GRID3 data improve accuracy of vulnerability survey in South Sudan
South Sudan’s urban population has long been highly mobile, with conflict, natural disasters, livelihoods, access to services, and other drivers causing significant fluctuations in where people live and for how long. COVID-19 has only exacerbated populations’ vulnerability to these drivers; measuring these changes (and improving the understanding of their impact) gives service providers a tool for informing interventions aimed at reaching the people most exposed to risks.
In recent months, a consortium of governmental and international bodies including the International Organization for Migration, World Food Programme, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations initiated the latest round of the multi-sector Food Security and Nutrition Monitoring System (FSNMS+) survey in South Sudan (see the previous urban assessment here). The survey evaluates the humanitarian needs of populations across the country by measuring a variety of indicators, including how COVID-19 affected mobility; the impact of sanitation-related measures that have been taken to reduce transmission of COVID-19; and how economic shocks related to the pandemic have affected livelihoods and economic vulnerability.
Putting GRID3 data to use
The survey uses population estimates produced by the GRID3 team at WorldPop, University of Southampton, to calculate population per enumeration area (i.e. the number of people in a geographic area that is canvassed by a survey enumerator). Whereas the survey originally used nationwide census projections from 2008 to produce updated population estimates for host populations in the country’s enumeration areas, the GRID3 data provided a more recent and more precise picture of the relevant populations, helping to improve the accuracy of the survey’s sampling frame. A better sampling frame can improve the accuracy of the collected data within it, which in turn has the potential to make development interventions using that data more effective.
Additionally, FSNMS+ partners anticipate that settlement extents and settlement points produced by GRID3’s One Settlement Map initiative can be a useful resource for future surveys. An effort centred around using the local knowledge of South Sudanese GIS experts to improve a consolidated settlement point layer, the initiative’s products can provide a secondary source of data that would serve as a reference to bolster the accuracy of other datasets (and would also likely inform maps that will be used by enumeration teams).
Overall, the results of the FSNMS+ will inform the 2022 humanitarian assistance agenda of the survey’s partners.