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GESS leader calls for an end to early and forced marriage

Author: Emmanuel kile | Published: Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Schoolgirls at a cultural event in Rumbek, the capital of Lakes State, in 2019 | Credit | Loreto Schools

The team leader of Girls’ Education-South Sudan (GESS) has called for an end to early and forced marriage in the country.

Akuja de Garang believes many girls are not completing their studies because of early pregnancies and forced marriages.

“We know that girls have challenges of enrolment in schools. We know that there are issues and history around early marriages and unplanned early pregnancy is going on around the country, particularly last year,” de Garang said on Eye Radio’s dawn show.

Today, Wednesday, July 7, is the date Dr. John Garang de Mabior declared to be National Girls’ Education Day in 2004.

According to the State of Adolescents and Youth Report, 2019, three out of ten girls are already mothers in South Sudan.

Launched in May 2020, the report showed that four out of 10 girls are already married off before the age of 18.

A separate study conducted in June 2018 noted that approximately 75 percent of girls in the country are not enrolled in primary school.

Akuja de Garang, the team leader of GESS, urged parents and guardians to support girls’ enrolment in schools to help them pursue their dreams.

“As a country, we need to remember that both genders are going to contribute to the development of this country, and education is important for the development,” she added.

Started in 2013, GESS is a program run by the Ministry of Education with support from UKAID to transform the lives of a generation of girls in South Sudan through supporting their education.

It provides cash to school-attending girls to encourage them to remain in school.

The program also supports the schools the girls are studying in.

Today’s National Girls’ Education Day 2021 is being celebrated under the theme: “Creating a safe and conducive learning environment for the girls during Covid-19 pandemic and beyond”.

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