An UNMISS-funded project - the construction of a secondary school in remote Kediba, South Sudan - is expected to boost literacy rates, ensure girls and boys receive equal learning opportunities, and enable students to pursue higher education without having to move away from their homes. Photo by Martin Siba/UNMISS
WESTERN EQUATORIA - “I am overjoyed to be able to continue my higher education,” said 17-year-old Hediya Wilfred Surur. “I need to support my aging parents and further education will definitely help me get a good job,” she added enthusiastically.
Hediya was speaking at the handover of a meaningful Quick Impact Project in Mundri, Western Equatoria—a newly built secondary school, funded by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
Students in remote Kediba, a part of Mundri county, no longer need to travel long distances to the nearest public school or relocate to the country’s capital Juba for a quality education.
Parents too have cause to jubilate, thanks to this development.
“As mothers we were worried about our children’s future,” revealed Zenobia Emmanuel, a parent. “We had to send them away from home to nearby counties such as Mundri or Maridi, or even as far off as Juba for a quality education. It meant that we were constantly anxious about them. But now, with this school, we have the opportunity to educate our children without robbing them of a stable parental presence at home,” she added happily.
For Thomas Bazawi, a programme assistant with the UNMISS Protection, Transition and Reintegration Section, such testimonies are meaningful and heartening.
“Our aim, through the QIPs programme, is to address urgent public needs through small-scale infrastructural interventions that have a massive impact on improving the lives of community members. The construction of this school is a key example. We hope that Kediba residents will manage the school well; UNMISS is always here to provide them with additional support, should they need it,” he averred.
Mr. Bazawi thanked county authorities for supporting the project, which was implemented by local partner Community Organization for Peer Education (COPE).
The school is not only expected to contribute to increased literacy but also to convince previous dropouts to resume their studies, plus encourage refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their places of origin.
Another benefit: Providing girls equal learning opportunities.
“As community members, it’s our duty to to make the most use of this conducive learning facility and increase enrollment of girls to counter harmful traditional practices such as early or forced marriages,” said Fozia Margaret, County Commissioner, Mundri East.
“I advise parents to think of education as power because when girls and boys are equally educated, they have the power to build a stable and secure South Sudan,” she added.
The new built Kediba secondary school consists of one block of four classrooms designed to accommodate some 200 students.