Cambridge Education: Changing girls' lives in South Sudan

Photo Credit: Ashley Hamer

Photo Credit: Ashley Hamer

A new film showcases how UK aid is transforming the lives of a generation of girls in the world’s newest nation.

In South Sudan, conflict and ingrained stigmas surrounding girls’ education are hindering long-term development. Despite insecurity, economic collapse and logistical struggles, the UK aid-funded Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS) programme is continuing to successfully deliver its aim of educating the country’s poorest and most vulnerable girls, transforming their lives through education.

In the last three years, GESS has reached over 3500 schools, with more than 9000 grants funding classrooms, latrines, books and much more. Over 300,000 cash transfers have been paid to more than 180,000 girls, while two million people have been reached through radio programmes aimed at changing the negative socio-cultural attitudes towards educating girls.

Even during the worsening crisis, GESS has already received reports from more than 2500 schools in 2017 about how cash transfers and grants are helping them to stay open, increase their enrolment numbers and boost attendance rates despite the violent conflict.

Inspire. Educate. Transform., which features girls benefiting from GESS, premiered at the UK Houses of Parliament on 29 March and shows the remarkable progress the programme has made in keeping girls in school and helping them learn. At a time when the social fabric of South Sudan is under maximum pressure, education can do more than mend the damage caused by conflict, it can provide essential building blocks for long-term development.

Cambridge Education is leading the implementation of the GESS programme with its partners BBC Media Action, Charlie Goldsmith Associates, and Winrock International, on behalf of the Department for International Development.