What is affecting the girl child in South Sudan

A blog post on some of the challenges girls are facing in South Sudan

Esther Yongoro, 17 years old
A girl looking into the camera
UNICEFSouthSudan/Ryeng
30 September 2020

Early marriage: Child marriage is a must practice in the South Sudanese societies. It denies the girl child participation in education because they are married off at a young age. It is not always easy for them to go back to education, being a mother makes you more busy with the household affairs and find no chances of going back to formal education.

Gender division of labour: Among societies where the girls are living this is a social problem and any problem needs to be solved. This problem has led to low enrolment of girls in schools in South Sudan.

Poverty: It is a long cultural tradition for parents to marry their daughters off in exchange for dowry. Although primary education is free and compulsory, there are a lot of costs associated with sending children to school in urban and rural areas. The price of school uniforms, textbooks and transportation cannot be easily afforded by poor families. More often, parents chose to keep girls at home and send the boys to school instead. Conflict and unqualified number of teaching staff are also contributing to the challenges affecting girls’ participation.

The distance to the schools has also contributed to the low attendance of girl students. Females consider themselves as vulnerable and can easily be outpowered by any force and subjected to things like rape, kidnapping and many other sorts of inhumane activities.

Esther Yongoro, 17 years old

Gender discrimination: Gender is the social pattern of behaviour and psychological or emotional expression of attitudes that distinguish male and females in the society and in school. This socialization has affected the girl in terms if access to education, completion and achievement. The girls are made to feed boys and less important than boys in the society. Therefore, female will not be willing to go for those things that are believed to be for males.

School distances: The distance to the schools has also contributed to the low attendance of girl students. Females consider themselves as vulnerable and can easily be outpowered by any force and subjected to things like rape, kidnapping and many other sorts of inhumane activities.

Message to the organization of UNICEF: The organization of UNICEF to initiate an awareness campaign to be conducted annually in the ten states of the Republic of South Sudan. The organization of UNICEF should form policy implementing groups at local levels of the organization including villages, households, schools, stakeholders including chiefs and the parents to understand the importance of the girl child education. Through this process, the communities can gradually change their behaviour towards girls and girls’ education. Girls education policies should be reviewed and all the stakeholders in girls’ education should be included.