South Sudan and its people continue to reel from the impacts of years of conflict, violence and limited of development investment. Some 7.3 million people are facing problems related to their physical and mental well-being. Almost half of all counties have a convergence of high needs related to food insecurity, protection, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Lack of basic services is one of the main drivers of need and one of the main obstacles for people to begin recovering from the years of conflict and violence.
For 2020, an estimated 2.5 million children and caregivers in South Sudan are most at risk of violence, exploitation and abuse, requiring sustained child protection services.
2021 Response plan in numbers
An estimated 2.7 million people, including 2.3 million children, are at risk of violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect and in acute need of immediate child protection in 2021. Children continue to be disproportionately affected by crisis and exposed to multiple protection risks including recruitment by armed groups, psychosocial distress, family separation, violence and exploitation in 61 most affected counties.
High level of stress, loss of friends and family members are also taking a toll on mental health and emotional development of children, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak. Studies suggest that at least one in three respondents met the criteria for a mental disorder. A recent FSNMS assessment found that 30 per cent of children had behavioral change, showing signs of distress due to repeated exposure to conflict and shocks.
Since the outbreak of violence in December 2013, 26,184 (12,214 girls and 13,970 boys) cases of unaccompanied and separated children (UASCs), missing and other vulnerable children have been documented in South Sudan and only 6,348 reunified, with up to 4,000 children yet to be reunified.
Immediate life-saving child protection services will be provided to 800,000 out of 2.7 million vulnerable children. MHPSS, community-based child protection (CBCP), and family tracing, reunification and alternative care for unaccompanied and separated children's approaches will be expanded. CVA; extension of services to children in contact with the law; support to child survivors of sexual violence; community-based reintegration services for children separated from armed forces or armed groups; and technical and institutional capacity strengthening of local actors, frontline child protection workers and community volunteers will be strengthened.
The most vulnerable children including children who are displaced in conflict hotspots, associated with armed forces and groups, in detention, unaccompanied and separated, returnees and those living in host communities will be assisted based on need and vulnerability, particularly in conflict-affected areas.
Preventive and responsive child protection programming will be promoted through the use of MHPSS mobile teams; awareness raising, expansion of case management for child survivors of GBV; integration with other sectors; door to door visits; situation and response monitoring; and the use of different communication platforms to promote resilience and reduce negative coping strategies. The Child Protection Sub-Cluster will roll out the community care strategy to prevent and mitigate sexual violence against girls and support local community leaders taking leadership roles in child protection. The sub-cluster will strengthen child protection systems, such as Child Protection Information Management System (CPIMS+) roll out, social workforce strengthening, cash-based assistance and peacebuilding.