A child-friendly space is the South Sudanese children's happy place

Photos and texts by Lisi Emmanuel Alex, Communications Officer

Conflict always result in negative and devastating impact to people, especially children, as witnessed in South Sudan, among many other countries in the world affected by it. The country’s 12 population has close to five million children.

To help address this situation and ensure the children’s welbeing, World Vision has established 14 child-friendly spaces (CFSs) in the country, eight of them in Juba, the capital city and six in Yambio, the capital of Western Equatoria State.

According to a World Vision review on CFS, “Child Friendly Spaces are a widely used tool to help support and protect children in the context of emergencies. Sometimes called Safe Spaces, Child Centered Spaces and Emergency Spaces for Children, CFSs are used by a growing number of agencies as a mechanism of protecting children from risk, as a means of promoting children’s psychosocial well-being, and as a foundation for strengthening capacities for community child protection capacity.

An estimated 9,418 South Sudanese children go to play and learn together, and are provided with counselling in the established World Vision CFSs, the biggest of which in Juba is in Gumbo with over 3,000 children. When six CFSs were established in Yambio, at least 1,239 children have joined the activities.

Lyndsay Hockin, World Vision Senior Gender and Protection Advisor said the establishment of more CFSs in other locations are underway. The facilities will help thousands of children in South Sudan have access to this happy place safe from the perils of the conflict.