The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) was established in 1956 by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Originally called Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service (SAWS), the agency became Seventh-day Adventist World Service in 1973 before changing name to the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in 1984.

 ADRA, by then known as SAWS, started its operations with disaster relief support before broadening its mission to long-term development projects in the mid-1970s. In 1997, ADRA was granted General Consultative Status by the United Nations, the highest status given to nongovernmental organizations. This allowed the agency the opportunity to participate in the international community on a broader scale.

ADRA South Sudan’s work dates back to 1984 where we started serving the people of the current South Sudan from Khartoum. Due to a change in the Government of Sudan policies, all International NGOs were restricted from operating in the then Southern Sudan from Khartoum losing all access to the vulnerable populations residing in Southern Sudan. As a result an emergency plan was devised in mid-1993 to serve the war-affected people in Southern Sudan through a cross-border operation based in Kenya which allowed resumption of activities in 1994.

After the Government of the Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, ADRA South Sudan was propositioned for relocation into Southern Sudan and therefore registered as ADRA Sudan – Southern Sector. Subsequent to South Sudan’s Independence in 2011, ADRA Sudan- Southern Sector became ADRA South Sudan.