South Sudan: South Sudan: Multi-Sector Needs Assessment – Ajoung Thok and Pamir Refugee Camps (December 2017)


The communities in Ajoung Thok and Pamir camps are living in a protracted refugee emergency now in its sixth year, exacerbated by ongoing conflict both in their country of origin, Sudan, and the host country. At the time of the assessment approximately 50,180 people were believed to reside in the two camps. The area in which these camps are located is experiencing an extended period of relative stability, with no violent community-level conflict between host and refugee populations. This stability could be conducive to promoting sustainable and durable solutions.

In this context, the refugee response in former Unity State, coordinated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in partnership with the Commissioner for Refugee Affairs (CRA), and implementing Nongovernmental Organisation (NGO) partners, aims to ensure the protection rights of the refugee population and to provide them with equal and dignified access to basic services.

Between 31 May and 16 June 2017 REACH and Danish Refugee Council (DRC) teams conducted a joint multisector needs assessment (MSNA) in Ajoung Thok and Pamir refugee camps in Unity, South Sudan. The main objective of this assessment was to assess the level of access to these basic services, and to create a profile of overall living conditions, with the aim of informing humanitarian planning and response. Quantitative data were collected using a household survey across all inhabited camp blocks (68 blocks in Ajoung Thok, 30 blocks in Pamir).

The final sample contained 408 surveys for Ajoung Thok, and 386 for Pamir, allowing for a 95% confidence interval and a 5% margin of error at the camp level. The surveys also included a direct observation component and were complemented by four focus group discussions (FGDs): one composed of female heads of household (HoHHs) and one for male HoHHs in each camp. Finally, UNITAR’s Operational Satellites Applications Programme (UNOSAT) conducted a satellite imagery shelter count analysis to find the total number of shelters in each camp.

The assessment points to the following key findings:

  • Food Security and Livelihoods: Food security was a pressing concern for both camps. That is to say, the food consumption score (FCS) was below the acceptable threshold in Ajoung Thok (FCS not reported for Pamir) and an overwhelming majority of households were using one or more food-consumption coping strategies or livelihood coping strategies, reducing portion sizes and limiting the number of meals in a day being the most common. Furthermore, markets and sources of income were insufficient to meet the needs of the camp populations, and the General Food Distribution (GFD)1 was of insufficient quantity to bridge one distribution to the next, generally meeting a household’s needs for three weeks instead of four.
  • Shelter: Needs were generally being met in a way that reflects the protracted emergency phase of the crisis, with most households living in emergency shelters, with provided materials, that they build and improve on themselves. The minimum standard of 3.5m2 covered living space per person is exceeded in both camps and the camps were generally well spaced and not over crowded with shelters. Flooding, while it has occasionally occurred in the camps since their establishment, typically subsided within a week. Fire (uncontrolled) incidents have affected 18% of Ajoung Thok households (4% in Pamir), reportedly due to strong winds in the dry season, unsupervised children, highly flammable shelter materials and prevalent use of firewood on three-stone cooking stoves rather than charcoal and / or energy saving (clay) stoves.
  • WASH: Water was generally accessible with a tap stand in all but one block. A majority of households were found to have 10 litres or more potable water storage capacity per household member (67% in Ajoung Thok, 68% in Pamir). The vast majority of households reported their water collection round trip took less than 30 minutes (99% in both camps), with the large majority reporting an even shorter time of under 15 minutes. Sanitation needs were largely being met though not all households had a private latrine. The data points to a need for improved access to hygiene items and hygiene messaging / promotion, with only 25% of households in Ajoung Thok owning soap at the time of data collection (32% in Pamir).
  • Education: Access to education services was a major pull factor for movement to the camps, and the proportion of households reporting non-attendance of children in the household was low (10% for boys and 6% for girls in Pamir, 4% for boys in Ajoung Thok and 3% for girls). Reasons for non-attendance were varied and each only reported by a few households, with the exception of Pamir camp where 6% of households with a child not attending school cited distance to the school as the reason for non-attendance.

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