This paper reviews large-scale humanitarian operations in South Sudan, focusing on what lessons can be learnt from Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS). The purpose of this paper is not so much to present the distilled learning from the experience of an earlier era, but to attempt to put past efforts in context to promote discussion and innovation now. After the summary, the second section of the paper is a brief introduction to Operation Lifeline Sudan – what it was and what it grew out of – followed by a brief summary of overall evaluations of OLS and its impact. The third section is a more detailed breakdown of the major criticisms of OLS, focusing particularly on its unintended impacts and outcomes. The fourth section highlights some more positive outcomes, focusing particularly on learning and adaptation over time. The final section is an attempt to distil some key ideas arising from the experience and put them more fully at the service of the current humanitarian response.
Maxwell, D.; Santschi, M.; Gordon, R. Looking back to look ahead? Reviewing key lessons from Operation Lifeline Sudan and past humanitarian operations in South Sudan. SLRC Working Paper 24. Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium, Overseas Development Institute, London, UK (2014) 26 pp.