We envision a world where women and young girls are allowed to be educated.
We seek ways to bring educational opportunities to these women, with the end goal of improving their future communities.
Why It Matters
Our efforts at fundraising and advocacy are critical because the majority of women and girls in South Sudan are uneducated. This lack of education leads to poverty, danger, and poor health for entire families.
Research shows that in general, girls who stay in school are more likely to be able to feed themselves and their families when they become adults. One study shows that women’s education contributed 43% of the reduction in child malnutrition over time compared to just 26% for improvements in food availability. Source: FAO
Educational inequalities in South Sudan can be attributed to a cultural bias against women getting an education, and a poor educational infrastructure which is inherent in the young country’s history. Sudan, a British colony until 1956, provided little schooling, though Catholic and Protestant missionaries were important sources of education. After Sudan’s independence in 1956, educational opportunities grew little, and nearly ceased when civil war broke out, which caused high costs, lack of buildings, and insecurity. After a protracted civil war, South Sudan voted 98.8% for independence in 2011.
The new country embarked on independence with a poor infrastructure, and dismal education statistics that remain today: more than one million South Sudanese children of primary school age are not in school, many of them girls. Enrollment rates in secondary education are below 10 percent. It’s even worse for girls: South Sudan has one of the lowest gender equality rates in the world, especially concerning education.
Two of the biggest reasons for girls dropping out of school include early marriage – the dowry is a lucrative incentive for parents to marry off their daughters – and early pregnancy.
Here are some disturbing facts about women’s education in South Sudan:
- Only 10% of South Sudanese women are literate; the lowest literacy rate in the world
- 2/3 of the population of South Sudan are women; men died off due to years of conflict
- A girl is more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than to graduate from primary school
- The female:male enrollment rate in primary school is 35:100
- In 2012, 48 percent of South Sudanese girls ages 15 to 19 were married, with some marrying as young as 12
- Just 6 percent of 13 year old girls complete primary school
- Young girls in South Sudan are more than twice as likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth as they are to make it through primary school and into secondary education