After enduring two decades of civil war, the people of South Sudan have one of the lowest literacy rates in the world (in 2010, only 27 percent of the adult population could read and write, according to South Sudan’s National Bureau of Statistics). Education consistently leads the list of government services that are most highly valued and desired by the public—demonstrating that South Sudanese see a better education for their children as a top priority.
USAID is helping South Sudan build human and institutional capacity for high-quality education throughout the country. USAID’s current education program, begun in the 2005-11 Comprehensive Peace Agreement interim period, supports gender equity, interactive radio instruction, capacity building for education ministries, and the integration of health and education.
Youth and Workforce Development
Without reliable access to employment or education opportunities, youth in zones of high conflict remain caught in a culture of war, accustomed to cattle raiding and banditry as one of the few economic opportunities available. USAID enhances opportunities for at-risk youth to engage in productive economic activities, training and education, as well as sports and other cross-ethnic social activities. Activities include training and providing youth with block-making equipment, involving youth in labor-intensive public works projects, establishing youth centers in county headquarters, and helping youth establish for-profit companies. In collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, USAID is also piloting a basketball initiative that seeks to engage youth in sports activities, enhance inter-county youth interaction, and promote non-violence and tolerance.
USAID is supporting several partnerships between universities in South Sudan and the United States. This includes a collaborative effort between the University of Juba, the Catholic University of Sudan, and Virginia Tech; and between John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology and Texas A&M University. The partnership promotes food security, sustainable economic growth, human capital development, and lasting peace in South Sudan. The goal is to strengthen higher education in teaching, research, and outreach in agriculture and natural resource management by building on the expertise and experience of partner institutions.
Last updated: January 17, 2014