Improving education in the midst of conflict

The success of capitation grants in Western Equatorial State.

Teacher writing on board

In December 2013, a civil war began in South Sudan. It is a war that has been marked by brutal violence against civilians and deepening suffering across the country. Insecurity and active hostilities constrain civilians’ freedom of movement. The major humanitarian consequences are widespread displacement due to the violence; high rates of death, disease, and injuries;  and severe food insecurity and disrupted livelihoods. The long term task of building a collective sense of nationhood has suffered a major blow.

Despite this deeply troubling context, it is important to remind ourselves that in the midst of conflict millions of people continue to try to strive for a better life – and that is perhaps most evident in the way that schools continue to operate, children continue to attend lessons and teachers do their best in very difficult circumstances.

In Western Equatoria state, which has not been so badly affected as some of the states in the northern and eastern parts of South Sudan, the Girls' Education programme continues to support incentives to increase access to primary education for girls. These incentives are partly designed to encourage a culture of sending girls to school and partly designed to ensure that the quality of the education provided is improved.

Marcheline Naboro from YMCA Primary School said since cash payments were introduced  “no single girl has ever tried to drop out of school like before or having difficulties in affording sanitary pads for herself.” As for capitation grant, Marcheline said, ”Our head teacher together with the School Management Committee decided to erect 2 classrooms to accommodate first year and second year  pupils who used to learn under a mango tree. Whenever it rained all the children would have to run for cover under the veranda of our classroom”.