Human Security Survey (HSS) South Sudan
The Human Security Survey (HSS) is a survey methodology developed by PAX which includes a series of complementary activities, including population-based research, community engagement, and advocacy. The intended purpose is threefold:
- to increase the understanding of local human security experiences, perceptions, and trends
- to enhance the ‘claim-making capacity’ of civilians to identify local protection priorities and hold security providers and authorities to account
- to inform the design and implementation of effective protection policies through evidence-based advocacy at local and international levels.
PAX currently implements the HSS in Iraq and South Sudan
The theory underlying the HSS is that by expanding the voice and agency of civilians on the protection issues that affect them every day, security policies and how they are implemented will be more reflective of and responsive to local needs, priorities, and capacities. In order to achieve this, the HSS generates both data outputs and dialogue. PAX and its partners conduct large-scale quantitative research i.a. about the nature of security threats facing civilians, the impact this has on their daily lives, their perceptions related to vulnerability, and their expectations for the future. We then bring the research findings back to local communities to create or leverage opportunities for regular people to engage in constructive dialogue with key authorities from local government, security forces, religious and social institutions, local armed groups, and civil society about civilian security priorities.
At the international level, the HSS also provides a means of influencing the policymaking efforts of diplomats and troop contributors active in these environments by providing valuable first-hand information about the realities facing conflict-affected populations. By continuing this cycle over multiple years, PAX and its partners can track trends and work to effect more sustainable change. The survey itself is therefore best seen as a means to an end, with the ultimate aim to facilitate more effective protection of civilians in the contexts in which we work.
Here are some details about the HSS in South Sudan (as of January 2019):
- PAX works in close collaboration with two local partners: the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms (SSANSA) and the Assistance Mission for Africa (AMA) ;
- In both 2017 and 2018 we conducted surveys in four states across South Sudan: Jonglei, Eastern Lakes, Southern Liech (Unity) and Jubek ;
- So far, over 4200 respondents have shared with us their experiences, perceptions, and hopes for the future;
- We trained 80 enumerators and supervisors to serve on our data collection teams, and will continue to deepen their skills through more coaching and training in subsequent survey rounds. Participants receive extensive instruction in research ethics, listening skills, gender sensitivity, and digital security best practices, as well as in the technical aspects of the HSS methodology;
- In both years community security dialogues were organized in all four locations to present the initial survey findings, and subsequently have a dialogue with local community stakeholders about security issues that warrant follow-up;
- In all four locations a Community Security Committee (COMSECOM) is continuously working on issues and priorities identified during the community security dialogues. It is the COMSECOM’s primary task to develop an action plan on the identified priorities, and subsequently organize campaigns and other activities directed at working on these priorities;
- In 2019 we will return to all four locations for a new round of surveys and community engagement, while hoping to expand to other areas when funding and security allow.