AWEIL, South Sudan, 26 March 2019 – Tens of thousands of school children in some of South Sudan’s most food insecure areas will benefit from a new European Union (EU) funded education in emergencies programme launched today in Aweil. The contribution, worth €24.4 million, will provide hot daily meals to 75,000 school children, help train some 1,600 teachers, equip learners with educational supplies and provide psychosocial 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," said Dr. Sinead Walsh, Ambassador of the EU to South Sudan. "For these children that we assist, we hope that learning will help them to overcome inequalities, poverty, and deprivation of fundamental rights. 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, teachers, parents and communities to realise our dream of quality education for all in South Sudan.”
The partnership, the largest of its kind in the education sector in South Sudan jointly implemented by UNICEF and the World Food Programme, runs until January 2021 and will be rolled out in 150 schools across the four former states of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap and Eastern Equatoria.
“For children to develop their full potential and continue learning, access to safe and protective learning environments is crucial, and this is what the programme will do,” said UNICEF South Sudan Representative, Mohamed Ag Ayoya. “The daily school meals enable the children to focus on their learning and grow into healthy learners- enhancing educational outcomes. This combination of essential services provided to the children will be an important contribution to more resilient and peaceful communities.”
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.
“Every day, countless children across the country turn up for school on an empty stomach,” said Ronald Sibanda, WFP’s Acting Country Director in South Sudan. “Many simply do not go, as their families need them to help with the cattle, in the fields or around the house. For all of them, food at school every day makes the difference. It means better nutrition and health, but also increased access to and achievement in education as well as a strong incentive for parents not only to send children to school but also to keep them there.”
The joint education and school feeding programme will:
- Improve access to quality learning opportunities for 75,000 boys and girls (6-18-year-old) in safe and protective environments in the four former states;
- Provide in-service training and mentorship to 1,600 teachers and early childhood facilitators;
- Provide psychosocial support to 40,000 conflict-affected children and adolescents;
- Improve the nutrition status of primary learners in the four targeted areas with daily school meals throughout the academic year; and
- Train school management committee staff on food handling and management.
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.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org/southsudan
About the European Union
The European Union is made up of 28 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders.
The United Nations World Food Programme - saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.