Socioeconomic mapping improves services in South Sudan

25 Feb 2013

image State government officials in Aweil, Northern Bahr el Ghazal discussing city planning in relation to public utilities and services

In September 2009 the United Nations Development Programme in conjunction with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) launched the Crisis Recovery Mapping Analysis project (CRMA) to provide a mechanism to build the capacity of the National Bureau of Statistics and state level ministries to collect and map data, analyse the security context and support conflict-sensitive planning. 

Funded by the European Union, the data garnered from this initiative is providing Government, development partners and humanitarian organizations with a sound evidence base on socioeconomic and conflict indicators across South Sudan.

Having robust, credible and reliable data is enabling development stakeholders to understand the context, analyze key challenges and respond appropriately. For example, statistics tell us that a 15 year old girl in South Sudan has a higher chance of dying from pregnancy related causes than finishing school, while maternal mortality rates are greater in the states of Lakes, Western Bahr el Ghazal and Western Equatoria. 

UNICEF has used the CRMA data and maps to identify locations where school renovations would have the most impact to communities.  As a result, UNICEF has prioritized 34 schools for infrastructure improvements in four states; Eastern Equatoria, Northern Bahr El Ghazal, Upper Nile and Warrap.  “This experience was an eye opener,” said Carlos de la Espriella, Construction Engineer, UNICEF, who is also managing the Access to Education project. “Initially, we wanted just to map the schools. But this process has opened up a whole new set of possibilities.  This is a tool that can help UNICEF and the Government to establish evidence-based planning. It allows you to report in a graphical way that can help policy makers to absorb the information.”

The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MoWRI) jointly with UNICEF has also used the CRMA data to examine and evaluate conflict stemming from competition over water in order to determine the appropriate location of water points. At the same time, this data has been used to support the Water Information Management Systems (WIMS), which is an integrated database that provides data and maps of the country’s WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) infrastructure to assist in development planning and decision making at all levels of the water sector. 

Other stakeholders have also used the CRMA data in various contexts. The South Sudan Recovery Fund (SSRF), a UN Multi Partner Trust Fund has used the data on building police posts, boreholes and water haffirs in locations to reduce communal violence.  CRMA also partnered with Population Services International (PSI) to provide maps and data identifying geographical risk areas to allow PSI to better target its malaria prevention programme in South Sudan. Similarly, the ten states used this information in developing their respective three-year strategic plans to prioritise their allocation of services and better target development projects.

The project is also supporting improved coordination amongst stakeholders through the Information Management Working Group (IMWG), which brings together more than thirty institutions, including UN agencies, Government institutions and NGOs to share information, set standards for data use and ensure development partners are using the same data.  With a common baseline, stakeholders can better coordinate development efforts and ensure that all of us are effectively working together towards the common goals.