This morning, Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin spoke to BBC Radio Four Woman’s Hour about the situation facing women and girls in South Sudan and explained how UK aid is helping girls in the country to stay in school and receive vital education.
Following her recent visit to the country, Minister Baldwin spoke about the importance of giving the next generation of South Sudanese girls hope for the future, and how by keeping girls in school, UK support is making them more likely to delay early marriage and motherhood. Minister Baldwin described girls' education as being an “incredibly powerful” development tool, which will help the young women she met during her visit to achieve their aspirations for the future.
Girls in South Sudan have a higher chance of dying in childbirth than completing secondary education. According to a recent UNESCO report, 75% of primary school-aged girls, and 80% of secondary school-aged girls, are out of class.
DFID’s Girls' Education South Sudan programme is the principal source of education funding in the country, and is fundamentally important to the survival of South Sudan’s education system, as violence and instability continue and humanitarian conditions worsen.
Minister Baldwin announced the continuation of the programme over the next six years, which will help 300,000 girls stay in school for longer; improve quality of education for over half a million children through funding classrooms, toilets, books and more; and reach over a million households with community education and radio programmes which reinforce the importance of educating girls.
During her visit to South Sudan, Minister Baldwin also called on all parties to find an urgent political agreement to bring a lasting end to the conflict, violence and ongoing human rights abuses which are causing extreme man-made suffering across the country.