The GESS programme aims to increase the enrolment and retention of learners in schools. One way that the programme does this is through behaviour change communication activities, including broadcasting radio programme, “Our School”, across the country. In media dark or hard-to-reach areas, GESS takes the programme down to the community level on solar- powered radios and encourages discussions through community mobilisation activities.
In Eastern Equatoria State in particular, more than 2,880 families have received key messages about the benefit of education through the family listening clubs and radio talk shows.
Ms. Joyce, a widow, and a mother of four children at Gbugbu Village, in Green Valley School Community in Magwi County, revealed that life was very hard for her and her children before joining the community listening group. Her daughter Beatrice had to drop out of school due to lack of funds. However, after taking part in the family listening group, Ms. Joyce joined a Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) group, where economic empowerment and use of cash transfers are being discussed. Joyce later got connected to a local micro finance institution in the area which enabled her to access credit.
“The CM activities helped me to get connected to a Village Saving and Loan Association, I was able to borrow money without interest and so, accumulated small money to send my daughter back to school in Primary 6 after she missed a termly examination due to lack of school fees,’’ Ms. Joyce explained.
Joyce believes that the community listening groups should continue so that participants can continue sharing experiences. In the CM activities, members agree on action points they are willing to take or intend to take to better access to education for girls.
“Eastern Equatoria State still lacks local FM radio frequencies (in most areas). The family/ community listening programmes also helps to increase community awareness faster and families can do follow-up of their agreed action points during community dialogue sessions,” said Ms. Joyce.
GESS continues to run activities in all the 10 states and the administrative areas of South Sudan. For more information on community mobilisation, go here.Tags: Behaviour Change, Development, European Union, FCDO, girls' education, Global Affairs Canada, Radio, UKaid, USAID