Decades of conflict have exacted a heavy toll on the people of Sudan. Many adults and children have not had the opportunity to attend school or training programs. As a result, the national literacy rate is one of the lowest in the world. Women have been particularly affected. While primary school enrollment has increased fourfold since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, the need for classrooms and trained teachers remains an enormous challenge to get the education system functioning again. WUSC supports the integration of returnees to Southern Sudan by working to enhance socio-economic conditions among the population through access to improved education and relevant basic vocational training.
Based on past success and expertise of similar programs in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, WUSC brings together local partners, teachers and youth in Southern Sudan to:
- Provide skills training programs for youth to increase employment, self-employment and basic education
- Provide teachers formal English language, gender sensitivity and teacher training methods
- Increase literacy rates amongst women
Through our extensive experience with skills training programs in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, we have learned that the success of this program will require:
A focus on gender equality: Integrating gender equality strategies into our skills training programs has proven very successful, both in helping women find employment, and in creating greater acceptability of women in the workforce.
Strong partnerships: South Sudan remains a volatile area, and is a new area of work for WUSC. As a result, we are partnering with established NGOs that have been working in the country for a number of years. We will draw on their expertise to react quickly to any potential security challenge.
Leveraging resources: With limited resources in the country, WUSC ensures that available resources (human, financial, etc) benefit all involved. For instance, we are leveraging our resources to increase access to water in a project community where there is only one well. The project is now providing additional water well from which the entire community can benefit.
South Sudan is recovering from decades of civil war, the most recent ending in 2005 with the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. This conflict has exacted a heavy toll on Southern Sudan, resulting in challenges to nation building, including a lack of government institutions; infrastructure and human resources; and the reintegration of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees who are returning in large numbers.
South Sudan is poised for great change over the coming years. In January 2011 a referendum was held to determine if South Sudan will declare independence from the North. Results showed an overwhelming response, with 98.3% in favour of separation from the north. In July 2011, South Sudan seceded from Sudan and become the world’s newest country. Despite the peaceful referendum period, security concerns remain significant, with new challenges arising.
Several unresolved CPA issues include three oil-rich border areas which remain outstanding. A determination must be made whether they belong to the north or the south; each holding potential for continued insecurity. Food security across Southern Sudan also remains a significant issue, compounded by the high numbers of returnees, insecurity which has disrupted crops and distribution of food supplies, and the high cost of living and inflation levels.
WUSC's Building a Sustainable Future through Education and Training (BSFET) is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)