The theme of the event: “Our Girls, Our Future: Reaching full potential through Education”.
But before the festivities had even begun, GESS Team Leader, Akuja, was at Radio Miraya with star pupil and GESS Peer Mentor, Achol Majur. Akuja and Achol were brought on the Breakfast Show to discuss GESS and the different ways by which we can break down the barriers to girls’ education, as well as acting as beacons of hope to the girls of South Sudan: “You have to motivate your daughters tell them that failure, doesn’t mark the end of their journey”, Achol encouraged her sisters.
The esteemed event took place at Juba Girls’ Secondary School and was led by the Ministry of General Education and Instruction. Activities to mark the event included dance, song, drama and the sport of Boru Boru, as well as speeches from the Honourable Minister and the Honourable Undersecretary of General Education and Instruction, and GESS Team Leader, Akuja. The event was designed to give over 300 primary and secondary school girls in Juba the opportunity to come together in celebration.
The objectives of this year’s event:
- To create awareness about the importance of the education of the girl child.
- To mobilize support for the education of the girl child in South Sudan.
- To increase the enrolment of girls in schools to approximately 40% over the next year.
- To increase the retention of girls in schools so that a larger number of girls finish primary school.
To mark the day, GESS organised a Careers Fair for secondary school girls. We were eager to ensure that girls took away something positive from the event and we believe that we achieved just that.
18 women and 8 Peer Mentors guided discussions with approximately 200 girls to offer insight and advice on their future careers. These exceptional women represented a wide range of sectors, including banking; law; entertainment; engineering; catering; medicine; teaching; humanitarianism; journalism; fashion; and women’s empowerment.
Despite the great celebration in Juba, Hon. Undersecretary, Michael Lopuke, asked the girls in attendance to remember their less fortunate sisters – a section of the country’s largely pastoralist community is left out of education.
“It is an appeal to ensure that education is for all children of South Sudan regardless of whether they are from pastoralist communities, agricultural communities or urban areas.” he said.
To break down some of the barriers to education Girls’ Education South Sudan continues its programe of delivering capitation grants to schools and cash transfers to girls. With these measures in place, we hope to see and improvement in enrollment, retention and school completion in order to reduce gender disparities.