South Sudan Peacebuilding Opportunities Fund

FCDO’s South Sudan Peacebuilding Opportunities Fund (POF) is a programme envisaged to establish a scalable, adaptable, and contextually driven mechanism to pursue peacebuilding objectives in South Sudan.

Phase 2 of FCDO’s South Sudan Peacebuilding Opportunities Fund (POF2) aims to build the capabilities of communities, including women, in conflict hotspots to manage, reduce, and prevent violent conflict in increasingly inclusive ways.

Phase-1 (POF1)

POF2 builds on the first phase of the programme (POF1), implemented by us from 2019 – 2023, that established scalable, adaptable, and contextually driven mechanisms to pursue peacebuilding objectives in South Sudan.  

Achievements include peacebuilding gains made through the cattle migration conference in Greater Rumbek, which resulted in the peaceful migration of around one million cattle without death or injury to community members or cattle keepers for the second year in a row; the rapid response and contribution towards the effective prevention of mobilisation by the Dinka Bor, Lou and Gawaar Nuer against the Murle in Jonglei and Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA); and the establishment of a national non-governmental organisation (NGO), Peace Canal as a sub- recipient of Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) funds and which is now the main implementer of activities in programme areas.

The desired impact will see stronger national capacity to manage conflicts without violence, and a reduction in violence in targeted areas. 


Conflict has been one of the key drivers of South Sudan’s economic and humanitarian crises, and a key brake on the nation’s development. Having achieved independence from Sudan in 2011, enduring peace continues to be elusive for South Sudan. The 2018 Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) has failed to deliver peace to the world’s newest nation. Implementation of R-ARCSS, a power-sharing agreement between South Sudan’s conflicting parties, has been slow and faltering.  

Problems faced by local communities remain unresolved, with limited resources to support peacebuilding and strengthen inter-community integration. Conflict dynamics are also complex, with multiple layers of conflict at national and sub-national levels, the resolution of which POF will seek to support in project locations.

These challenges are augmented by only a small number of national peacebuilding organisations, with inadequate core funding and weak organisational infrastructure, delivering community-based peacebuilding interventions. Few South Sudanese peacebuilding organisations develop to the point at which they are sufficiently robust to enable them to apply for significant funding opportunities directly from international donors. This is despite them being best placed to respond to local peacebuilding and livelihoods needs given their proximity and deep understanding of the local context.

Our Approach

The POF1 approach was originally designed around three funding windows in four sub-national locations, and targeting youth who are particularly vulnerable to mobilisation by armed militias, as well as supporting opportunities at the national level. Since inception, the programme evolved significantly. It has supported the establishment of Peace Canal, a national NGO that is the programme’s main design and implementation partner. The geographic focus has narrowed to conflict systems in Lakes and Greater Jonglei/Pibor. It continues to monitor opportunities to expand the scope to draw in border dynamics of these systems.

POF2 continues to implement the advisor-led approach distilled during POF1. Our advisors are hired directly from the programme’s target communities to co-create and deliver conflict and culturally sensitive interventions with a high degree of accountability. This approach ensures that communities are intimately engaged in the design, implementation and monitoring of POF2 interventions.

POF2 will build on the successes of POF1 through an expanded focus on Livelihoods and the capacity building of national NGOs. Our Livelihoods Lab will identify and design livelihoods pilot that provide alternatives to violence and strengthen integration between and within communities. Our Livelihoods Lab will pilot these concepts, with successful interventions developed for scale-up and funding through external funding streams. Our expanded focus on capacity building recognises that national partners are critical to the success and sustainability of POF2 interventions. Our experience from POF1 highlights the importance of engaging with national partners early in the process and throughout implementation, to ensure that interventions are both relevant and contextually appropriate.

Learning remains at the centre of POF’s adaptive programming. In the different locations, we start with small, iterative interventions that target the programme outcomes. In the process, the team actively documents learning, sharing within the location teams as well as across locations. Over time, the area team, with local partners on the one hand, and the wider POF team on the other, evolve the activities in the direction of what’s working, and inevitably scale down other activities for which there is little or no evidence of the intended impact.  


POF2’s expected primary outcome is that local communities in target conflict hotspots are better able to jointly interrupt and prevent cycles of violence in increasingly inclusive and climate- sensitive ways, and are increasingly socially cohesive, improving their resilience to external manipulation.

This outcome builds on the strong progress made by POF1 to ensure targeted communities are more harmonious and resilient to conflict and that more inclusive political, socio-economic, and cultural institutions, which are key for handling conflict and establishing the conditions for sustained peace, are strengthened at all levels. 

Areas of expertise