Akuja is a conflict management, humanitarian and development expert with project management experience in fragile states. She has lived/worked in Khartoum, Cairo, Bristol, London, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Nairobi, Rumbek and Juba. Born in South Sudan, Akuja de Garang was just eight years old when the war forced her family, like many others, to flee South Sudan. Her family’s exodus ultimately took Akuja to Khartoum, Cairo and the UK. Akuja returned to South Sudan in 2004, with a yearning to help support the rebuilding of her country of and worked for, among others, UNICEF and OCHA on issues such as child protection, human rights, youth participation, governance, gender, health, peace bundling and conflict management, livelihoods, public sector reform and education.
In 2014 Akuja joined the Girls’ Education South Sudan programme where she now leads a team of about 300 national and international professionals working nationwide to remove barriers to girls’ education in the country and help change the future of a generation of children in South Sudan.
In her off time, Akuja works to research, document, promote and preserve South Sudanese cultural heritage and has set up a local NGO, PACH toward that objective. She also volunteers and supports a number of initiatives including the Juba Orphanage and Confident Children out of Conflict.
She’s fluent in Dinka (admits her Nuer needs some work) Juba Arabic, English; basic Kiswahili and currently studying French. Akuja has a BA in African Studies and holds a MSc in Violence, Conflict & Development both from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.