Preparing tomorrow’s South Sudanese leaders through education and local engagement.

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Image by Tamara Banks

On July 9, 2011, with significant backing from the United States, South Sudan became independent of northern Sudan and sought its future as the newest country – and newest democracy – in the world. This happy moment followed decades of civil war with the former dominant north that killed over two million people, mostly civilian black African southerners, and displaced at least four million more southerners.

At this time, however, South Sudan faces an uncertain future as a functional democracy. According to the World Bank, literacy in South Sudan is the lowest in the world: 73% of the population is illiterate and illiteracy stands at a staggering 84% for women. The aspirations of the South Sudan people have been made even more difficult due to internal conflict that broke out between its leaders in late 2013, causing widespread civilian suffering, human rights violations and loss of educational and economic infrastructure.

The hope for [South] Sudan lies in the young people who want a life of peace, of opportunity to go to school, to work, to provide for their families and to see their country thrive….Daniel Majok Gai, PESS Executive Director

Democratic, educational and economic progress requires empowerment of the South Sudanese themselves. Since 2005, Project Education Sudan (now Project Education South Sudan) has lived this philosophy – achieving seemingly impossible results in some of the most undeveloped parts of the country. Now is the time to leverage PESS’s experience with – and leadership by – the South Sudanese themselves to grow wise leadership and promote widespread education and economic growth in the world’s newest country.

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