The Challenge

South Sudan has been named as the worst country in the world for girls to get an education. Right now, a fifteen-year-old girl in South Sudan is more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than she is to complete secondary school.

As in many African countries, women and girls are responsible for most household tasks, including cooking and childcare. Collecting water alone can take up to eight hours a day in many villages. At least 1 in 2 girls in South Sudan drop out from schooling by age 10 due to these domestic pressures, and can end up married or pregnant before they have even left childhood.

It is incredibly difficult for a girl to stay in school in South Sudan. The education of a generation has been disrupted by decades of war, and girls in particular face formidable cultural and economic barriers.

The facts

South Sudan


South Sudan, a mainly African and Christian country, has only recently emerged from over 25 years of war with north Sudan, a mainly Muslim, Arabic country. At least 1.5 million people are thought to have lost their lives in the fighting.

A peace agreement was signed in 2005, which resulted in South Sudan becoming an independent nation on 9th July 2011, but it is still volatile within its own recently created boundaries.

South Sudan is one of Africa’s least developed countries, but the newest nation in the world has benefitted from international aid since 2005, and stands to benefit from inheriting the bulk of Sudan's oil wealth.

The peace dividend, however is hindered by continuing border disputes, rivalries within the governing party, a lack of physical infrastructure and limited economic development. Over-dependence upon oil revenues (more than 80% of GDP) clouds the immediate future, but long term prospects probably lie in diversifying the economy towards development of agriculture and forestry.

Click on the below for more key facts on South Sudan, or read the BBC's profile and timeline for the country here.


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