South Sudan's Internally Displaced Persons Find Hope in Voluntary Return with IOM Support

Wau, South Sudan – Hundreds of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Western Bahr el Ghazal are finding a path back to normalcy thanks to a joint effort by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the government of South Sudan, and other partners. The initiative is helping IDPs who wish to voluntarily return to their home communities after years spent living in camps due to conflict.

While displacement remains a major challenge in South Sudan, IOM's Durable Solutions Project, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, offers hope for a different future. The project empowers IDPs in Naivasha and Hai Masna camps to choose their own path, including returning home, integrating locally, or relocating elsewhere.

"This project helps IDPs make informed decisions about their future," explains Gregoire Goodstein, IOM South Sudan Acting Chief of Mission. “It was designed to aid the implementation of a road map prepared by the Governor of Western Bahr El Ghazal State to support the populations to end their displacement situation.”

IOM has thus far assisted over 2,000 individuals to return to their chosen locations in Wau, Jur River, and Raja Counties. Returning IDPs go through an eight-step process that includes verifying identity, receiving multi-purpose cash assistance, and deactivating their IDP registration. Some even choose to disassemble their shelters to bring materials to their new homes.

Damiano Peter, an IDP who opted to return home after years in Naivasha camp, expressed his gratitude: “I have been staying here since 2016 when war broke out in Wau. Now time has come for me to leave the camp, I am excited to start my life anew. The support IOM has given me will enable me to start a small-scale business to continue providing for my family”, he said.

For those choosing not to return, the government of Western Bahr El Ghazal state is facilitating their permanent integration within the areas of Naivasha and Hai Masna. IOM remains committed to supporting all displacement-affected communities, including host communities, by promoting self-reliance and economic integration through land rights, housing, access to social services, and livelihood opportunities.

"We hope this project becomes a model for other regions across South Sudan, showcasing how to transition from humanitarian aid to long-term sustainable development," concludes Mr. Goodstein.

IOM works alongside various partners in this initiative, including UN agencies, humanitarian groups, and state and community leaders.

For more information, please contact Nabie Loyce in IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 912380115, Email: