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What We Do > Case Studies

Research and Impact Evaluation of Voluntary Service Overseas Programme in South Sudan

Year - 2012 - 2014

Client - Voluntary Service Overseas

Project Brief

The Department for International Development (DFID) awarded funding to Voluntary Services Organisation (VSO) to help the Government of South Sudan to:

  • strengthen security and access to justice and preventing conflict;
  • improve service delivery and health and education to transform opportunities for a generation of girls;
  • support to improve food security, create jobs and promote wealth creation;
  • build accountable, capable and responsive government with a strong focus on tackling corruption; and
  • stand ready to provide humanitarian assistance in response to needs.

In 2012, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) South Sudan contracted our wholly owned subsidiary, IPE Triple Line  to conduct research into the value of volunteering in South Sudan. This two-year research project covered three goal areas: Health, Education and Governance.

The programme was based around the placement of highly skilled international volunteers whose placements were designed to build capacity of their South Sudanese counterparts in the workplace through on the job practice, coaching and mentoring in the Health, Education and Governance. IPE Triple Line was asked to provide a rigorous evidence base for VSO on the value of volunteering over a period of two years.




Our Approach

IPE Triple Line's team of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) specialists worked with VSO to research and analyse the value of volunteering programmes and the impact of placements. We used ladders of change and NVivo software to code interviews with volunteers and the organisations

Our research provided evidence on:

  1. the effectiveness of volunteering for development in South Sudan
  2. the added value of volunteering in fragile states
  3. how VSO has become an important and recognized oragnisation in South Sudan
  4. how VSO's approach to volunteering sets a strong example of how others can support a development agenda owned and driven by South Sudanese organisations

Key Achievements

The focus of IPE Triple Line's work was to provide evidence and lessons on the value of volunteering in South Sudan. Through our research we were able to show:

  1. he effectiveness of VSO's overall approach in achieving change and what factors encouraged or hindered success Identifying the areas in which VSO's contribution has been most effective -.soft skills, changes in power relationships, volunteer attributes, hard skills etc.;
  2. whether VSO's approach can be considered cost-effective in relation to other models;
  3. to what extent VSO's contribution has had an impact on the delivery of other donor supported programmes.

Our report deals with the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ development outcomes of VSO's programmes in education, health and governance: It identifies the main attributes that are unique to volunteering and that help generate the hard and soft development outcomes. It shows the impact volunteering for development can have in the post-conflict context of South Sudan.

The research project has generated learning that is relevant to assess the impact of volunteering and other forms of work placements in South Sudan and other post-conflict situations.

Client Feedback

‘The research provides a good analysis of the complexities we faced when delivering the VSO SS programme and in particular, how those complexities were overcome by staff, volunteers and partners ... one of the highlights of this research was the excellent relationship that developed between myself and the TL team and the VSO staff – all of which contributed to a very conducive environment from which to put learning into practice. ’

- John Stops - former Country Director VSO South Sudan


‘Thank you for such a positive report. I really hope the DFID team globally and in South Sudan read it and allow the programme to reopen’

- Alice Castillejo, former VSO Sudan Country Director, South Sudan


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