The gov’t and the UK have launched the second phase of the Girls’ Education South Sudan program or GESS, worth £70million of aid on Wednesday in Juba.
Funded by UK aid, with the Department for International Development, the program will deliver £70million of aid over the course of 5 years.
GESS was first launched in 2012 before the crisis. A 5 years program which began in 2013 up to 2018.
The Minister of General Education and Instruction, Deng Deng Hoc Yai who officially launched said he is delighted to announce the start of the second phase of the program.
“We must now continue the important work of GESS 1 that provided critical support to the education sector,” the minister has stated.
“During the first phase, the program reached almost 2 million citizens and helped to change the narrative of girls’ education in South Sudan. We thank the UK government for their continued support and pledge to work alongside UK aid to build on past success,”
In a statement seen by Eye Radio, the “Girls’ Education South Sudan 2” program will build on what was achieved during the first phase of the program, which reached over 3,400 schools with cash grants, 295,000 girls with cash transfers and 2 million South Sudanese citizens with radio broadcasts.
It also stated that this phase of the program will see a larger emphasis on low secondary school enrolment, especially the drop-out and retention of girls, as well as a focus on ensuring that children with disabilities can access education.
Speaking to Eye Radio on Wednesday, the Team leader of GESS, Akuja De Mabior encouraged the parents to send their children with disabilities to school.
“The parents and communities should not be ashamed of their children with disabilities and send them to school because they have a right just like everybody else,” said Akuja.
“I stress systematically because during phase one we’ve done it at an ad hoc level but for GESS, the girls education South Sudan phase two wants to do it more systematically to ensure children with disabilities are catered for effectively as part of the program to ensure that they can enroll, they can stay in school, they can learn effectively and they can complete their primary and secondary education,” she told Eye Radio.
The UK aid program lead, Gary Preece said the UK government will continue working with the ministry of education to transform the education sector in the country.
“We are proud to continue working alongside the Ministry of Education to continue this transformative package of support to the education sector. This is part of UK aid’s commitment to giving children the best possible start in life, especially hard-to-reach girls,” said Gary Preece.
“Education has the force to empower marginalized girls and women to lead change within schools and their wider communities, playing a transformative role in post-conflict recovery. The UK is investing in South Sudan to ensure that a generation of children doesn’t miss out on an education,” the UK aid program lead official said.
Catherine Palmier, Head of Cooperation at the Embassy of Canada to South Sudan also expressed Canada’s support for the GESS program, to which it will be contributing up to an additional 15 million Canadian Dollars (CAD) over three years.
The GESS program has several activities that support both girls and boys except for the cash transfer which supports only girls. However, if affordable, GESS considers to include boys in the cash transfer based on the numbers.
The program will also support the new curriculum by placing a heavy focus on the quality of education, improving learning outcomes at both primary and secondary levels across the country.
Alongside improvements to the quality of education, cash grants to schools will continue to allow school management bodies to identify and improve upon areas of great need.
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