32,000 USAID-funded solar-powered radios will enable distance learning for up to 160,000 children

23 December 2020
UNICEF staff show children a radio
UNICEF South Sudan/2020/Maker

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN – Today UNICEF received 27,000 solar-powered radios funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which completes USAID’s contribution of 32,000 radio sets this year to enable up to 160,000 vulnerable children to access distance learning.

Following the closure of schools in March due to COVID-19, USAID, UNICEF, and the Ministry of General Education and Instruction quickly collaborated to ensure children continue their education through distance learning.  A first set of 5,000 radios were distributed in September to children from vulnerable households across South Sudan.

Although each radio set is allocated to an individual student, four to five children in a household can share it. Therefore, the 32,000 radio sets will benefit up to 160,000 children.

With these radio sets, learners who have not been able to resume their studies in person due to school closures will be able to follow the lessons broadcast by South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation and Radio Miraya.

“The closure of schools does not mean that learning has to stop. With this 27,000 radios received today our target will be students in rural areas who are without electricity, including children with special needs,” says Honorable Awut Deng Acuil, Minister for General Education and Instruction. “I want to thank the US government for the support they have given us and UNICEF for making sure that during this difficult time, with disruptions in freight, we have been able to get these radios.

“We congratulate the MOGEI on their leadership in responding to the challenges of continuing education during the coronavirus pandemic. Donors supported a host country owned plan and, as today’s event shows, USAID and UNICEF were key contributors. This host-country led distance learning response exemplifies the journey to self-reliance that USAID promotes,” says USAID/South Sudan Acting Mission Director Jeremiah Carew.

UNICEF will distribute the radio sets through its 12 field offices across South Sudan. The distribution of these solar-powered radios adds to the many achievements the Ministry, UNICEF, and USAID have recently achieved to improve access to quality education for South Sudan’s most vulnerable children. The successful implementation of USAID’s three-year Integrated Essential Emergency Education Services project, which UNICEF implemented in all 10 states of South Sudan, has enabled over 600,000 children to access quality learning in a safe and conducive environment.

“We commend USAID for this financial and technical support. USAID support enabled the Ministry and UNICEF to increase access to quality basic education for the disadvantaged and conflict-affected children in South Sudan,” says Benjamin Kilonzo, acting UNICEF Representative in South Sudan. “We look forward to continued partnership with the Ministry and USAID to improve access to quality education for all South Sudanese children.” 

Media contacts

Elizabeth Murugi Murekio
Communication Specialist
UNICEF South Sudan
Tel: +211 920 873967

About UNICEF

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 in South Sudan visit: www.unicef.org/southsudan

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