Central Equatoria State, News

Juba school girls await GESS money

By Aweye Teddy Onam


Ministry of General Education and Girls Education South Sudan (GESS) last Friday announced cash transfer for beneficiaries to begin on Monday, November 6, 2023, across the country.

But two days after the supposed start of the cash disbursement window, some schools in Juba told the No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper yesterday that the GESS payment teams have not yet reached their ends.

Our reporter visited some of the schools in Munuki Payam, only to establish that the girls are still waiting for their cash transfers, with others screened already and some not.

Wani Soster Noel, the head teacher of Rainbow Primary School, told this outlet that the validation of beneficiaries in his school was done last month by the GESS, but the information on when the girls will receive their money has not reached their attention.

“Usually we get the information through the Payam municipality of Munuki because the government informs the Juba City Council, then they get to inform different Payams, so we didn’t get any notice from them,” Noel said.

The head teacher urged the government and its partners to not only look at the cash transfer as a priority but also to develop another program or project that can sponsor girls, especially those from poor families, and if not fully, then pay half their tuition fees.

He noted that girls, not only in his school but across the country, always have a lot of challenges that they are going through.

“The majority of the girls that we have here have careless parents. They have issues like late payment of school fees for girls by preferring to pay boys first than the girls, which generally affects their studies,” he lamented.

Adut James, a pupil at Rainbow Primary School and the incumbent head girl, along with her colleague, the former head girl, Viola Ille, also expressed their concerns to the No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper about the GESS support they are getting.

They said it would be better if they could be given the cash transfer at the beginning of the year since the third-term holiday is too long for them to keep that money for scholastic materials.

They added that some parents also take advantage of the money received towards the end of the year, which some parents instead tell their daughters to use for buying Christmas clothes, undermining its intended purpose.

However, concerning the delay, Viola Ille said, as the former head girl, she did not get challenges during the cash transfer last year because everyone got their money on time and no girl complained to her that they hadn’t received the money.

“Last year, primary eight received SSP 14,500, while primary five to seven received SSP 11,400, and I heard via the radio that this year, primary eight will receive SSP 32,000 while other classes will receive SSP 25,600,” she expressed.

Meanwhile, the GESS Finance Director, Daniel Zesaka, when contacted, said the cash payment is ongoing, but they are starting with the hard-to-reach areas in the other counties of Central Equatoria State, ensuring that the teams reach the urban schools.

“There has been a conclusion on how to make the payment; we balance between the payment and the national examination. The national primary examination starts on the 20th. By the 20th, you will find that we have made most of the payment. He explained

“Also, you know that the schools that are examination centers or schools that have candidate classes are very different, so the payment will go on,” he added.

According to Daniel, even last year, they paid the girls in Juba schools at the end because they started with other Payams like those in Yei River and Terekeka counties, among others.

“So, we’ve done it before. Yeah, even during COVID’s school closure, we met two payments that were very successful, so we are able to mobilize our girls, and they are aware that the payment is coming, so I don’t see a significant challenge in that,” he lamented.

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