The U.S. government has announced a new activity to help youth in South Sudan gain knowledge, skills, and competencies to enable them to lead healthy and productive lives.
Through the U.S. Agency for International Development or USAID, the activity will be implemented in 13 counties that are the focus of the agency’s strategic framework.
They are, namely, Kapoeta North and Budi counties in Eastern Equatoria State, Akobo, Duk, Pibor, and Uror counties in Jonglei State.
Others are Leer, Mayendit, and Panyijar counties in Unity State; Baliet and Ulang counties in Upper Nile State; and Jur River and Wau counties in Western Bahr-el Ghazal State.
In a statement seen by Eye Radio, USAID says youth in South Sudan is faced with many challenges, ranging from limited access to basic social services, such as education and health, to widespread unemployment and limited opportunities to engage in productive livelihoods.
Half of South Sudan’s population is under the age of 18, and over 72 percent are under the age of 30.
USAID said despite making up such a significant portion of the population, youth in South Sudan are among the most marginalized, underserved, and untapped segments of the population.
The statement stipulates that limited access to education and livelihood skills and scarce employment opportunities mean that out-of-school youth become more vulnerable to negative coping methods such as substance abuse and crime, and mental health challenges.
USAID’s new Integrated Youth Engagement Activity will support youth to gain knowledge and apply skills they need to lead productive lives.
Haven Cruz-Hubbard, the mission director of USAID in South Sudan says through this youth will contribute positively to their communities.
“This planned activity will provide a unique opportunity for youth in South Sudan’s most marginalized and conflict-affected areas to access services that will provide multiple benefits including functional literacy, numeracy, soft and life skills, social and emotional skills, and access to entrepreneurial and vocational opportunities,” the mission director of USAID in South Sudan said.
Cruz also added that the new activity will support behavior change among the youth to make positive adolescent reproductive health choices, adopt equitable gender norms, and engage in activities to build social cohesion among youth and their communities.
It is not clear how much the activity will cost and when it is starting.
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