Kinship and community support-based social security mechanisms are vital for the survival of South Sudanese in times of crisis. They are based on concepts and longstanding practices of mutual support, social obligation and vulnerability. These concepts can conflict with western ideals of transparency, accountability and “fair” allocation of resources, including aid. As a result, socially and culturally important coping strategies can be difficult to reconcile with international aid guidelines, values and policies. They can also be seen as undermining aid agencies’ commitment to humanitarian principles.
Tensions and dilemmas emerging from these partly incompatible value systems, or this “clash of civilisations”, are particularly evident when NGO staff engage with local authorities and community members. These tensions can pose significant pressures and even risks to aid workers; particularly local staff. This report aims at enhancing donors’ and aid workers’ understanding of the dilemmas, tensions and conflicting goals that emerge when international guidelines, policies and humanitarian principles meet the reality on the ground.