Supporting the Education of Conflict-Affected Children

In 2011, a conflict broke out in South Kordofan State, displacing thousands of people and causing a serious divide between the people living in Sudanese government-controlled area, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement–North (SPLM-N) held territories, and Sudanese refugee camps in South Sudan. Some progress had been made toward democratization and conflict resolution after the fall of Omar al-Bashir’s regime in 2019; however, the 2021 coup d’etat virtually regressed the peace process. Humanitarian support is limited in Kadugli, the state capital of South Kordofan and the continuous receiver of internally displaced people (IDPs), Yida refugee camp, a mostly Sudanese (Nuba) settlement in South Sudan, as well as in SPLM-N held territories. The situation for the socially vulnerable, especially children, remains harsh. Humanitarian support is limited in Kadugli, the state capital of South Kordofan, Yida refugee camp that is a mostly Sudanese (Nuba) settlement in South Sudan, as well as in SPLM-N held territories. The situation for the socially vulnerable, especially children, remains harsh in these areas. In April 2023, a de-facto civil war erupted between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the capital Khartoum, and in other major cities. The situation continues to be highly fluid and unpredictable.

Activities in 2022 (Kadugli)

First time ever school for many children

We conducted Alternative Learning Program (ALP) targeting conflict-affected out-of-school children for 6 months. 706 students were transferred to public schools, or formal education, upon completion of the ALP curricula. Teachers’ training as well as life-skills training were provided for 34 teachers at the ALP centers. We also managed youth clubs to provide a safe space for children to hang out after school and trained 158 youths who were in charge of administration. As parents keep their children away from school for a variety of reasons, awareness sessions on the importance of education were repeatedly carried out (3,145 participants in total).

Group work at the teachers’ training

Results and challenges in 2022

Over 90% of students passed the final exam

Over 90% of the students in ALP classes in Kadugli passed the final exam and earned their place in public schools. Although teachers’ training and awareness sessions formed crucial parts of JVC’s educational activities as usual, these are not enough to achieve such a high passing rate. Factors such as agricultural work (as household chores), heavy rain, and heightened ethnic tensions all contribute to decreased attendance of the students, which then affect the students’ learning in negative ways. To overcome this and stabilize attendance, JVC provided school lunch, conducted regular home visits, and continued meticulous follow-up on attendance rates, note-taking, and exam scores. The students had access to psychological support at all times too.

Students, mothers, and teachers celebrate the completion of ALP

Activity plan for 2023

In search of a solution under the severest circumstances

The 2023 Sudan conflict forced us to halt all of our programs on the site and focus on minimal tasks such as information gathering and follow-up on past activities instead. The shutdown of finance, electricity, telecommunications, and other core infrastructure significantly disrupted our project administration. Setting the safety of our Sudanese colleagues as the utmost priority, simultaneously, we are doing our best to evaluate the humanitarian needs of the local communities. An influx of IDPs from the war zones into Kadugli, half of them being children, is already seen and more are expected to follow. We are currently searching for the best solution that we can offer with our limited resources, be it conventional ALP or other forms of emergency response.

Students studying with the notebooks provided by JVC

Activities in 2022 (Yida, Pariang County, Ruweng Administrative Area, South Sudan)

Educational support for children with difficult backgrounds

We continued to provide both protection and educational support for 36 children. In addition to the provision of tuition fees, school supplies, and hygiene products, awareness sessions on the importance of education were conducted as well. Children’s school attendance has been stable, all have continued with their studies, and some even went on to enter secondary school with exceptional grades. As the fiscal year 2023 is the final term of JVC’s Yida program, we will cooperate with the local Ministry of Education and the Refugee Council on the handover activities. We aim to facilitate an environment where even after our withdrawal, children’s equitable access to education will be maintained by the parents, schools, government officials, and all other stakeholders in the community.

Activities in 2022 (Buram Locality, SPLM-N held territories)

Helping refugees and IDPs return by facilitating a safe environment

Many hand pumps remain unusable due to destruction and abandonment in the civil war. We repaired 11 hand pumps and conducted awareness campaigns on the means to maintain the facilities and establish hygiene habits. Next, we provided educational supplies to 1,008 children in 4 schools while also rehabilitating 2 classrooms (for 100 children) at a primary school. The rehabilitation of hand pumps is a bigger achievement than it seems as it leaves people without the need to drink saline and muddy water, nor to make an hour round trip five times a day to fetch it. They are finally able to shower daily. The number of beneficiaries is about 5,500. All of JVC’s activities in the SPLM-N held territories were concluded by the end of fiscal year 2022.

Voices and Messages

Thanks to the support of school lunch, my children now do not suffer from hunger

Mother of Saleh, a 7-year-old child in Yida refugee camp

I cannot work long hours because I am blind. As there is always no food in our tent, I used to feed Saleh and his younger brother with boiled leaves of hibiscus, found right outside. This year, Saleh was admitted into JVC’s protection program together with his brother. I am thankful to JVC for the support of both tuition fees and school lunch. We are feeling fulfilled.

Now that a large-scale armed conflict has reoccurred

Hashiguchi Yuta

Sudan Project Manager

The border region between Sudan and South Sudan is not only politically divided into three regions (including the SPLM-N held territories) but is also far away from the capital cities – Khartoum and Juba. This is a serious obstacle in terms of humanitarian access to this place, also decreasing the visibility of atrocities to the outside world. Minimal standards of living are not guaranteed, and human rights violations are common. Now in the face of another de-facto civil war, please do pay attention and try to understand why and how innocent civilians, including children, are always exposed to the highest risks.

[Source: JVC Annual Report 2022]

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