The first case in South Sudan was officially confirmed in early April.
Given the hardship and suffering the people of South Sudan have already undergone for many years and the extremely low availability and capacity of medical facilities, LWF is extremely concerned about the spread of the virus into any part of the country. Refugee camps, protection of civilian sites, and collective settlement areas for internally displaced people as well as refugees will be especially vulnerable.
LWF is especially concerned about the refugee camps and settlements in Upper Nile and Ruweng states.
LWF plans to conduct awareness campaigns and distribute COVID-19 information and education materials. As schools are closed for now, LWF plans to distribute soap and other supplies for good hygiene in the community centers, cooperatives, and other community structures we work with.
Displacement and conflict
South Sudan gained its independence in 2011. The peace deal ended Africa’s longest-running civil war. Soon tensions flared up between different parties in South Sudan, culminating in another wave of civil war starting in December 2013. Subsequently, South Sudan has become one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.
LWF South Sudan responds to the crisis through a multi-sectoral approach. In 2018, the country program supported 120,552 persons through child protection, livelihoods, and food security, human rights, education and water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH) projects, while offering emergency assistance.
As the 2018 peace agreement is tentatively holding, refugees have started to return to their home communities spontaneously. In a regional approach together with LWF programs in Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia, LWF South Sudan works to facilitate a safe return and re-integration into their home communities.
What we’re doing in South Sudan
The program supports mainly:
- Sudanese refugees and their host communities in the Upper Nile and Unity states
- Vulnerable local communities, IDPs, and returnees in Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria states
- Refugee youth selected from all refugee camps in South Sudan and some urban refugees in Juba for tertiary education scholarship.
Education and child protection
LWF is mandated by UNHCR to implement education and child protection programs for refugees in Jamjang County of Ruweng Administrative Area (Previously part of Unity State), and in Maban county in Upper Nile State. The programs mainly support Sudanese refugees but also extend support to the immediate host community around the camps.
Ruweng Administrative Area (Previously part of Unity State)
In Ruweng, there are 87,519 Sudanese refugees in the two camps of Ajuong Thok and Pamir. About two-thirds of them (64%) are children. Yida settlement is home to 36,485 refugees of which 66% are children. LWF manages education in the two camps, and also child protection in the Yida settlement.
Under Child protection services, LWF works to strengthen care, protection, and direct support to over 5,500 Unaccompanied and Separated Children (UASC), children with disability, child-headed households, sexual and gender-based violence, and other children at risk among the refugees in Ajuong Thok, Pamir and Yida settlement by strengthening their positive coping abilities and enhancing the protective environment, to reduce on sufferings, abuses and ensure safety and dignity. Best interest assessment (BIA) is conducted annually to about 200 UASC and children at-risk children identified are referred for case management or referred for other specialized assistance by other agencies. Community-based protection structures including the Child Protection Committees are at the core of the wider protection of children as well as the youth as their capacity continues to be strengthened through training and technical support.
LWF manages in Ajoung Thok, Pamir and Yida
- 22 Early Childhood Development (ECD) centers (21 in the camps, one in the host community) with 4,966 children
- 11 primary schools (nine in the camps, two in the host community) with 16,377 children
- 7 Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) centers with 3,537 students
- 2 secondary schools with 636 students
Upper Nile State
Maban County in Unity State hosts a total of 144,716 refugees in the four refugee camps (Doro, Yusuf Batil, Gendrassa, and Kaya) of which 60 percent are children. LWF works in all four refugee camps and focuses on education, mandated by UNHCR.
In Maban, LWF manages
- 36 ECD centers (30 in the camps and 6 in host communities) with 10,402 children
- 24 school primary schools with 40,890 students
- 9 ALP centers with 26,098 students
- 3 secondary schools with 1,225 students
- 1 vocational training center which reached 197 youth with tailoring training
Education in a difficult environment
Whereas over 70,000 refugee and host community learners are supported by LWF programs in South Sudan, there are still more than 40 percent of children and youth of school-going age out of school. At the same time, one-fifth of the enrolled learners are over age. The teachers continue to manage large classes with an average of 89 learners sharing a classroom. This is almost twice the South Sudanese standard of 50 students per class. With the change in the curriculum, five students have to share a textbook. Only 57 percent of the teachers have been formally trained. More than 100 students have to share a toilet (more than twice the required standard).
Even with these challenges, more than 70 percent of the students sitting on the national examinations in 2020 passed. The majority of them sat the Certificate of Primary Education examinations, qualifying to join secondary school while those who sat for Certificate of Secondary Education examinations are now eligible for tertiary education. Secondary and tertiary education facilities are limited or not available in the camps. Through the UNHCR Facilitated DAFI Refugee Scholarship Program, LWF currently supports 87 refugees through tertiary universities and colleges online and in South Sudan.
LWF supports child protection with direct support to vulnerable and at-risk children in the mandated camps in Jamjang county, while also mainstreaming protection and psychosocial wellbeing in all the locations where LWF supports education programs. LWF also works towards the inclusion of children with disabilities in the education program and so far over 1000 learners with special needs have been enrolled in schools. These children are supported with specialized learning materials and assistive devices to enable them access to education.
Coordination and Partnership
The LWF works with the Government of South Sudan, particularly with the Ministry of Education and the commission of refugee affairs (CRA), with UNHCR, with other NGO partners working with refugees, and with refugee committees and leaders, as well as the host communities.
LWF also participates in monthly inter-agency coordination platforms at both the national and local levels. This includes participating in meetings that bring together refugee leaders and representatives of all agencies operating in the camps to discuss issues affecting refugees and to share information about ongoing and planned activities.
Updated 6 January 2021
Funding partners include:
- ACT Alliance
- ACT Church of Sweden
- Australian Lutheran World Service
- Brot für die Welt
- Canadian Lutheran World Relief
- Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA)
- Education Cannot Wait (ECW) Committee
- Lutherischer Weltbund-Deutsches Nationalkommittee
- Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)