The second phase of the GESS programme is targeting children with disabilities more systematically – giving them the chance to benefit from a quality education and the opportunity for full participation in society.

Children with disabilities are disproportionately excluded from school. Of the 61 million children estimated by the UN to be out of school, a third have disabilities. Data from South Sudan suggests that attendance for children with disabilities is low, and that attendance for girls with disabilities is of particular concern.

Without challenging the stigma around disability and changing existing discriminatory practices, children with disabilities will continue to be excluded from classrooms in South Sudan. The GESS programme is incorporating disability sensitisation messaging in its behaviour change communication interventions (community outreach activities and radio programming), tackling stigma that prevails in communities across the country.

The accessibility of schools has been identified as a major barrier to inclusion. By giving grants to schools, as well as training these schools on how to use them to improve inclusion and accessibility, schools are becoming more accessible to children with disabilities. GESS is also investigating the key barriers to education for children with disabilities, and whether giving direct cash transfers to learners and families can address these challenges.

As well as addressing stigma and access to school, we are also aiming to help improve learning for children with disabilities. This will be done through the promotion of disability inclusion in teacher training, developing appropriate training and school materials, and championing disability inclusion across all of GESS’ quality education activities.

Finally, we look to ensure our data is disaggregated, including by disability, and that all Programme research effectively captures unique issues that affect learners with disabilities.

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