South Sudan has for decades been a crucible of experimentation in the field of humanitarianism in situations of conflict. Humanitarian operations have been critical in saving lives, providing essential medical care, documenting the plight of South Sudan’s people, and connecting South Sudanese with the international community. Aid operations have also become woven into the daily lives, languages and cultures of South Sudanese people. Both scholars and humanitarian practitioners need to continue to explore and respond to these complex dynamics.

This paper offers reflections from a panel of twelve prominent South Sudanese scholars, academics and activists, exploring humanitarianism in South Sudan across four thematic areas: accountability, activism, authority and access. It concludes with recommendations for humanitarian actors to consider in their efforts to design and implement programmes in a highly fluid context.