The United States government announced on Wednesday that it would be allocating $43.5 million in order to support ‘youth empowerment’ programs in South Sudan. These programs will be aimed at improving the lives of girls and young women specifically. The funds will be used to help provide education and job training opportunities, as well as to support entrepreneurship initiatives. This investment by the US government is part of its ongoing commitment to the people of South Sudan, and is hoped to lead to a brighter future for the country as a whole.
The beneficiaries of the USAID initiative will be “empowered” with “knowledge and skills that will enable them to lead healthy, engaged, and productive lives,” the agency said. The activity will build on previous USAID investments to enhance the livelihoods of youth across South Sudan, it added.
The USAID initiative will provide youth with the knowledge and skills they need to lead healthy, engaged, and productive lives. Through this initiative, USAID will build on its previous investments to enhance the livelihoods of youth across South Sudan. This will empower youth to create positive change in their communities and improve their own lives.
The four-year initiative, implemented through USAID partner Education Development Center, will recruit 500 youth leaders across South Sudan and train them as mentors for marginalized youth with supportive activities that expand youth access to learning, job training, civic engagement, reproductive health, and social and community cohesion, USAID said in a statement.
The initiative will also work to increase opportunities for meaningful youth engagement in social and economic development, including through increased access to quality education and vocational training, as well as support for youth-led enterprises.
The USAID-supported initiative is part of the broader U.S. government commitment to South Sudan’s peace and stability, and to the development of its people.
It is critical that development programs for young people are rooted in the community and led by youth themselves. This is the only way to ensure that the programs are relevant and responsive to the needs of the young people they serve. The Positive Youth Development Framework is a key tool for USAID staff, partners, and implementers to design and implement programs that empower young people to reach their full potential.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) wrote that the Youth Empowerment Activity will also support 65 local youth organizations with grants, technical training, mentorship, and organizational strengthening. Through this support, the youth organizations will be better equipped to provide services and opportunities to their community members. In turn, this will help to empower young people and create positive change in their communities.
South Sudan is a young country: half of its population is under the age of 18, and more than 72 percent is under the age of 30. This youth bulge presents both opportunities and challenges.
On the one hand, a large youth population can be a source of dynamism and growth. On the other hand, youth are more likely to be unemployed and face limited opportunities for productive livelihoods. They also often have limited access to education and health services.
The government and international community must therefore invest in the country’s youth, to ensure that they can contribute to the country’s development and build a peaceful and prosperous future for all.
Youth who are out of school often have limited access to education and livelihood skills, and they may have difficulty finding gainful employment. This can make them vulnerable to negative coping methods, such as substance abuse and crime, recruitment by armed groups, and mental health challenges. Without access to education and opportunities for positive development, these young people are at risk of becoming a lost generation.
EDC previously implemented the USAID-funded South Sudan Teacher Education Program in 2011 to 2014, which created professional standards for teachers and increased female participation as teachers and leaders in the workforce. The program also provided extensive in-service teacher education to more than 1,700 teachers, many for the first time.
The Teacher Education Program was a boon for the education system in South Sudan, not just because it increased the quality of the teaching workforce, but also because it helped to increase the number of women in the workforce. This is especially important in a country like South Sudan, where women have historically been underrepresented in the workforce.
Since 2004, Education Development Center (EDC) has been working in South Sudan to provide quality education for children and adults. Through the South Sudan Interactive Radio Instruction (SSIRI) program, over 420,000 children and 68,000 adults have received audio instruction. The program has been successful in reaching those who are unable to attend traditional schools due to conflict or other reasons. USAID has been a major supporter of the SSIRI program and continues to invest in education programs like this one that can have a lasting impact on communities in South Sudan.