Conflict and Connectivity in South Sudan Research Project

Summary of Project:

This project broadly examines the relationship between conflict and connectivity in South
Sudan; the effect of conflict on connectivity and the ways in which phone and Internet
connectivity influence conflict. It will focus on how people access public information and how
they communicate with each other during conflict and in the absence of conflict. Specifically,
the accessibility, affordability, and availability of phone and Internet networks to the people in
South Sudan and how these factors vary between 2013 and 2019. The scope of the work
focuses on three main regions in South Sudan (Juba, Yei and Malakal) and the Rhino Refugee
Camp in Northern Uganda. These areas were selected because they were affected by the
conflict at various times during the 6 years. The regions are also very geographically,
economically, and ethnically different from each other; this will allow us to measure the impact
in various locations and see the similarities and differences in how connectivity changes based
on the conflict.
Preliminary conversations with experts and a look at literature show that there are five key
factors that collectively determine the accessibility, affordability and availability of mobile and
Internet networks which in turn shapes the nature of conflict and connectivity in South Sudan.
These factors include infrastructure, population density, fluctuating economy, third party
interference and social media. To fully understand the nature of conflict and connectivity, it is
imperative to look at these factors in a comprehensive way that can inspire practical and
effective calls to action. This research project therefore intends to tease out the various
connections and relationships among these factors and broadly demonstrate how they
collectively shape conflict and connectivity in South Sudan. The main goal in this project is to
demonstrate the ways in which conflict relates to connectivity in order to draw attention to the
mechanisms of control that are in place to influence people’s access to information during
conflict and the absence of conflict.


  • To find out how conflict affects connectivity in South Sudan and conversely howconnectivity shapes conflict
  • To find out how the Internet has empowered and/or disempowered political actors in South Sudan
  • To examine how increased use of digital media has impacted the political landscape inSouth Sudan
  • To draw attention to the centrality of connectivity in peacebuilding among communities