Ikwoto is a quite unique county due to its level of heterogeneity, largely caused by the fact that communities are locked-in either in the highlands or lowlands / rainy or dry areas, specialized as they are in different livelihood practices; in contrast, in other counties of South Sudan, geographically fairly homogenous, people show similar livelihood patterns and tend to move across lands. County average indicators, therefore, are not well suited to describe Ikwoto.
FARMING PRODUCTION AND FARMING
Communities show striking different levels of agricultural productivity, only partially related to climate conditions (the combination of established farmer associations and “diffuse” community governance provides a strong competitive advantage too). Bira payam, Geria mountains (Hatire payam) and Mountains (other communities scattered around the highlands belonging to different communities) are the main food surplus producers. There, both private and common lands are cultivated in larger plots. In the rest of Former Ikwoto farmers are engaged in either subsistence (Ikwoto, Isohe, Imotong payams) or sub- subsistence agriculture (Chahari, Chorokol).
Communities in Chahari and Chorokol payam show both limited access to consumer markets and reduced exchanges among community members, almost exclusively in the form of barter. This suggest a mix of lack of economic means and limited production of valuable products, i.e. signs of a severely constrained sub-subsistence economy.
The largest contributor to food security in the county (farmers selling to locals) consists of the farmers located in Mountains, which receive the least support for agricultural development; on the other hand, farmers in Bira and Geria Mountains sell up to 40% of their products outside the county. Although pests and diseases are the most lamented problem by cultivators, especially by surplus producers, no support is provided to address it.
Livestock production is severely constrained by limited access to sale markets. As a result, the largest community of livestock breeders in the county, in Chahari, is among the poorest, and suffers the highest rate of migration.
Limited access to sale markets, more in general, is the main constraints to agriculture and livestock farming: the inability to reach urban markets and make a profit translates into a weak incentive for farmers to increase their level of production.
FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION
In Former Ikwoto more than 2,000 HHs suffer severe hunger, the majority of them being located in Chorokol and Chahari payam, and to a slighter extent in the lowlands bordering Uganda (Losite, and the southern section of Ikwoto payam). Chahari would have registered a much higher number of food insecure households had not occurred a general WFP food distribution in the
weeks before the survey. Nutrition figures in the different areas of the county mirrors food security patterns. 40% of women do not exclusively breastfeed their 0 to 12 months old babies.
The overall level of vulnerability is high, as coping strategies have been largely exhausted: people have long tapped into such mechanisms, and are left with very limited assets. Around 80 % of HHs borrowed money to attend immediate basic needs.
IDP and MIGRATION PATTERNS
Out of 40,000 HHs, 9,000 host IDPs (4 people on average); 1,500 whole HHs were displaced/ relocated into new communities in the last two years. The inflows of people affect especially Urban Ikwoto and Geria Mountains, where 40% of HHs are either newly arrived (last 2 years) or hosting IDPs. People inflow has continued throughout 2017, increasingly targeting villages on the way to Ugandan. Outflows data suggest that many IDP, after sometime, leave their hosting communities and continue their journey. Urban Ikwoto, where both inflow and outflow is significant (together with insecurity), is the place where conflicts over limited resources may create attrition between hosting and migrating communities.
High incidence of fever/malaria (one-fifth of children 6 to 59 months old); 90% of HHs do not have mosquito nets. 96% of HHs does not provide more liquids to children suffering diarrhea.
MATERNAL CARE AND EDUCATION
Maternal care reaches around two-third of women during pregnancy, and one-third after delivery; school enrollment is at around 45% for people from 7 to 15 years of age, and 28% for 3 to 5 years old babies. 40% of pupils have been send back home at some point due to lack of teachers. In Mountains and Chorokol hills, where 1/3 of the total population live, maternal health and education coverage is two to three times lower compared to the county average.
CRIME AND INSECURITY
Crime and insecurity affect mostly Urban Ikwoto and surrounding areas; remote communities fear exiting their villages, which in turn limits even further their access to markets.
Forced marriage and beating are among the most significant threats to women; 11% of HHs reported sexual abuses on children in the last 12 months, abuses almost invariably not reported to police/CSO/social workers. 18% of children are often sad, and do not play with their peers.
Humanitarian support does not reach much of the remote, most-in-need communities, especially Chorokol hills, Mountains and Southern Ikwoto near the Uganda border. Only 3% of HHs has knowledge of intervention targeting criteria.
SHELTER, WASH, and NFI
Sanitation is precarious, with 92% HHs defecating on open-air and 85% without any kind of soap at home. In Kidepo lowlands, Chorokol hills and Geria lowlands additional rooms may be needed to accommodate cooking and animals (although insecurity may explain why people host animals at home at night). In Mountain, a large share of the population lives in rented house, suggesting the presence of an underclass of peasants and a higher level of inequality (a trend confirmed by the more unequal level of food security and access to education recorded in these communities).
Across Former Ikwoto is the Boma chief (Nyampara) who leads community works, 50% of the times, or the Boma sub-chief (Mukungu), 30%. Similar figures are recorded when HHs are asked with which political, religious or community leader they speak regularly. Payam administrators and their employees, who are arguably less numerous, are not much involved in community works (2.2% of the time) neither interact frequently with the population (15% of the time).