Confronting Civil War: A Comparative Study of Household Assets Management in Southern Sudan
IDS Discussion Paper 381
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This paper examines the assets management strategies adopted by households exposed to prolonged civil war. The paper is based on fieldwork conducted in Bahr el Ghazal region, southern Sudan in 2000-1. The paper reviews and critiques risk management approaches in the context of civil war. It is argued that civil wars are caused by grievances and sustained by greed and economic agenda. In the context of Sudan the policies pursued by the ruling northern elite resulted in apparent regional socio-economic inequality with southern Sudan suffering most.
The findings of the fieldwork support the hypothesis that communities exposed to the risk of civil war consciously take rational courses of action over their assets to confront the adverse effects of the war. One apparent policy implication that arises from this is that communities exposed to civil war consciously manage their assets, it is possible to pursue poverty programmes during conflict in order to support the innovative household assets management strategies as well as addressing the underlying sources of grievance and horizontal inequality. While such programmes may not be relevant to communities exposed to endogenous counterinsurgency warfare, they are appropriate to support assets management strategies adopted by households exposed to exogenous counterinsurgency warfare.