South Sudan

Dignity and Light for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in South Sudan

May 2016

Since September 2015, following protracted forced displacement in Unity State in South Sudan, there has been an influx of IDPs who have sought sanctuary in Nyal and Ganyiel, in southern Unity State. Most IDPs are women and children who have managed to escape attacks against their villages in central Unity State and have moved south away from the fighting. IDPs have arrived in Nyal with nothing. Women reported a number of risks regarding gender based violence and snake bites, which are likely to occur when they have to travel outside of their homes at night time, such as when going to the toilet.

Due to a lack of latrines, women are forced to walk long distances at night to find a secluded place to relieve themselves; they face violence from host communities if they are found to be defecating on their land. IDPs have requested lights from Oxfam to help them mitigate these risks, especially snake bites and scorpion stings.

As a response, Oxfam distributed 3750 Little Sun solar lamps to vulnerable IDPs in Southern Unity State from August 2015 – May 2016. These solar lamps were provided to women and vulnerable IDPs in households as sustainable light sources to provide them increased safety and security during the night as part of a female hygiene kits in Nyal and Ganyiel.

Nyanlok is one of the beneficiaries of Oxfam’s WASH non-food items and female dignity kits distribution in Nyal. Oxfam’s Kenyi Alison Athanasius conducted an interview with her to see how she felt about the solar lamp she was given:

“The most important item I have received in this distribution is the solar light because I have a small child who needs to be taken care of in the night most especially when changing her bed, previously I would light the fire then change her beddings but with this solar light I will just press the button and do it easily. This island is full of snakes which usually come out from the swamp at night to avoid getting cold, so this solar lamp will help me see at night to avoid being attacked by snakes and also I can be able to go to the latrine at night using the lamps. We Nuer people also like cooking when it starts getting dark, this solar light will help me cook clean food for my children as I can see where to put dish and the plates.”