On International Women’s Day CWS joins with our local partners from South Sudan to Sri Lanka in celebrating the strength of women standing in solidarity.
In South Sudan known more for its failings than for its achievement, one local NGO has been tackling discrimination against girls long before independence in 2011. The failure of the government to deliver even primary education to much of the country’s children has meant the Mission for Sustainable Advancement has set up its own schools and supported others through its scholarship programme focusing on girls.
South Sudan has one of the lowest rates of education in the world. Girls can expect 3.5 years of schooling compared with 5.9 for boys. With schools closed for nearly two years and despite a strong mentoring programme run by MSA, teenage pregnancy was high and many students did not re-enrol when schools restarted in January.
MSA show how community-focused education works to change attitudes and behaviour – by teaching young women to make sanitary pads and understand their sexuality, organising student-led HIV and AIDS clubs, or running promotions on their radio. Their programme “Put a Smile on Her Face” is accepted by many.
Education gives young women skills and the confidence to have a say in their own futures. Only then will South Sudan begin to address Sustainable Development Goal Number 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Today we celebrate young women like Suzan – brave enough to challenge traditional roles and build a new country – a task its political leaders have largely failed to do.
March 8, 2022