Activists in South Sudan share their visions and challenges

By Samuel Sebit

In South Sudan, just like in other countries in the Global South, grassroots activists and movements play significant roles in promoting human rights, peacebuilding, democracy and community development. We advocate and work to promote social, cultural, economic and political changes. However, grassroots activists and our groups face numerous challenges along the way to building democratic and self-reliant societies.

On June 2021, I convened a dialogue with 20 grassroots activists representing different grassroots organisations, both formal and informal, operating in Yei River County, a place located along South Sudan’s southern border and significantly affected by conflict and displacement. I wanted to hear their resourcing experiences and visions for change to include them in the landscape analysis we did while co-creating this campaign.

It was such a great opportunity to sit with these amazing activists championing transformations in Yei. As we discussed together, I saw mixed faces of successes for those who managed to pull resources for their projects as the country recovers from the war, vicious cycles of violence and human rights violations to democratic governance, peacebuilding and economic development.

But most of them are facing significant funding challenges. They highlighted how funding application processes and policies are so complicated and restrictive and mentioned that there is high competition for funding between small local groups and well-established national and international operating within the country. They also said that regardless of their consistent and unwearied commitment to serving their communities, no one pays attention to the emotional and financial wellbeing of activists. These and other challenges are holding them back.

Check out this video to learn more about the realities of grassroots activists in Yei and the changes needed to improve their access to resources and support:


Samuel is an activist in South Soudan. He is one of the Grassroots Changemakers who helped co-design this campaign and the founder of Talent Initiative for Development (TIDE)