South Sudan, Republic of

Reaching children in South Sudan

The situation of children in the world's youngest country

© UNICEF/NYHQ2014-1530/Ose
Children forced to flee their homes due to conflict in South Sudan write on slates while attending class at a makeshift school in Kule camp in Ethiopia.


If more is not done, we are in danger of witnessing a repetition of the crises that emerged in Somalia and the Horn of Africa three years ago, when early warnings of extreme hunger and escalating malnutrition went largely unheeded until official famine levels were announced. South Sudan’s children cannot wait for such an announcement.

The scale of the crisis in the world’s youngest country is staggering. Since the violence erupted on 15 December 2013, almost 750,000 children have been internally displaced and more than 320,000 are living as refugees. Hundreds of thousands of children have lost months of education in school, even as schools are starting to reopen. Children are still reported as being used by armed forces and groups in the conflict. With traditional social structures damaged, children are also increasingly vulnerable to violence and to sexual abuse and exploitation. Learn more about the situation in South Sudan 

Read more about UNICEF’s work and South Sudan’s needs

Jump to:
Information in French
Information in Spanish
Information in Arabic
For more information

Perspectives, actions and accounts of UNICEF's team and partners in the region working on the behalf of children

Young first-time photographers shine a light on South Sudan’s strife
29 March 2016 – In times of conflict, the psychological toll is especially hard on children. But they often have no way to explain what they are going through.

Tears of joy as children reunited with their parents in South Sudan
16 March 2016

Escaping the Horrors of Home
7 March 2016 – Meet some of the thousands who have fled fighting in previously peaceful provinces in South Sudan, where militia are accused of killing, raping and looting.

Rebuilding children’s lives after a sudden burst of violence
1 March 2016 – Before there wasn’t much. Bamboo walls, a thatched roof, a dirt playground. But the simple classroom in a camp for people who fled their homes after civil war erupted in South Sudan in 2013 served as more than just a place to learn.

Back to learning
23 February 2016 – In South Sudan, a massive push is underway to bring the chance to learn to more than half a million out-of-school children.

School opens in South Sudan
24 January 2016 – Students in Zereda are overjoyed with their new school, built thanks to a kind donation by Goodwill Ambassador Tetsuko Kuroyanagi and the Government of Japan.

Some mothers forced to feed children leaves and grass
23 January 2016 – Two years of civil war has torn South Sudan apart.

Keeping girls alive with primary education
8 January 2016 – If all girls completed primary education, maternal mortality would fall by 66%. Let's #FightUnfair.

Nyayow's First Day of School
5 January 2016 – Do you remember your first day of school? For 5-year old Nyayow, it is full of hopes and dreams for a better future.

UNHCR and UNICEF highlight unrelenting children’s crisis
NAIROBI, Kenya, 15 December 2015 – The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today that the children of South Sudan remain some of the most vulnerable in the world.

Changing harmful social norms
South Sudan, 7 December 2015 – How do you make long-lasting change for women and girls in South Sudan? By changing the harmful social norms that lead to gender inequality.

UNICEF Advocate Ishmael Beah witnesses impact of conflict on children in South Sudan
JUBA, South Sudan/NAIROBI, Kenya/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 27 November 2015 – Continued violence and the impact of brutal fighting has taken an increasingly heavy toll on the lives of children in South Sudan, Ishmael Beah said today, as the UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by War wrapped up a one week visit to the country.

Saved in South Sudan
27 November 2015 – Nyajime Guet in South Sudan, slowly recovering from severe acute malnutrition, gets a fresh chance at life.

UNICEF and partners have reunified 2,695 children with their families so far this year
South Sudan, 14 November 2015 – Tears of joy in South Sudan as children are reunited with their parents after almost two years apart.

“One child soldier is one child soldier too many”
South Sudan, 11 November 2015 – LGen Dallaire of The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative had some inspiring words for children released from an armed group in Pibor today.

Back to Learning initiative
South Sudan, 26 October 2015 – Over 230,000 children in conflict-affected states and hard to reach areas in South Sudan have resumed learning.

Children like 4-year-old Nyajime are paying the price of nearly two years of conflict in South Sudan
South Sudan, 22 October 2015 – FAO, UNICEF and WFP today warned that extreme hunger is pushing people to the brink of a catastrophe in parts of South Sudan, as a new analysis finds that 3.9 million people nationwide now face severe food insecurity.

UN calls for immediate access to conflict-affected areas to prevent catastrophe in South Sudan
JUBA, South Sudan, 22 October 2015 – Three UN agencies today warned that extreme hunger is pushing people to the brink of a catastrophe in parts of South Sudan, as a new analysis found that 3.9 million people nationwide now face severe food insecurity.

