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South Sudan is the world’s newest nation, and one of the world’s most fragile states. Years of war and violence mean education in South Sudan has been severely disrupted for generations. Only 27% of adults are literate, and prospects for children are dire.

*Mary’s family have experienced repeated trauma. Before the 2016 Civil War, Mary’s family lost their house and possessions in a fire. During the war, she was threatened by gunmen, the family property was looted, and Mary lost her business when their town was destroyed. Mary and her family moved to a small tukul at an overcrowded United Nations Protection of Civilian’s site. Without any qualifications, Mary began teaching 165 children at a primary school. In 2018 she enrolled on the teacher training course.

Mary’s pupils are already benefiting from her new skills and knowledge. And, with a teaching qualification, she hopes to improve her family’s standard of living and earn enough to pay school fees so her children can attend school.

What are the challenges for South Sudan?

In South Sudan 70% of children aged between 6 and 17 have never set foot in a classroom. Only 10% of children manage to complete primary education – one of the worst completion rates in the world.

Global Care is working for change. We believe education is one of the best tools for breaking the poverty cycle, and can do so within one generation. However, children hoping to access education in South Sudan face many barriers to success.

One of the biggest challenges is a lack of trained teachers. We are working with the rural Diocese of Wau, which initially had only two trained teachers across their 13 primary schools, and a group of seven trainees. Without good teachers, no children can receive the education they desperately need.

This is compounded by the violence and unrest militia groups bring to these poor communities. Thousands of young people join militia groups every year in the absence of any other source of livelihood, creating a vicious cycle of destruction.

What is Global Care doing to fight child poverty in South Sudan?

Working with the rural Diocese of Wau, we began training teachers. Teacher training is the fastest way of bringing better quality education to larger numbers of children and young people .

We put young people who had completed secondary school through a three-year teacher-training programme. Trainee teachers taught in the mornings, and trained in the afternoons. Through the programme, we saw immediate improvements to the quality of education.

The teacher training programme also addressed another huge challenge – providing viable employment for young people. By giving an alternative to joining the militia, we hoped to begin building peace for families and communities who have experienced so much suffering.

The trainees are drawn from government and church schools across the five dioceses making up Northern Bahr El Ghazal Internal Province, and are training at St John’s Theological College in Wau.

The first 50 teachers supported by Global Care completed training in December 2020. The project has now entered a 12-month review phase throughout 2021. This allows us to look at what worked and what could have been better in the existing project plan. Together with our partners in South Sudan, we can then make decisions about the most impactful next step for this region.

How can you help?

Why not partner our project in Wau? Regular gifts to this project enable the team to continue raising educational standards, giving children a way out of poverty – opening up opportunities for a better future for the whole of South Sudan.