Caritas Belgium and its partners intend to meet the basic food needs of vulnerable residents trapped in the beleaguered city of Yei/Central Equatoria, to improve the food security and livelihoods of farmers in Maridi County/Western Equatoria and to (re-)build the livelihoods of newly arrived South Sudanese refugees and vulnerable Ugandan host communities in and around the Bidibidi refugee settlement. 

SSD NP: Preventing Violence and Building Safer Communities in the Sobat Corridor

01.05.2017 - 28.02.2019

This is the second phase of a project in the Sobat Corridor implemented by NP, aimed at improving the safety of civilians and further enhancing the communities’ capacity to prevent and respond to threats, through nonviolent conflict resolution and self-protection options. This includes direct protection activities such as accompaniments for vulnerable groups, trainings and awareness rising campaigns on protection, mediation, as well as protection mainstreaming and aid coordination.

Improved food security, nutritional status and incomes among vulnerable households in Juba, South Sudan

01.02.2017 - 31.12.2018

In the current context of economic stress and limited supply of food due to disruption of the main supply routes, urban and peri-urban agriculture in and around areas of Juba provides livelihood opportunities for food production and income generation. The deteriorating situation calls for a two-pronged approach of boosting the agricultural production of nutritious commodities and improving access to the most vulnerable groups who may not be able to produce for their own consumption.

SSD IOM: Regional Information and Coordination Mechanisms for South Sudanese Displacement Dynamics

01.02.2017 - 30.08.2018

Continued conflict, food insecurity and a dire economic situation have increased the scale of displacement both within and outside the country to unprecedented levels, with many sheltering in UN POCS or crossing to neighbouring countries. For humanitarians to be able to respond to the needs of these populations, a better understanding of the displacement dynamics and trends must be developed. IOM’s proposed project will help create a better understanding of the displacement dynamics and trends and enable humanitarians to effectively respond to needs of the populations.

WFP Additional Contribution 2017 to Scale Up Operations in South Sudan in Response to the Hunger Emergency

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

On 24 February 2017, SDC/HA pledged an additional allocation of CHF 15 million to support emergency relief operations to help populations facing starvation in parts of Africa (South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and the larger Lake Chad Region) and Yemen. This decision followed a call issued by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on 22 February 2017 urging for USD 4.4 billion aid to avert famine for 20 million people who risk starvation in these countries. Out of the CHF 15.0 million, CHF 7 million will be allocated to support WFP’s emergency operations in South Sudan, Nigeria and the larger Lake Chad region, and Yemen.

Allocation of SDC Funding to WFP Operations in 2017

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.

JPO Programme, Volées 2013-2018, Humanitarian Aid HA

01.09.2013 - 31.12.2019

The aim of the programme is to increase Switzerland's presence within the UN system. This measure also meets the more general aim of strengthening the influence and quality of Switzerland's political dialogue with the target agencies. The JPO programme will eventually serve to intensify this political dialogue and increase Switzerland's capacity to monitor the work of agencies through direct contact with the JPOs recruited through this programme.

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