The Nucleus of a South Sudanese’s story
The nucleus of a South Sudanese’s story in the recent past decades – and today, has been markedly dominated by protracted civil wars, inter-ethnic feuds and mass displacements. Over 70 percent of South Sudan’s current population is youth who were born either in internally displaced camps or in the neighbouring countries’ refugee camps.
Consequences of more than three-decade-long civil wars have been very devastating and recurrently far-reaching in the livelihoods of every South Sudanese family, and especially young men and women. South Sudan has the lowest literacy rate in the world with 27 percent of the adult population can read and write. While education is a generational investment in most parts of the world, for many literate South Sudanese young men and women, they are being first in their families and communities and lack complete financial support.
Communities’ recovery and rebuilding livelihoods through self-reliance and economic reintegration is met with a number of outright challenges. These include huge life skills deficit and highly manifested psychological trauma. The former makes the youth idle, vulnerable to joining armed factions and susceptible to perpetuating ethnic violence in post-conflict settings.
Support youth and women’s economic resilience
Despite all odds, South Sudanese young men and women – both in refugee camps and within the country are becoming resilient and rejuvenating. They are at the forefront reinvigorating their lives and collectively committing to build better and sustainable communities; through peacebuilding and economic initiatives.
Their efforts can be supported best by creating skills development opportunities, equipping them with peacebuilding tools and providing psychosocial help. Vocational services are a suitable skills development program given the fact that many youth and women do not either have any level of formal education or are primary dropouts. At their age, it will be a futile attempt to follow with academic i.e primary, High School and college, except for optional functional adult literacy.
There is also a need to integrate the three i.e skills development, psychosocial support and peacebuilding into one workable program. Our five year experience working around this model with youth and women indicates that these can create an intended impact best when implemented simultaneously.
An overall goal, targets and sustainability
The overall goal for vocational services is for South Sudanese young men and women to become self-reliant, improve living standards and for community economic reintegration through; life skill sets development. To mitigate any form of violence, former child soldiers need not only psychosocial rehabilitation into mainstream society but economic empowerment as well. If equipped with these skills they cannot only rebuild their livelihoods but can also, collectively build peaceful, better and sustainable communities.
The program’s target is to at least train 70 youth and women per year and 350 in five years. Sustainability include; i) development of a curriculum that takes into account local contexts. YEI proposes a community driven development (CDD) model that integrates skills development with psychosocial and peacebuilding tools; ii) community based skilling productive human resources is both cheap and sustainable in the long run since the beneficiaries can immediately give back to the communities in one way or another; iii) the model is both scalable, adaptable and impact can be easily tracked and measured against set local indicators.
Program activities, beneficiaries and selection criteria
Intended beneficiaries are young men and women with little or no formal education backgrounds at all. Can be refugees, IDPs, former child soldiers and young mothers. Vocational activities include; IT, agribusiness, green technologies, financial literacy, electrical wiring and baking, enterprise development and etc.
Beneficiaries will be selected against the following criteria:
- Must be a South Sudanese refugee, IDPs, ex-child soldiers and young mothers age between 18 to 32 or 35 for females.
- 60 percent of the beneficiaries will women and 40 percent are men
- Beneficiaries must demonstrate a high level of financial needs, interest and commitment to take up the training.
- Candidates must pass pre-admission assessment tests to be admitted into the programs.
- All beneficiaries must indicate commitment to put their acquired skills into use to earn income to improve their living standards and their communities
- YEI takes demographic representation into consideration i.e ethnicity, sex, age, religion and region, beneficiaries are not discriminated against base on any of these or other factors.
Who can support youth and women economic resilience and how?
YEI welcomes generous support from friends, people of goodwill, schools, Academic Institutions, Education agencies, INGOs, Foundations, social enterprises and other entities. We accept personal donations, grants, support in fundraising campaigns, beneficiaries’ placements, volunteerism, in-kinds, and corporate corporate responsibilities.