CSRF – Call for expressions of interest: Research on aid and peace dividends in South Sudan

CSRF – Call for expressions of interest

Research on aid and peace dividends in South Sudan

1) Summary:

The Conflict Sensitivity Resource Facility (CSRF), funded by the British, Swiss, Canadian and Netherlands governments with additional funding from the EU, supports the aid community in South Sudan through the provision of technical analysis, services and advice with the objective of integrating conflict sensitive principles and practices into programming strategies in South Sudan. Conflict sensitivity is an approach that emphasises strong contextual analysis and programmatic flexibility to minimise aid’s negative consequences and maximise its positive impacts. Conflict sensitivity is particularly important in volatile, conflict-affected contexts where inadequate understanding of conflict and political dynamics can lead to donors and implementing partners inadvertently exacerbating conflict.

The CSRF is looking for a consultant(s) to work with us to deliver the research outlined below, which will result in two interlinked documents: a research paper (approx. 16 pages) and a good practice guidance paper (approx. 4-6 pages). Consultants may apply individually, or submit applications as a small team of 2-3 people based on specific roles/contributions. Consultants are expected to work collaboratively with the CSRF team throughout the process.

2) Background:

The question of when and how the people of South Sudan will experience a ‘peace dividend’ has persisted over decades of peacemaking efforts. Prominent peace processes such as the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which paved the way for South Sudan’s independence, and the 2018 Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) further raised expectations around how resulting peace dividends will be experienced throughout society. As the timeline for the R-ARCSS begins to draw to a close, there is increasing focus on what South Sudan will look like once the end of the roadmap for the agreement has been reached.

Understanding of what constitutes a ‘peace dividend’ in the context of South Sudan is somewhat broad, and has come to be associated with a number of areas, generally being interpreted as demonstrating the benefits of peace over war. It is usually understood as the material and practical benefits of peace (for example, the ‘hardware’ of service provision, development and economic growth), but broader interpretations may also link with social, political and psychological benefits as an outcome of a peace process (for example, wider elements of a ‘positive’ peace such as broader experience of social cohesion or the trust between citizens and the state). Furthermore, what a peace dividend may mean at all levels of society and across areas of South Sudan may also differ. Expectations around ‘peace dividends’ which are linked more directly to local peace processes may differ from macro-level interpretations. From a conflict sensitivity perspective, intended contributions to peace need to be weighed against the risk of causing harm by applying conflict-blind approaches to delivering ‘peace dividends’.

Building a better understanding of expectations around ‘peace dividends’ and the aid sector’s contribution to peace, alongside learning from concrete examples of how relevant actors have sought to support the delivery of peace dividends (e.g. government, development actors, the aid community), may offer important insights for both longer-term aid strategies at the macro level, and for aid practice at the local and subnational level, including towards more collaborative HDP nexus approaches. Overall, these lessons and reflections should help to inform a more conflict-sensitive and contextualised aid response, and contribute towards maximising the potential role that the aid sector could play in supporting the conditions for South Sudanese to experience the benefits of peace.

3) Research outline:

The primary intended audience for this paper is aid practitioners, those designing or implementing aid programmes, and donors with influence over the aid sector in South Sudan. The CSRF seeks to produce analysis and research that is relevant to donors, UN agencies, and NGOs (both international and national), with guidance on practical recommendations for policy and practice. The CSRF aims to use this analysis/research process to help the aid community to be aware of and access available research and expertise, to generate enthusiasm and commitment from aid actors across the spectrum to participate in collective analysis discussions, and to work collaboratively to apply new tools and solutions to how they work – as individuals, organisations, and as a system. It should help to inform everyday practice, policy level discussions, as well as the design and oversight of aid programmes.

The overall objective of this research is to provide donors and aid actors with a stronger understanding of the risks and opportunities associated with ‘peace dividends’ in South Sudan, so that they can take better decisions about where, how and when to support developmental investments in ways that will maximise their overall contribution to peace for the South Sudan people.

Research questions (to be refined further based on consultations):

a) Informing longer-term aid strategies

  • How have interpretations of ‘peace dividends’ affected expectations and perceptions of the aid sector in South Sudan?
  • How have aid actors sought to apply the concept of ‘peace dividends’ (especially since 2011) and what lessons are relevant for the current context?
  • What key considerations should be taken to inform longer-term aid strategies moving forward?

b) Good practice

  • How do local and subnational peace processes link to ‘peace dividends’ for communities?
  • How can understanding of this inform better collaboration between humanitarian, development and peace actors?
  • What practical steps and considerations should be taken to enhance the aid sector’s contribution to local peace?

4) Research process

This activity will put a strong emphasis on “process” alongside “product.” Relevant literature should be reviewed for relevance to the current context, however, the CSRF will also seek to build strong engagement between practitioners, donors, analysts and academics working in South Sudan now.

This research process will require desk-based research and field research in selected locations (2-3).

A plan for the process will be developed in cooperation with the CSRF team, and the researcher(s) will work closely with the CSRF team throughout the process. Such a plan might include:

  • Initial consultation with key stakeholders (facilitated by CSRF)
  • Desk research (including literature review)
  • Interviews with relevant key informants
  • Field research – 2-3 location(s) TBD
  • Presentations of initial findings/recommendations to select target groups
  • Submission of draft report
  • Incorporate comments from CSRF team
  • Final draft
  • Roundtable and discussion with policy makers and practitioners
  • Further dissemination strategy TBD

Process will be finalised in discussion with the consultant(s).

5) Outputs:

This research process aims to examine the suggested questions below, resulting in two interlinked documents: a research paper focused on informing aid strategies (approx. 16 pages, with a short executive summary and recommendations that have been tested/validated with practitioners working in South Sudan) and a good practice guidance paper (approx. 4-6 pages). The process will consider the questions as strongly interlinked. It will further culminate in connected blogs and a wider dissemination process TBD.

6) Timeline:

The final timeline will be agreed with the CSRF pending selection. The process is due to start in early September, with final documents due in December 2023 at the latest. Allocation of days within this time period will be agreed with consultant(s).

7) Requirements:

The CSRF is looking to contract consultants with the following profile:

  • Excellent understanding of the context of South Sudan, especially in relation to the aid sector;
  • Research and/or practitioner experience relevant to the subject matter (e.g. peace dividends, aid response, local peace processes, HDP nexus);
  • Excellent understanding of conflict and gender sensitivity principles and practice in South Sudan;
  • Strong network of relevant key informants;
  • Experience conducting reviews of large volume of documents and data;
  • Demonstrated ability to handle and communicate sensitive information;
  • Demonstrated ability to produce clear, quality written content in English;
  • Availability to begin work within the expected timeframe.

How to apply

To apply:

Applicants should submit a cover letter that explains their interest, skills, proposed approach, relevant expertise and availability in doing some or all of the work described, as well as a daily rate.

  • Include your CV which should include at least two references and at least two examples of previous research or analysis (ideally where the applicant is the lead author)
  • Deadline for applications is 21st August 2023.
  • Please send your expression of interest to info@csrf-southsudan.org

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