• Joshua
    Fled the violence in South Sudan
  • Jok's Journey
    Find out how Jok found protection and a new life
  • Safe spaces in South Sudan
    To break the cycle of violence in South Sudan at its 3rd independence day, IKEA Foundation supports War Child's projects.
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South Sudan

Providing child protection, education and psychosocial support for children and youth in the world’s youngest nation.

National context

The people of South Sudan continue to live with the fear and uncertainty resulting from armed conflict. The internal conflict which broke out in December 2013 initially saw some 2.3 million people displaced - the majority of them children - with millions more facing an uncertain future.

A peace agreement between the country’s warring ethnic factions was negotiated in 2015 - but sporadic clashes between government forces and armed groups continued into the spring of 2017. May 2017 saw President Salva Kiir declare a ceasefire and enter into peace talks - but outbreaks of violence are still being recorded.

An estimated 7.6 million South Sudanese - more than half the population - are in need of humanitarian assistance. The violence has seen a large flow of refugees seek safety in neighbouring countries - more than two million South Sudanese have taken refuge in Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya.

The conflict has also had a significant effect on the economy of South Sudan. The country’s economic crisis has triggered food shortages and widespread disruption of health and education resources. A sharp rise in violent crime has also seen targeted killings and sexual violence become common events. 

Situation of children

Years of conflict inside South Sudan have crippled the country’s infrastructure and resulted in the breakdown of social, community and family structures essential for protecting children from harm. The country’s education system is particularly fragile - nearly one in every three schools in South Sudan has been either destroyed, damaged or occupied by armed forces.

The widespread disruption of education and health resources threatens to leave an entire generation in crisis. Almost two million school-aged children are out-of-school, with some 1.3 million children at risk of dropping out of education altogether. Recent figures from UNICEF show that 1.1 million children aged under five are acutely malnourished.

These children - and many others - are denied their right to protection and face significant threats to their safety. These threats include forced displacement, child labour, sexual abuse and recruitment into armed groups. 

What we do

War Child Holland’s programmes in South Sudan are designed to help children cope with the immediate and long-term consequences of conflict and build vital skills - both for themselves and their country’s future.

Our projects combine education and vocational training, psychosocial support and child protection activities to enhanced effect. We utilise participatory and empowering approaches in all our projects. To support this process, War Child also works with parents and caregivers, teachers, community leaders, national and international partner organisations and government officials.

This ‘community-based approach’ places children at the centre of our work - and helps build their strength and resilience. 

Our projects

South Sudan Joint Response 2 and 3

Project to improve the protection and psychosocial wellbeing of vulnerable conflict-affected children in Bor, Jonglei State and Malakal, Upper Nile State. Child protection and food security initiatives play a key role in this project. 

Building Sustainable Futures

This project combines education, vocational training, protection and psychosocial support to equip children and young people with the skills and knowledge to create their own opportunities for a positive future.

Community-Based Child Protection and Psychosocial Support

Project - in collaboration with UNICEF - designed to improve the quality of child protection and psychosocial support services provided by local actors. 

Voices of children

A Long Journey to Safety

Some 1.9 million people inside South Sudan have recently been forced from their homes as a result of the country’s brutal internal conflict - including siblings Jok and Mab.

Both siblings were orphaned when Jok was ten years old. They were later exposed to domestic violence and child labour at the hands of their step-mother.

Jok and Mob eventually moved to live with their uncle in Jonglei State - and began to attend activities in our Child Friendly Space (CFS). Jok spoke out on child rights in a radio programme as part of the structured recreational activities on offer inside the CFS.

Both children are also members of the ‘peer advocacy’ group in their community. There they help raise awareness of child rights and child protection both to their peers and to the adults in their community.

Jok and Mab continue to participate in these activities today. “I love to come to the Child Friendly Space every day,” says Jok. “I thank everyone who helped me move from my difficult life with my bad step-mother to my caring uncle.”

“I love to come to the Child Friendly Space every day.”