Back to Publications

HSS 2016-2022: Trend analysis of Greater Yirol, South Sudan

This document presents the main findings of the Human Security Survey in Greater Yirol (Lakes State) from 2017 to 2022, as well as trend analysis and recommendations for security actors.

Main conclusions

  • Security perception: improved
  • Increased reliance on: police
  • Most needed improvement: economic development


  • From the onset of data collection in 2017, the general security perceptions of local communities across Yirol West, Yirol East and Awerial counties have improved, despite deteriorated security levels reported between 2018-2020. A factor behind this improvement is the signing of a 2018 peace agreement with the neighboring Nuer communities in Unity. However, this improvement was not directly evident in the high frequency of reported incidents between 2017-2020 (i.e. cattle raiding, murders, robberies). Despite a later decline in most incidents between 2021-2022, forced marriage cases have risen. PAX recommends continued monitoring of the Yirol-Payinjiar peace agreement and the development of legitimate community security mechanisms to address intra/intercommunal violence, as well as communal strategies that can diffuse tensions and prevent the outbreak of future violence.
  • The performance of all domestic security actors (police, armed youth, SSPDF) has seen a similar trajectory in Greater Yirol: negative perceptions between 2018-2020, followed by improved perceptions in 2020-2022. In contrast, Perceptions on UNMISS performance have gone from positive in 2018-2020, to negative in 2020-2022. In line with this, respondents have consistently requested that police (as the most prominent law enforcement actor) have an increased presence and more training. Notably, in several survey rounds, a third of respondents indicated a reliance on armed youth militias for security, compared with two-thirds of respondents who endorsed the police. PAX recommends increased investment in the training and basic maintenance of legitimate law enforcement actors such as the police, communal chiefs, courts and local government officials. This is proposed with the goal of bridging the apparent law enforcement gap, improving community engagement and building on current levels of relative stability and legitimacy.
  • Communities in Greater Yirol prioritize sustaining the current peace agreement with the neighboring Nuer communities of Unity. Vulnerabilities in security provision remain, yet the sharing of pastures, freedom of movement and renewed opportunities for intercommunal trade have revealed the immediate benefits of the agreement. However, respondents have also indicated that more emphasis needs to be put on the economic development of the area (i.e. access to basic services, creation of jobs/ livelihood opportunities, the construction of roads and other infrastructure). Respondents also stress the importance of continued dialogue & reconciliation within and between communities, and frequently request drives for civilian disarmament in the area. PAX recommends investing in access to basic services and alternative livelihoods for youth for the communities of Greater Yirol as an important means to protect the intercommunal peace, but also to keep investing in intra- and intercommunal peacebuilding and dialogue activities, in order to address current security concerns.



Scroll past the PDF viewer for more details on the employed research methods, demographics of respondents, and methodological choices.

About this infographic

Date of publication:

May 24, 2023


Anton Quist & Abdullatif Sleibi


PAX Protection of Civilians



HSS 2016-2022: Trend analysis of Greater Yirol, South Sudan

May 24, 2023, Anton Quist & Abdullatif Sleibi

Read the document here


Research methods & respondents

Dates & locations

This infographic reports on data collected in Geater Yirol (Lakes State) over 4 rounds: April 2017, October 2018, November 2020, and August 2022.


The HSS enumerators collected 2.040 surveys in Greater Yirol since 2017: 538 respondents in 2017, 513 in 2018, 407 in 2020, and 582 respondents in 2022. Over the years, respondents overwhelmingly described themselves as Dinka (98%). In 2017-2022, about 65% of respondents were women. In 2022, the gender distribution was more or less even. The age distribution was relatively stable across the survey rounds:

  • Please note that respondents were only asked the question "How would you rate the performance of [security actor] in providing security in your area?" if they indicated in the previous question that the security actor was present. These "present" percentages are as follows:
    • Local armed youth: 48% (2018), 16% (2020), 29% (2022)
    • Police: 94% (2018), 90% (2020), 81% (2022)
    • SSPDF: 79% (2018), 25% (2020), 24% (2022)
    • UNMISS: 30% (2018), 2% (2020), 4% (2022)

Methodological & visualization choices

Removal of percentages

  • To facilitate trend analysis, we prioritized global trends over specificity. We omitted percentages from graphs, as they would draw focus to individual data points. Instead, we highlighted changes over years by using connecting line graphs and adding confidence interval bars to column charts.
  • Nevertheless, these exact numbers are available on the HSS South Sudan dashboard. Have a look or reach out to us and we will gladly provide more details. (Please note that, to improve legibility of our publications, categories are combined in a fashion appropriate to each individual publication, so some values may differ.)
Addition of confidence interval bars

  • The HSS does not survey all residents in its survey locations, but uses sampling methods. As such, our research findings are always an approximation of the true values in the population. We sincerely hope that every reader of our publications is aware of this. When displaying data points from several years side by side with the intent to perform some kind of comparative analysis, it becomes even more prudent to emphasize this uncertainty.
  • To that end, we have included 95% confidence interval (CI) bars to graphs that visually allow for them, most notably the column charts. A 95% CI means that, statistically speaking, there is only a 5% chance that the true value is not between the upper and lower limits of the CI. In other words, based on our sample, we can say with 95% certainty that the true value is included in the span of the CI bars.
Statistical testing

  • As our aim is to conduct applied research leading to timely and practical results, we did not perform statistical tests on the data. The recommendations are based on viewing the data, using multiple data points to support the assertions, in combination with contextual knowledge of our staff.
Missing values

  • Questions included in this infographic stayed more or less the same in the reported years. Some questions and/or answer options were removed or (re)introduced over the years, which is why in a few graphs, some data points are missing.
  • In column and bar charts, a missing column means that no data is available for that year.
  • In line graphs, the line starts later if the first data point is missing or ends sooner if the last data point is missing. If a middle data point is missing, the two known data points are connected by a dotted line.

Go to HSS-SS project page
Go to HSS-SS data dashboard
Go to HSS-SS methodological note