This report moves beyond abstract assumptions and global-level debates to understand the reality of the struggles and strategies of local and national organisations during complex emergencies. We focus on the histories, politicoeconomic dynamics and everyday realities of South Sudanese NGOs during South Sudan’s armed conflicts and intermittent periods of peace over the last four decades. We draw on consultations with over 200 people in six sites across South Sudan, including urban and rural areas, and sites controlled by rebel forces as well as sites controlled by the government. We consider South Sudanese NGOs’ institutional development and funding sources, as well as the backgrounds and motivations of their founders and staff. The report focuses primarily on the perspectives and experiences of those working for local and national NGOs, as well as local communities, authorities and former staff, thus bringing these local perspectives to the global debate on localisation.