JUBA – Tens of thousands of school children in some of South Sudan’s most food insecure areas are set to benefit from a €24.4 million (about US$27.5 million) European Union education in emergencies programme.
The contribution will provide hot daily meals to 75,000 school children, help train 1,600 teachers, equip learners with educational supplies and provide psycho-social support services for 40,000 children who are currently enrolled in schools and those out of school.
“The European Union believes in the right to quality and inclusive education for all. School children are the bright future of South Sudan. For these children that we assist, we hope that learning will help them to overcome inequalities, poverty, and deprivation of fundamental rights,” said the Ambassador of the EU to South Sudan, Dr. Sinead Walsh.
“Education is the key to long-term peace and we will continue to work with our partners, the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, UNICEF and WFP (World Food Program), teachers, parents and communities to realise our dream of quality education for all in South Sudan.”
The joint activities, built on UNICEF’s expertise in education and nutrition, as well as WFP’s experience in providing school meals, its presence in hard-to-reach areas and logistical capacity, will also help participating schools establish school gardens, where children can learn good farming practices, while supplementing their school meals with fresh produce.
2018 data in the Global Initiative on Out of School Children South Sudan Country Study estimated that up to 2.4 million children – the highest proportion of out of school children in the world, were not attending school in South Sudan. In just two years, the number of children not in school would increase by a further 200,000, to 2.6 million, if conditions in the country did not significantly improve, the study warned.
Years of conflict, displacement and economic collapse continue to deprive children of education, harming the future of the country.
UNICEF and WFP work together to provide life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable in some of the hardest-to-reach areas. Their respective activities rely on the generous support from donors, the commitment of their implementing partners and the cooperation and support of the Government of South Sudan. The EU is one of UNICEF and WFP’s largest donors worldwide.