Three years after gaining independence on 9 July 2011, South Sudan’s children have yet to live in a country free from conflict. Supported by the IKEA Foundation, War Child is launching a new project to help children cope with the immediate and long-term consequences of conflict, and build the skills they need for a better—peaceful—future.
Made possible through the support of the IKEA Foundation, War Child’s new three-year initiative, ‘Building sustainable futures for children and young people in South Sudan’, will give children and young people in South Sudan—including those displaced by recent conflict violence—the chance to catch-up on their education and improve their outlook on the future. The project will also use creative life-skills activities to enable children and young people to gain the skills they need to cope with their experiences and rebuild trusting relationships with their peers and adults.
Conflict in South Sudan
South Sudan’s long history of conflict has had devastating effects for children across the country. During the more than 30-year conflict with Sudan, hundreds of thousands of children lost or were separated from their parents, were displaced, and directly experienced or witnessed conflict violence. The country’s infrastructure was largely destroyed, leaving children with a severe lack of access to education and the social services that would normally protect them from abuse and exploitation. Young people are particularly affected by the lack of economic opportunities, and risk involvement in criminal activities or with armed groups.
What War Child is doing
The ‘Building sustainable futures’ project was set to begin in Jonglei state in early 2014 when a new outbreak of violence in late 2013 rendered the area largely inaccessible. More than 10,000 people were killed and one million displaced. The project was quickly adapted for implementation in Eastern Equatoria state, currently hosting more than 30,000 internally displaced people (IDPs). Beginning in June, safe spaces will be established in thirteen communities where children can participate in reading, writing and math activities.
Young people will get the chance to take part in vocational training programmes to gain skills to support themselves economically. The project will also harness the potential of participatory video. Children and young people will create and screen films to generate inter-generational discussion and raise awareness on alternatives to harmful norms, attitudes and practices related to child rights and education.
Two more safe spaces will be established for a six-month period in areas settled by children and their families displaced by the on-going crisis. The spaces will allow 1,000 children to take part in literacy classes and targeted psychosocial and recreational activities. An additional 60 young people from IDP sites will be trained in viable livelihood opportunities, provided with start-up kits and supported to start income generating activities.
Overall, the project aims to reach 3,300 children and 850 young people, and engage 3200 parents, caregivers and child-protection officers to ensure the protection and well-being of children and young people.