This policy brief argues that chiefs play an important role in governance and community life in South Sudan. They provide an array of vital services, from mobilising people for community projects to adjudicating disputes and administering customary law. Sometimes criticised as being an unelected group of old men, they will nevertheless play a vital role in South Sudan’s steps to building viable, effective, local government institutions. This policy brief looks at chiefs and suggests that initiatives to foster sustainable, inclusive, and participative state-building and development at the local level need to cooperate with chiefs as well as other local actors.
Senior Researcher in the Statehood and Conflict program at swisspeace
Ms Santschi wrote her doctoral thesis in Social Anthropology at the University of Bern. Her doctoral research focused on statehood, local governance and citizen-state relations in Northern Bahr el-Ghazal in South Sudan. She has extensive field research experience in South Sudan, DRC and Uganda. Ms Santschi has been involved in research projects and consultancies with the University of Durham, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Rift Valley Institute, the United States Institute for Peace, the London School of Economics and the World Bank. In these projects Ms Santschi has studied and worked among other things on local justice, customary law, traditional authorities, socio-political structures, land governance and conflict resolution. Currently, she supports the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in issues related to traditional authorities and conflict resolution and works as a lead researcher with the DfID and Irish Aid funded Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium on South Sudan.