Elevated levels of poverty, combined with deeply entrenched, negative socio-cultural beliefs, mean that girls in South Sudan have fewer educational and economic opportunities. Cash transfers to girls, through the Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS) programme have been enabling girls to enrol in school and complete their education.
GESS cash transfers are direct payments made to girls enrolled in, and regularly attending school. All girls from Primary 5-8 and Secondary 1-4 are eligible and will be targeted over the lifetime of the Programme. Cash transfers encourage girls to enrol in and attend school, help them to buy scholastic materials, and contribute to poverty reduction in the family and the community.
In November 2022, GESS distributed cash transfers to 29,281 primary school learners and 5,215 secondary school learners across Western Equatoria State.
During the payment process, we spoke to Victoria – a 16-year-old Senior 1 learner from Nzara County who is in her first year of secondary school. Victoria comes from a large family with five brothers and four sisters. She is the first family member to attend secondary school, stating, “My older brothers and sisters could not attend secondary school because my parents didn’t have enough money to pay for their fees.” Although Victoria is grateful to be in school, her parents could cover her tuition. “I didn’t have pens or a book so I would have to beg other students to let me use their materials.”
Victoria has now received three GESS cash transfers and she is able to use this to pay for scholastic materials. “My dream of receiving and continuing with education has been made possible through the cash transfer. GESS has restored my hope for education. I can now afford to buy school materials – a school bag, pens, exercise books, including sanitary pads to be comfortable in the class during menstrual periods,” she said.
Victoria is proud to be the first family member in secondary school, she wants to stay in school to gain more knowledge and help her family in the future, and the cash transfers are helping her achieve this. She commented, “Now I can look after myself and, in the future, I will support my mother and family.”
She is among the girls who cannot forget the benefit of GESS towards the support for access, improved enrolment, retention, and progress in girl’s education in South Sudan. She says, “We girls are very excited about the future and forever grateful to GESS and are still astonished at the level of care GESS continually extend to not only pupils, but parents included. I do not think the Government realises just how lucky and honoured we are to have such wonderful support which is not only the best at improving access but also care for the success of each and every pupil. It is quite unique and GESS really deserve our thanks.”
Read more about GESS cash transfers here: https://bit.ly/41ttd9h