Nyayo means ‘good things’ in Balanda – a language native to the Wau area – and that is exactly what 18-year-old Nyayo Rejoice claims the GESS Cash Transfer brought her.
Nyayo is now a Senior 4 student at Loyola Secondary School in Wau, Wau State. She received the Cash Transfer in 2016 and 2017. She spent some of the money on her immediate needs, such as soap and sanitary towels. The leftover money was invested into her mother’s business. “She (her mother) would bake the bread and make tea and it raised some amount of money that also allowed my siblings to go to school, so it was really beneficial to the family.”
Nyayo is the oldest of Marta Joseph’s eight children, so scraping together money for all of her children’s education has been an ongoing challenge. “Before that (Cash Transfer) I was not earning anything. I was just staying at home.” The small amount of money she received allowed her to bake and sell bread. With the profit she would buy more flour to bake more bread, eventually earning enough to serve tea and to build a stand outside their house. “When school opens, the profit that I have saved, I used to support the children.”
Nyayo has acquired her mother’s enterprising spirit and foresightedness. When asked what she will spend the 2018 Cash Transfer on if she receives it, she replied, “As per now, I’m a Senior 4 student and I’m looking forward to finishing my examinations. So, I would actually invest the money. Maybe after finishing Senior 4 I can use the money to do some short courses. I could do computer course or some other small trainings that can help me. They say that ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop’, so I can use that money to do something in the holidays.”
Marta added, “I want to say that I have not been to school – I have only read little. Now I am struggling to send all of my children to school. I want to tell other children that they should not leave school. School is good. School is the future. I hope that all girls can go to school, study hard and leave with good jobs. I want them to be governors; to go abroad; to have big dreams; to be the President of the people.”
“When I was young I really had the plan of being a lawyer because I love politics. Though they say it is a dirty game. I love when women are being empowered and they’re in some top, top positions. There are some cases, in our country, where people cannot defend themselves because they don’t have money to buy a lawyer, so I thought I can do something, I can make change. With law, in collaboration with human rights, I can also do something to support girl child education like GESS is doing here.” This desire was inspired by Jennifer Semakula Musisi – a Ugandan lawyer and the Kampala Capital City Authority.
There are many barriers preventing girls from going to school in South Sudan, but GESS research shows that the financial barriers are the greatest, and that apparent social barriers, like early marriage, often have a financial basis – in the case of early marriage, girls are seen as a source of wealth through a dowry. The cash transfers help to remove this barrier by targeting girls in upper primary and secondary schools – those most at risk of dropping out.
Throughout the length of the Programme, we have reached over 18,500 individual girls in Wau County with at least one Cash Transfer and the continuation of the GESS programme over the next six years will aim to help 300,000 girls stay in school for longer.