The South Sudanese protection environment is replete with numerous protection risks which can be broadly grouped into violations of physical integrity, property and liberty. The political conflict has also disintegrated into subnational violence, increased cattle raiding, revenge killing, child abduction, gender-based violence (GBV), culminating in the loss of lives of civilians including children. Furthermore, South Sudan is a strongly patriarchal society, which reinforces gender inequalities affecting the rights and protection of women and girls. As is usually the case in conflict affected communities, persons with disabilities, elderly persons, pregnant and lactating women, female and child headed-households, adolescent girls and young men, and children are often at highest risk of protection violations.

Through a rights-based approach, the Protection and Inclusion unit responds to these protection issues through advocacy, direct intervention and capacitating local communities and partners in South Sudan to mitigate and address the root causes of these protection risks. In addition, the protection unit strives to mainstream protection and gender equality principles into the programming and interventions of all the other programme units of IOM South Sudan; this includes IOM’s commitment to address Gender-Based Violence in Crisis.

Protection and GBV Mainstreaming

The unit conducts protection and GBV mainstreaming training sessions for other IOM programme units. These trainings focus on the principles of protection such as prioritise safety and avoid causing harm, meaningful access, accountability and transparency. As a follow up to the training sessions, the unit monitors and provides technical support to the interventions of other IOM programme units such as CCCM, Shelter and Settlement and WASH to ensure that these principles are observed at field level.

PSEA Trainings

The unit conducts and technical supports Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) trainings for all IOM South Sudan employees. These trainings focus on IOM’s code of conduct, the six core principles of PSEA and policy of preventing PSEA. The unit also supports in assessing risks of SEA for the mission and establishing risk mitigation measures.


The Protection and Inclusion unit in collaboration with the Migration Management Unit work closely with the South Sudanese government to support cases of human trafficking in the country as well as build capacities around trafficking. 

Community-Based Protection

Conflict destroys communities’ protective structures. As communities resettle and recover, it is crucial that local community structures are urgently supported to reduce and resolve disputes and foster protection of populations. The Protection and Inclusion unit is in the process of establishing Community Protection Committees (CPCs) in different parts of the country. These CPCs are community groups which are capacitated by the unit to identify, refer and respond to protection issues within their respective communities. The CPCs are capacitated to identify protection red flags, make referrals, support in protection monitoring and provided with knowledge and information on protection mainstreaming, GBV risk mitigation, Human Rights, Child Protection mainstreaming, and Disability Inclusion. 

Disability Inclusion

The unit works closely with persons with disabilities in South Sudan through providing direct assistance in the form of assistive devices such as wheelchairs, white canes and walking sticks. In addition, the Protection and Inclusion unit also works very closely with local organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) in South Sudan. The unit focuses on building the capacity of these OPDs in tackling the challenges which the persons with disabilities encounter in their daily lives. Furthermore, the unit works closely with other IOM sectors in mainstreaming disability inclusion through capacity building and training sessions on Disability Inclusion and encouragement to work closely with Organizations for Persons with Disabilities.

Response services for Gender-Based Violence 

IOM works to build the capacity of national partners to provide essential services to support the recovery of gender-based violence survivors. This includes providing safe community entry points, through the operation of women and girl’s friendly spaces, providing GBV case management and psychosocial support as well as strengthening community and service provider referral systems in line with GBV guiding principles. 

Prevention of Gender-Based Violence

IOM is committed to addressing the root causes of GBV; tackling gender inequality and harmful gender norms which underpin such forms of violence. IOM works on behaviour change and social norms interventions, especially working with men and boys to promote positive masculinities and accountability for the rights of women and girls.

Women’s empowerment

IOM works to ensure positive role models, confidence building, access to skills building and equitable employment opportunities for women, both at the community level and within IOM and the wider humanitarian response in South Sudan. This aims to contribute to the Government’s commitment to 35% women’s participation in governance as well as IOM’s institutional commitments on gender equality. 

Closing the Gender Gap in the Humanitarian WASH Sector in South Sudan