By Agoku Christine Taban (Guest Writer)
It’s a multifaceted responsibility of stakeholders to ensure free, safe and supportive environment for girl-child to pursue education to brighten her future, handle development activities and make decisions, in lifetime.
Girls, who haven’t gotten the opportunity to attain traditional education, should be empowered to acquire life skills to earn a living and break vicious cycle of poverty, hence uplift their family likewise the society.
Benefits and merits of girl-child education are numerous among South Sudanese. At domestic levels, we have educated mothers who take good care of their families, financially and socially. On national arena, the female legislators have wonderful performance. Internationally, several South Sudanese women are flying the country’s flag high.
In medical field, many women are doctors, nurses and midwives. The private sector, as entrepreneurs, the number is encouraging. Lately girls also ventured in electrical engineering with some even climbing poles, all that is wondrous area a girl-child can show her prowess.
Reflecting on what still remains as impediment, pulling South Sudanese girls backward at the wait belt, instead of progressing with their education; top on the factors’ list, is inadequate support and cultural belief that portrays a girl as family source of wealth.
Girls across the country, undergo similar man-made hardship; the cultural attitudes, conflict and poverty which limits girls to achieve their education goals. Some end committing suicide while others persevere brutal early forced marriages, characterized by constant domestic violence. Cruel engagements.
Early pregnancies, attempt of unsafe abortion that may leads to loss of lives, menstruation stigma and unfortunate conflicts and poverty are other added troubles that befall the girl-child in South Sudan.
Life is never kind to the few who manage reaching university, as the cultural arrogances of forbidding intermarriages and high pride price, still curtails girls’ in the country the freedom to build a family with a man of their choice.
At home, parents pay less interest or never at all, for girls to interact freely and express issues affecting them to a listening ear.
South Sudanese as a community should take a collective responsibilities and parents as directly attached individuals to dialogue and empower the girl-child, provide guidance, understand their challenges. Especially menstrual hygiene management and demystify the cultural belief of a taboo and shame.
As of today, girls present high numbers in primary levels, but the figure diminishes in secondary School, yet women leaders and civil society organization turn their back instead of pushing for laws to curb the evils of society.
It’s a call upon UNICEF and other international organizations to intervene to empower the girl-child educationally.
Today’s national Girl’s education day should remind individuals, parents and guardians that girls have full rights to education, whether by the constitutions of South Sudan or the international laws. Girls should be granted access to education and provision of necessities for girls’ education is responsibilities of parents. Endangering the lives of girls due to intentional gender base violations, like a father gauging out a girl‘s eyes, which she uses for study purposes, is inhuman act.
Girls’ education empowerment should be inclusive while challenges that hinder them from going to school are addressed.