Education Bridge seeks to create sustainable South Sudanese communities through education and peace building. We believe that education is a reliable bridge to prosperity and autonomy, both for oneself and the community at large. Unfortunately, girls’ education is disfavored in many communities in South Sudan due to cultural perceptions. Without education, girls often end up in poverty and perpetual dependency. In addition, the community is robbed of the skills and talents these girls would have contributed. Beside this problem, education is not affordable for many families, mainly due to poverty. Currently, 51% of the population lives below the poverty line (2016). The organization is committed to promoting education in South Sudan and providing educational opportunities for all, including girls and economically disadvantaged children.
Definition of Problem
To help further this mission, the organization has built a secondary school in Bor, South Sudan. Greenbelt Academy opens in January 2017. The school will serve grades 9-12. One of the primary areas of focus at the school is to promote girls’ education. Girls’ literacy is alarmingly low in the country, merely at 16%. There are many reasons for these staggering numbers, including:
Cultures that undermine the importance of girls’ education
Conflict and civil war in the country
Perceptions of gender roles among girls and in the general community
Lack of girls’ necessities, such as sanitary pads, in schools
Forced child marriage
Keeping these challenges in mind, Education Bridge would like a team of ND students to "look into how we can best succeed in attracting, maintaining & engaging high school-age girls in our school."
Initial Steps and Options
Talk to Ngor Majak, founder of Education Bridge in South Sudan and Gracie Watkins, a Education Bridge Advisory member (and former DAT student) to understand more about the problem and explore the context that could help address the issues, including to design a culturally relevant seminar that could be used with girls in South Sudan.
We recommend that students start by reviewing challenges to education in general, and especially girls’ education. Then it would be useful to put this research in the context of South Sudan. With that knowledge, the team can then research bright spots and best practices from other communities that have had similar challenges and from what they did to successfully address those challenges.
Definition of Success
In the end, we would like contextualized recommendations on how Greenbelt Academy can attract, maintain and successfully engage girls’ students in line with best practices globally.
Development Advisory Team