As education leaders and politicians alike think about how to the tackle the challenges to school systems that have been brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, it should not be forgotten that this is not the only reason that young people have missed out on school. We also need to consider those who are unable to completely return to school or forced to drop out for reasons such as early and unwanted pregnancies, forced marriages, conflict, or poverty. As we all think about Building Back Better, we can’t do so by leaving some children or young adults behind.
Windle has been working in South Sudan since 2005.
In a constantly changing situation, Windle Trust International is adapting operations to meet the challenge of continuing to provide essential services to ensure that those affected by conflict and marginalisation can continue to access quality education whilst also maintaining the health and wellbeing of all staff and beneficiaries as of paramount importance.
What is Windle Trust International doing in South Sudan?
Speaking about the situation in South Sudan, UN Special Envoy said:
The war that broke out in December 2013 has meant that the 2015 academic year has been a difficult one for school children all over South Sudan. The consequence has been catastrophic for the nation’s sense of unity, its economy and its external reputation. But what is really encouraging is that – despite fear, violence and displacement – girls’ attendance at school has not significantly declined.
We are delighted that the Government of South Sudan, Ministry of Education Science and Technology has approved a new English language policy framework and implementation developed by Windle Trust International for use in training primary school teachers to enhance their English language skills.
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.
For years there have been calls for greater attention to education in crisis situations from a multitude of advocacy organisations. The enormity of the problem is clear. Just 2% of humanitarian aid is allocated to education. The proportion of out of school children living in conflict-affected areas is on the rise. Conflict-affected states are often the furthest away from meeting education goals. The heart of the bias against supporting education in emergency contexts is the view that education is not seen as immediate and lifesaving – and for that reason it is not a donor priority.
On 15 December armed conflict broke out in Juba, the capital of South Sudan and this quickly spread to other parts of Juba. The violence escalated and bitter fighting broke out in other parts of South Sudan, namely Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states.
We are happy to report that all our staff were safely evacuated from the troubled areas. However, some staff have been unable to return home as their home towns have been under fire and are currently unsafe.