An ambitious exercise to pay more than 400,000 school girls across South Sudan in one month has now come to a close. The Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS) Payment agents navigated flooding and insecurity to reach more than 351,000 girls in classes Primary 5 to Senior 4 in all states of South Sudan, with final payments still taking place.
GESS recognises the fact that not all validated girls received their money due to access and security issues. Payments of girls in inaccessible areas shall be made as soon as the situation allows. Additional mobilisation efforts are being explored to aid in reaching as many girls as is possible.
GESS Team Leader, Akuja de Garang, said, “I’d like to express my gratitude to all of our partners who ensured the success of the payment process, including, but not limited to, the British Embassy in South Sudan and Global Affairs Canada (GAC), the Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MoGEI), State Ministries and County Education Departments, school management and learners. With a special thank you to our State Anchors (implementing partners in the states) for their continued efforts in often adverse environments.”
A number of reports were made of girls who had misplaced CTEFs or whose CTEFs were issued to wrong recipients – these cases are being resolved with the assistance of the GESS teams on the ground.
The safety of all those involved in the payment process has been of utmost importance. Even though the payment process has ended, reporting is still a vital step. We encourage anyone with information to report on the misappropriation of funds or threats to safety during the Cash Transfer process. This may include:
- Reduction of money during the payment process
- Funds stolen after the payment process
- Replacement of girls who are absent during paymentHotline numbers:
- MTN +211 928 520 824
- Zain +211 917 647 891
It is hoped that GESS Cash Transfers will help girls to continue learning and to aspire to reenrol once schools fully reopen. The financial aid aims to remove some of the financial and cultural barriers that are unique to girls, such as the cost of menstrual hygiene products, as well as discouraging early and unintended pregnancies, of which there has been a significant rise since COVID-19 related school closures.
Anger, a Senior 4 Science student said, “I can really say this money will help me. Since I’m a candidate in Senior 4 and really we are candidates of tough times. So this money will really help me in photocopying some papers and also I can buy pens.”
The GESS programme receives £70 million (GBP) of UK aid from the UK Government and $19.2 million (CAD) from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. The programme is lead in collaboration between the Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MoGEI), the UK Government and Global Affairs Canada. GESS is managed by a consortium led by Cambridge Education/Mott MacDonald, including BBC Media Action, Montrose, Leonard Cheshire and Windle Trust International, and supported by implementing partners who provide technical advice.