Battling malnutrition to save more children's lives
South Sudan, 5 October 2015 – Although UNICEF is reaching more children than last year, the situation remains dire – a quarter of a million children need treatment for severe acute malnutrition.

The heroes of South Sudan
South Sudan, 4 October 2015 – Mothers like Nyangor are the heroes of South Sudan. While fleeing for her life in Unity State, this mother of 6-month old twins came across two children all alone and made a decision to save their lives.

A mother and her children forced to flee their home find safety – and safe water – at a UN base in Bentiu, South Sudan
BENTIU, South Sudan, 24 September 2015 – When the family was displaced by a sudden attack on their village of Leer, in South Sudan’s Unity State, Mary fled with her eight children, including her two 6-month-old twins tucked inside two baskets.

South Sudan teen starts anew after surviving bullet in the neck
South Sudan, 15 September 2015 – “Even for a million pounds, I won’t go back.” Boto* was 16 when he was released from an armed group in South Sudan along with nearly 1,800 other children. During his time there, he sustained an injury that was untreated for a year – a bullet lodged in his neck.

Social mobilizers educate communities
South Sudan, 14 September 2015 – With support from UNICEF, the State Ministry of Health in Central Equatoria and Jonglei states have trained close to 200 social mobilizers to educate communities on how to purify water

UNICEF and WFP intensify efforts to defeat malnutrition in South Sudan
JUBA, South Sudan, 9 September 2015 – The World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF are intensifying their efforts to reverse the dire malnutrition situation in South Sudan, where a brutal conflict has displaced millions of people, destroyed basic services, increased disease and exacerbated hunger.

Bringing education to the children of Pibor, South Sudan
PIBOR, South Sudan, 25 August 2015 – A national campaign to increase school attendance and participation was launched today in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.

One fifth of cholera deaths in South Sudan are children
JUBA, South Sudan/NAIROBI, Kenya, 7 July 2015 – More than 700 cholera cases have been reported in Juba and Bor so far, resulting in 32 deaths – one in five of which are children under five, UNICEF said today.

Children at risk from cholera outbreak in South Sudan
JUBA, South Sudan/NAIROBI, Kenya, 23 June 2015 – Eighteen people, including two children under 5 years of age, have died from cholera in the most recent outbreak to hit South Sudan.

Children facing unspeakable violence in South Sudan
NEW YORK, 17 June 2015 – “The violence against children in South Sudan has reached a new level of brutality. “The details of the worsening violence against children are unspeakable, but we must speak of them.

Preventing malaria in South Sudan, one net at a time
JUBA, South Sudan, 22 May 2015 – As the onset of the rainy season threatens a rise in malaria cases in South Sudan, UNICEF is helping to protect families with insecticide-treated bed nets and medication.

82 boys and 1 girl freed in final release of children from Cobra Faction in South Sudan
JUBA, South Sudan/NAIROBI, Kenya/NEW YORK, 24 April 2015 – More than 280 children (282 boys and 1 girl) have been freed in the final release of children from the Cobra Faction, an armed group in South Sudan.

“How beautiful South Sudan could be”
JUBA, South Sudan, 28 April, 2015 – Learners from the Gudele West Primary School Peace Club sing at the Peacebuilding Education and Advocacy Showcasing event in Juba. The event brought together stakeholders and religious leaders to take stock and plan the future.

Helping separated or unaccompanied children arriving at the Protection of Civilians site in Malakal
MALAKAL, South Sudan, 14 April 2015 – In just one week, 4,600 people have fled to the Protection of Civilians site in Malakal because of increased violence. UNICEF is providing tents to newly arrived families as well as screening and treating children under-5 for malnutrition.

New competition aims to find creative solutions to education challenges in conflict zones
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 31 March 2015 – UNICEF and the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR today announced the launch of a new Amplify challenge – a call for ideas and innovations that could improve the delivery and quality of education for children and adults displaced by violent conflict.

Nine year old girl soldier freed in large release of child soldiers in South Sudan
JUBA/NAIROBI/NEW YORK, 21 March 2015 – Up to 250 child soldiers including four girls, one as young as nine, were released in South Sudan from an armed group, the Cobra Faction. The number of freed children is more than 1,300 since January 26.

Humanitarian Situation in South Sudan
NAIROBI, 15 March 2015 – Hostilities in South Sudan are now into their second year. The political situation remains fragile and the humanitarian outlook is grim. Millions are food insecure, with 2.5 million severely so. Thousands of children suffer from malnutrition. Aid agencies have appealed for US$1.81 billion to respond to humanitarian needs in 2015.

UNICEF condemns new child abductions by armed group in South Sudan
JUBA/NAIROBI/NEW YORK, 21 February 2015 – UNICEF condemns in the strongest terms the abduction of scores of boys, some as young 13, by an armed group near Malakal in the north of South Sudan.

