Evaluating DFID’s Access to Justice Programme in South Sudan

South Sudan, born in 2011 and now the world’s newest country, has suffered tremendous ongoing internal conflict since the end of 2013. Thousands of people are displaced, hungry, and no longer have access to the traditional justice system.

The first to see the effects of this are often women and girls, with the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

The UK Department for International Development (DFID) in South Sudan has been looking to help safeguard the most vulnerable through increased humanitarian programming and support for basic services, including security and justice. Its Access to Justice Programme (ATJP), launched as a pilot in mid-2014 and running until mid-2019, aims to make changes in attitudes, behaviours and practices towards justice service delivery by increasing access to justice for vulnerable citizens and promoting more effective responses to gender-based violence.

Specifically, the AJTP aims to enhance the effectiveness of essential justice services for 250,000 women by reducing impunity and increasing their access to justice, with the aim of contributing to a reduction in conflict and a more stable South Sudan.

Ultimately, the goal is to assist communities in becoming more equipped to resolve disputes and conflicts without violence.

Our evaluation of the AJTP in South Sudan

Over the next five years, IMC Worldwide, working alongside Forcier Consulting, will conduct an impact evaluation of the programme in three states of South Sudan to assess the extent to which improving access to justice for women and girls impacts on violence against women and girls, and also to determine whether the programme should be rolled out across South Sudan.

Looking at the long-term effect of the programme, our evaluation will offer recommendations of how to ensure that the most vulnerable in South Sudan have access to justice.

‘Our role will be to ensure that the Access to Justice Programme is making a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable in South Sudan,’ says the evaluation project manager and IMC Worldwide Consultant Arielle Dove. ‘Should this programme have the lasting impact sought by DFID, it will be rolled out more extensively and could inform similar programmes around the world.’

The project launched earlier this week. Our next steps are to travel to South Sudan to begin collaborating with our working partners, and refining the methodology we have created to the country’s current climate.