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International Partnerships

COMPASS: Cross-border Opportunities for Migration, Peace, and Self-Sustenance in South Sudan and Uganda

This Lives in Dignity project aims to support over 70,000 displacement-affected people in the South Sudan - Uganda border region.

Uganda hosts up to 41% of the 2.3 million people displaced by the long-running civil war in its northern neighbour, South Sudan. Since the signing of a peace agreement in 2018, refugees have been moving back and forth across the South Sudan-Uganda border for safety, socio-economic and cultural reasons.

Most South Sudanese refugees from Northern Uganda return to Eastern Equatoria, a state in South Sudan that has areas that are relatively conflict-free. This project aims to support over 70 000 displacement-affected people in the region by enhancing the capacity of the affected population and local authorities to assess their needs, identify root causes and devise sustainable responses for peace and development. This project is being implemented through funding provided by the Lives in Dignity (LiD) Grant Facility.

Scope and objectives

The COMPASS project aims to enable refugees, members of host communities and other displacement-affected people to become productive members of society in Magwi, Ikwoto and Budi counties in Eastern Equatoria. It also targets members of the host communities themselves. The project will help participants to strengthen their resilience, socio-economic growth and development. This requires collaboration for improved livelihoods and income generation, and building safe communities to realise human rights. The process depends on and develops self-confidence, agency and a sense of social responsibility.

In Uganda, this project will equip refugees with diverse livelihood and protection skills and networks for a more sound, safe and sustainable voluntary return and reintegration in South Sudan. In South Sudan, the project develops and integrates returnee and host community resources to create sustainable livelihoods, peace and improved service delivery. The design of COMPASS brings people together across borders and sectors to jointly assess market opportunities and design appropriate, innovative responses. Skills building and sharing learning and advocacy inputs are key components of the project.

Expected results

Increased income generation and livelihood opportunities

  • Local innovators and experts conduct assessments to inform innovations
  • 1 770 livelihoods champions and displacement-affected innovators benefit from vocational education and training or skills development programmes
  • 1 100 innovators receive incubation services to pilot livelihoods initiatives

Increased feeling of safety and enjoyment of human rights

  • 205 local peace actors and duty bearers strengthened to support community peace and protection initiatives amongst returnees and host communities
  • Conflict and service provision assessments conducted by diverse conflict-affected populations and research institutes
  • 375 behaviour change champions trained to foster positive behavior change
  • 101 peaceful co-existence initiatives carried out to prevent, mitigate and respond to conflicts
  • Referral pathways established/strengthened and linked to expanded community-based protection structures
  • 195 immigration officers, police and authorities trained on cross-border protection and protecting human rights
  • 5 working agreements established and material support provided to improve safety at border crossings

Increased access to integrated basic services

  • Water, sanitation and hygiene committees can access alternative income-generation sources to fund improved water services
  • 11 797 displacement-affected people report gained or improved access to safe drinking water services
  • 275 teachers trained on classroom management and protection
  • 18 income generating initiatives started by schools


The EU-UNOPS Lives in Dignity Grant Facility was founded in 2020. The facility aims to promote development-oriented approaches and solutions to new, recurrent and protracted displacement crises. It funds innovative projects that support the resilience of communities and empower their members through livelihoods and basic services, making a concrete difference in the lives of displaced people.

This project will be jointly undertaken by an international-national NGO partnership. The Lutheran World Federation has a long history working in the Great Lakes Region and in the Horn of Africa, while the South Sudan-based Community Development Support Services works locally and has an intimate knowledge of the Eastern Equatoria region of the country. This project was chosen as it aims to leverage strategic cross-border markets, networks and partnerships to improve household income. The project will work also with farmers, entrepreneurs and innovators among the conflict-affected population, driving durable solutions from the ground up, rather than imposing them from above. The approach is community-led, and includes co-created and collaborative learning. The project also addresses the challenges that the displaced population face, while focusing on supporting refugees to return. Taking place in the border region, it also includes a border management component including authorities and includes a strong partnership with a research body.

Implementing organisations

Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and Community Development Support Services (CDSS).