Update on South Sudan

Posted Wednesday July 20, 2016 by Adrienne Gregory

Update on South Sudan

As fighting erupted again in Juba, South Sudan, our work supporting schools and classes for children and adults across South Sudan continues.

The eruption of violence between the armies of Salva Kiir and Riek Machar in Juba last week caused the death of over 300 people and added another 36,000 to the 1.6 million people displaced in South Sudan.

Providing assistance for the millions impacted by this conflict, was further complicated by the evacuation of international staff and local civilians from Juba – the very people who are needed to help aid reach those affected by this violence.

In the face of this great need, we are particularly proud of our locally-based approach and the dedicated staff on the ground who keep education going in South Sudan despite instability. Even while our work in Juba is disrupted, schools and classes continue with the support of Africa Educational Trust in Western Equatoria, Lakes and Jonglei states.

ss update 2Background

It was hoped the peace agreement between President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar in August 2015 would be the start of peace and recovery for South Sudan, the world’s newest country.

A key aspect of this agreement was Machar’s return to Juba to help lead the transitional government. Machar’s return was greatly delayed, due to his concerns about security within the Juba region. In April 26, Machar returned, with an agreed upon military force and was sworn in as Vice-President.

Last week, days before the country’s independence day, a skirmish between Kirr and Machar’s troops at a check point, erupted into fighting between the military factions that spread across Juba killing an estimated 300 people and causing tens of thousands to flee the capital.

A cease-fire was agreed by both leaders as of last Tuesday, July 12th. However, international staff and many local civilians have left the city and reports of looting, sporadic violence against civilians and general unrest continue.

Education can continue

ss update 1Many leaders around the world are waking up to the knowledge that education cannot wait for conflict to end and for peace to come. This is something that Africa Educational Trust has always known to be true, and our locally-driven approach means that we can continue to support building education systems and providing learning to those who missed out on school.

Our staff and their families based in Juba have left the city and are safe. Juba, is however, just one of four regional centres of operation in South Sudan and education continues in these regions despite this conflict. Here are some of the activities that have continued to run these past weeks:

  • Our library in Yambio, Western Equatoria and our women’s learning centre in Rumbek, Lakes State, are continuing to offer English language and IT classes to returnees and displaced people.
  • In the same states, trainers involved in our Speak-Up adult basic literacy program have been meeting this past month to reflect and share on their experiences as trainers, help each-other solve problems and expand on their successes.
  • Secondary School Teachers across all states involved in our QISE teacher training programme continue their remote studies and are in the final semester of their training.
  • School Mothers in Lakes State have started a course in entrepreneurship and vocational training. This will allow these local women to support themselves, even as they act as mentors and role models for local school girls.

We are very thankful to the dedicated trainers, teachers and staff we work with, whose commitment to education does not waver. They have said to us that education is the key to a peaceful and prosperous South Sudan and we will continue to work with them to realise this goal.

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