WOMEN WORK FOR A FUTURE WITHOUT WAR IN SOUTH SUDAN
- South Sudan one of the toughest countries to be a woman
- Only 16% of girls over the age of 15 are literate in comparison to two fifths (40%) of males.
- Last year, 45% of girls were married before they turned 18 years old and 7% of girls under 15 were married.
South Sudan is one of the toughest countries to be a woman. A recent country study in South Sudan reveals that only a fifth (19%) of girls over the age of 15 are literate in comparison to two fifths (40%) of males. Last year, 45% of girls were married before they turned 18 years old and 7% of girls under 15 were married.
Many of South Sudan’s children have known nothing but war and suffering in a conflict that’s devastated millions of lives. Girls in South Sudan are growing up against the backdrop of constant conflict, battling low education rates and early marriage expectations.
Save the Children has been working with young women in South Sudan to help them change their futures with vocational training. These teenage girls have horrific tales to tell of unspeakable violence, but they have overcome the traumas of war and learnt new vocational skills through Save the Children’s Youth and Livelihoods project.
The programme has helped rehabilitate child soldiers and other young victims of conflict. It’s given young people aged 14-25 essential training, education and vocational skills including carpentry, welding and hairdressing, so they can begin rebuilding their lives and carve out a brighter future.
In the five years that Save the Children’s Youth Livelihood programme ran female enrolment increased by 40%. These girls are working to build a better future and could be the hope that this country so desperately needs.
Without equal opportunity, only half the population can contribute to the economy and help to raise the country out of conflict.
Full information and imagery can be found here:
Tina*, aged 17, trained as a welder to support her family. She says: ‘The conflict has hit us hard. In 2017 armed groups took everything – our food and clothes. Two of my cousins were killed as they tried to defend our homes….
“The first time I put on my overalls I was so happy. It was hard before, trying to do welding with one hand while holding your skirt with the other as you bent down! But now we feel totally free to get on with our work. Maybe no other girl has ever put on overalls and come to a place like this centre. I feel proud when I come here. This place is a place of freedom.’
1,616 young people have been through the programme since 2013. More than 80 per cent of last year’s cohort have already found stable employment in their chosen trades.
Tina* wants to start a welding business with her friend Maisie* and finish her schooling so she can study medicine and become a doctor.
Maisie* aged 15, is also learning welding at our training centre in South Sudan.
She says: ‘I have become a role model in the community. It’s a source of pride for my whole family that I am one of only two welding girls in the community. Hopefully more will join next year.’
Notes to editors:
About Save the Children
Save the Children stands side by side with children in the toughest places to be a child. We do whatever it takes to make sure they survive, get protection when they’re in danger, and have the chance to learn. Together, we fight for children every single day. Because every child should be able to make their mark on their world and help to build a better future.
About the conflict in South Sudan
Since the outbreak of fighting in December 2013, humanitarian needs in South Sudan have escalated to alarming levels. In 2017, the worst drought in decades has brought South Sudan to the brink of famine. Half of the population — many of them children — face emergency levels of hunger, and more than a million-risk starvation. The recently signed peace agreement (November 2018) provides an opportunity for South Sudan to recover from so many years of conflict. While the challenges are significant projects like Save the Children Youth Employment Project provides young people with the opportunity to rebuild their lives and support their communities to recover and to move forward.
About Save the Children’s work in South Sudan
Save the Children worked in South Sudan prior to its independence in 2011 and we remain on the front line of the international relief effort. We are the lead health and nutrition provider in six of 10 states in South Sudan. We run 61 primary health-care facilities with local partners, 45 outpatient therapeutic centers and 58 feeding program sites for infants and young children suffering from malnutrition. Our centers treat children with diarrhea, malaria and respiratory infections, which can be life threatening. Maternal health is supported through prenatal care, labor and delivery services and postnatal care services. We also offer preventive and public health programs including immunizations, education, hygiene and sanitation. We guard children and their families against communicable diseases and increase access to lifesaving drugs, protect children from harm and provide access to education. As cholera spreads, we are also opening cholera treatment units to save lives.
Extreme poverty fuels increase in child marriage – 66% live in poverty, 1.7 million people are currently facing emergency levels of hunger and girls as young as 13 describe pressure to marry https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/content/dam/global/reports/education-and-child-protection/war_on_children-web.pdf
Education rates are low with 27% of the adult population literate: 40% of men over 15 years. Early marriage is very common: 45% of girls married before they were 18 years old and 7% of girls were married when they were younger than 15 years old https://www.care.org/sites/default/files/documents/Gender%20in%20Brief%20South%20Sudan%20.pdf
Since the commencement of the programme 2013 to date 7877(2407 f) expressed interest in joining skills training. Only 1616(680 f) youth were enrolled and successfully completed 9 months skills training program in 9 trade areas (carpentry, tailoring, welding, masonry, computer training, beauty and saloon, bakery, haircutting (barbers) and agriculture. (2013; 141(62 female) 2014; 68(22 female) 2015; 71(38 female) 2016; 585(245 female) 2017; 457(211females) 2018; 294(102 female))
1 Early marriage is very common: 45% of girls married before they were 18 years old and 7% of girls were married when they were younger than 15 years old https://www.care.org/sites/default/files/documents/Gender%20in%20Brief%2...2 Early marriage is very common: 45% of girls married before they were 18 years old and 7% of girls were married when they were younger than 15 years old https://www.care.org/sites/default/files/documents/Gender%20in%20Brief%2...