On May 17th, 2018, Mark Andrew Lowcock, the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, visited Mal Primary School which is one of the schools INTERSOS is supporting in Juba PoCs 3 in the capital city of South Sudan. Mal Primary school is attended by 2178 children (including 1009 ECD children).
INTERSOS is currently supporting 68 schools with 59652 children (25468 girls) enrolled in 5 different states of the country, including the areas most affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Since the outbreak of the internal conflict in December 2013, South Sudan has suffered different problems, such as large population displacements, chronic hyperinflation, civil unrest and food insecurity. In this volatile environment, the already fragile education system got easily deteriorated at both the system and service delivery levels, with a high numbers of out-of-school children.
According to the South Sudan Education Sector Analysis (2016) school coverage rates in South Sudan remain well below the regional average with Gross
Enrolment Rates (GER) of 10 per cent at the pre-primary level and 72 per cent at the primary level. Globally, 35% of all out-of-school children of primary age, 25% of all out-of-school adolescents of lower secondary age, and 18% of all out-of-school youth of upper secondary age live in conflict-affected areas.
INTERSOS Education in Emergency Response has a community based approach, with capacity-building through training of teachers, youth leaders and school management committees. The response provide psychosocial needs of children and Adolescents affected by trauma and displacement, the need to protect them from harm, and the need to maintain and develop study skills and disseminate key messages such as how to avoid HIV/AIDS, landmine awareness, environmental education and education for peace and citizenship. In addition to this, INTERSOS Education Programme promotes the participation of under-represented groups, including girls, adolescents and persons with disability.
The children presented boards with important messages during Mark’s visit. Education is a fundamental right, yet in times of conflict and disaster it is often significantly disrupted, denying millions of girls and boys the opportunity to have a quality, safe education. Schools are, in many instances, occupied by armed groups or used as evacuation shelters, making education impossible. Provision of education to affected children is the only way to give bright future.