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2020-05-26

This update summarizes the current political holding pattern around both COVID-19 and the political transitions in Khartoum and Juba, and how these interact with established long-distance trade and migrant work systems that drive the borderland economy.

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Four years ago, photographer and film director, Taye Balogun, set out to look into the status of arms control in the Horn of Africa. Balogun documented in words and images the role of young people in the trade of arms across the Horn. On 19 May 2020, the Rift Valley Forum, in partnership with The Carrot, hosted a webinar to discuss Balogun’s work and the status of peace and security in the…

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2020-05-13

South Sudan has avoided the worst effects of the global coronavirus pandemic. However, as the disease spreads further through the African continent, South Sudan—and other countries in the Greater Horn of Africa region—need to carefully calibrate their response to prevent a dangerous escalation. Drawing on the RVI's network of South Sudanese researchers, this note reflects shared findings and…

2020-04-29

The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) of 2020 is likely to have profound effects on stressed food systems in already hungry countries. Even before South Sudan reported its first COVID-19 case at the beginning of April, media reports indicated that the pandemic had led to restrictions on the movement of goods from neighbouring countries, which affected prices in markets across the country.

2020-04-21

In this piece, Deng Kuol explains the significance of grains for his pastoralist Ngok Dinka community—more commonly associated with cattle—in the borderland region of Abyei. To illustrate this, Deng describes the efforts made by his mother to preserve access to a socially valued variety of sorghum—ruath—by travelling into military occupied areas of Abyei while her family was displaced outside…

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2018-11-14

The sixth annual Juba Lecture Series, held in November 2017, focused on themes of dialogue at both the local and national levels. The lectures—a collaboration with the Institute for Justice and Peace Studies at Catholic University of South Sudan, with support from the Australian Embassy in Addis Ababa—are designed to support local knowledge and provide a safe, open space for debate on key…

2020-04-03

In this piece, Luga Aquila explores the history of cassava among the Pojulu in Central Equatoria. He explains how one local cassava variety called yoyoji-yoyoja, which translates as ‘you can now get engaged’, became an important means of bridewealth in the Pojulu community. Later, yoyoji-yoyoja lost some of its social value when a new cassava variety called bokolisha was introduced, which has…

2020-04-02

In this piece, Elizabeth Nyibol describes the lifestory of her aunt, Mary Ajok Wetkwuo, who throughout her life has demonstrated a commitment to growing the indigenous grains of her Dinka community—varieties of sorghum and millet—which she carried with her while living much of her life in displacement. The account shows how Mary, like many other Dinka women, deployed the social and material…

2020-03-23

In Blue Nile, Sudan, artisanal gold mining has historically been a communal or household activity—an additional means of income generation to supplement agriculture. However, a gold-rush in Sudan which began around a decade ago and intensified after the secession of South Sudan in 2011, has begun to change the relationship that communities in Blue Nile have with gold mining.

2020-03-19

Taking the Ethiopia-South Sudan borderlands as a case study, Rethinking Aid in Borderland Spaces argues that the traditional modalities of the aid industry are not fit for purpose in a world where transnationalism is a daily reality for communities, even—perhaps even especially—in the most geographically remote locations.