More children released from armed group in South Sudan
JUBA/NAIROBI/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 10 February 2015 – UNICEF and partners are overseeing the release of another 300 children from an armed group in South Sudan. This follows the release two weeks ago of 249 children aged between 11 and 17 years in the village of Gumuruk.

In South Sudan, a long way back to freedom
BENTIU, South Sudan, 27 January 2015 – “The bullets were heavy. It was impossible to run. It was hard to use a gun…” The day that changed David’s life started as any other.

Thousands of children to be gradually released from armed group in South Sudan 
JUBA/NAIROBI/GENEVA/ NEW YORK, 27 January 2015 – UNICEF and partners have secured the release of approximately 3,000 children from an armed group in South Sudan – one of the largest ever demobilizations of children.

One year after conflict, children still under daily threat in South Sudan 
JUBA/GENEVA, 12 December 2014 – The future for a generation of children in South Sudan is being stolen by the year-long conflict in the country, which has driven hundreds of thousands of children from their homes, schools and communities; subjecting them to violence, malnutrition and disease.

Nyapith Roaw, 14: “[B]ecause there is no school due to the war, many young girls face early marriage,” she says. “Their families are poor because of the crisis, and they are unable to resist the offer of a dowry. It means that women are not able to complete their promise. Instead, they are walking far everyday just to find water or to buy sorghum in the market. This is not the future that my friends and I want.” Nyapith is from Kiech Kon – where UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and partners have deployed a rapid response team to assist displaced people in remote conflict areas.

Nyagach Ngot, 15: "Life here in Kiech Kon is hard, especially now because of the war,” she says. “We can't move around anywhere. The main thing that would make things better for us young women, really, would be to have a phone network so at least we could communicate with other people outside here. I have relatives and friends in Ethiopia, in Sudan, in Kenya. I have not spoken to them in so long. I say they are in those countries, but really, I don't know because it's been so long since I last talked to them." 

Nyibol Chok, 13:  “I want to be a doctor and work in the hospital to help people,” she says. “There is a great need for doctors in South Sudan. Here in Kiech Kon, there used to be a doctor, for example, but now, because of the war, he has no supplies and no equipment, and he cannot really help anymore." Nyibol is also from Kiech Kon in Upper Nile State.

For further statements, visit the press centre.
For photo resources, visit here.

Information in French

Déclaration du Directeur général de l’UNICEF, Anthony Lake, à propos de la violence contre les enfants au Soudan du Sud
NEW YORK, le 17 juin 2015 – « La violence contre les enfants au Soudan du Sud a atteint un niveau de brutalité sans précédent... »

Les enfants face à une crise nutritionnelle qui empire alors que les combats s’intensifient au Soudan du Sud
DJOUBA, Soudan du Sud, le 27 mai 2015 – La vie de près de 250 000 enfants est sérieusement menacée car la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle se détériore rapidement dans certaines régions du Soudan du Sud, a signalé aujourd’hui l’UNICEF.

L'UNICEF condamne l'enlèvement d'enfants par un groupe armé au Soudan du Sud
DJOUBA/NAIROBI/NEW YORK, 21 février 2015 – L’UNICEF condamne dans les termes les plus vigoureux l'enlèvement de dizaines de garçons, dont certains âgés d'à peine 13 ans, par un groupe armé près de Malakal dans le nord du Soudan du Sud.

De plus

Information in Spanish

Los niños constituyen una quinta parte de las muertes por cólera en Sudán del Sur, dice UNICEF
JUBA/NAIROBI, 7 de julio de 2015 – Juba y Bor han registrado hasta ahora más de 700 casos de cólera que han causado 32 muertes – de las cuales una de cada cinco son niños menores de cinco años, informó hoy UNICEF.

Declaración de Anthony Lake, director ejecutivo de UNICEF, sobre la brutal violencia contra los niños en Sudán del Sur
NUEVA YORK, 17 de junio de 2015 – “La violencia contra los niños ha alcanzado un nuevo nivel de brutalidad en Sudán del Sur...”

Los niños se enfrentan a un empeoramiento de la crisis nutricional al intensificarse los combates en Sudán del Sur
JUBA, Sudán del Sur, 27 de mayo de 2015 – Las vidas de casi 250.000 niños están en un riesgo considerable debido a que la seguridad alimentaria y nutricional se está deteriorando rápidamente en algunas partes de Sudán del Sur, dijo hoy UNICEF.


Information in Arabic


For more about UNICEF's work, choose any of the following:

UNICEF South Sudan website
UNICEF South Sudan Twitter
UNICEF South Sudan Facebook
UNICEF Connect blog



New enhanced search