National, News

USD 72 million launched to support education emergencies

By Gladys Fred Kole

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) has commended President Salva Kiir for his strong support for girls’ education in the country as it launches a US$72 million education emergency project.

Over the weekend, the organization’s Executive Director, Yasmine Sheriff, briefed the President on the activities her organization is funding in South Sudan.

“I am glad that President Kiir is a wise, profound leader who has made a huge impact and has such strong support for girls’ education to make sure that the female population is able to achieve education”, Yasmine told the media after their meeting.

Education Cannot Wait is the United Nations’ global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

ECW had launched a three-year Multi-year Resilience program to the tune of 72 million USD in Yirol, Lakes State. The president reportedly contributed to that grant.

ECW, in conjunction with Kiir, has announced US$40 million in catalytic grant funding to extend ECW’s Multi-Year Resilience program for another three years.

The total ECW funding in South Sudan now tops US$72 million.

The organization supports quality education outcomes for refugee, internally displaced, and other crisis-affected girls and boys, so no one is left behind.”

Speaking in this regard, the president expressed that the government of South Sudan is fully committed to ensuring that all children are able to obtain a quality education.

“ECW top-up investment will provide life-saving educational opportunities for tens of thousands of crisis-affected girls and boys across the country,” he added.

To advance this work, we are calling on world leaders to step up funding for ECW and its in-country partners; this is a critical investment in sustainable development, peace, and prosperity for the people of South Sudan and for crisis-impacted children worldwide,” the president said.

Meanwhile, Awut Deng Acuil, the Minister of General Education and Instruction, said during the official launch of the program in Yirol, that this course will serve to lift the children out of poverty while at the same time ensuring universal human rights for the millions, in need of urgent support.

Making remarks in Lakes State as she met with ministry officials, Yasmine Sherif, the Executive Director for ECW, reiterated that “now is the time to turn the tide and provide the most vulnerable girls and boys with the protection and hope that only a quality education offers by working together with the government, donors, civil society, and the United Nations”.

She said this is the single best investment they can make for the future of this young country and the entire region.

The three-year program will be implemented by Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council, and Finn Church Aid in close conjunction with the Ministry of General Education and Instruction and other partners.

“It will reach at least 135,000 crisis-affected children and youth, including refugees, returnees, and host-community children,” Awut noted.

Pornpun Jib Rabiltossaporn, Save the Children Country Director, stressed that education in the country remains an urgent priority, with just 27% of the population able to read or write and less than half of children enrolled in school, as prevented and caused by the years of war.

“We are extremely grateful for ECW’s ongoing support and look forward to continuing to work closely with the government and others to empower more children to realize their full potential,” Pornpun said.

Building on the UN Reform Agenda, the new investment will further benefit from US$10 million in additional funding from the Global Partnership for Education’s (GPE) Accelerated Funding Window while also allowing for US$5.3 million in contingency funding to react to recurring emergencies such as the current Sudan regional refugee crisis.

In addition, ECW also announced a half-million-dollar First Emergency Response grant to support the immediate education response to the arrivals of refugees and returnees fleeing Sudan.

With the combined support of ECW and GPE, two-thirds of the US$75 million funding requirement has already been secured.

The new funding builds on ECW’s US$32 million in investments in South Sudan, which have already reached close to 140,000 children, built or rehabilitated over 160 classrooms and temporary learning spaces, and provided learning materials to 50,000 children.


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