At least 43 pupils in Fangak, Jonglei State last year sat and 28 passed their first Primary School Leaving Exams since the conflict began in 2013. Four years ago, education was not a priority in Fangak like other parts affected by the conflict.
The European Union through its humanitarian office ECHO in 2016 provided Finn Church Aid (FCA) with funds to support teaching and learning in Fangak. The project prioritised construction of schools and attracting learners, building the population’s resilience, training teachers as well as motivating parents by supporting with agricultural training and tools for farming and fishing and cash transfers which help them feed their families and start businesses.
In such a largely pastoral community, parents prefer their boys herd family animals and girls marry off before 18 to sending them to school but this trend is gradually changing.
“We are proud to work as teachers. Before these structures were completed, we used to teach under trees, even throughout the conflict,” Mr. James Chuol, one of the teachers said of the structure constructed by the project.
Training of teachers has greatly improved their competence and the pupils are enjoying learning. “I now feel very comfortable with asking my teacher about things I did not understand during the lecture. They will come to me individually, and explain patiently until I understand,” said Nyaluak Maker, 15, class 2, of William Chuol Primary School.
Maker's mother, Teresa (single mother), who also received seeds to plant maize and pumpkins, says her family now has two meals a day, which is better than before this project. “My being illiterate does not mean that I do not know how important school is. Education is particularly important for girls. In school, they are safe from violence and other bad things. It is better that they become responsible and educated mothers in the future than to marry them off to men when they are only children,” Teresa said.
A total of 130 teachers were trained within the project, more than 7,000 pupils can access learning spaces and materials and with awareness campaigns included, there are more than 20,000 direct beneficiaries and about 60,000 indirect beneficiaries.