Child protection neglected by donors in South Sudan

World Vision called upon international donors to prioritise the needs of children in South Sudan in a report released today.

In the report, Fear & Want – Children Living in Fear in South Sudan, World Vision called upon the international community and the Government of South Sudan to prioritise the needs of children during the emergency while working towards an end to the conflict. Although emergency programmes have received 72 per cent of the funding needed from international donors, programmes that ensure the protection of people, particularly children, are not fully funded. (UNICEF, South Sudan Education Cluster & the Financial Tracking Service)

“These children live in fear,” said Perry Mansfield, National Director of World Vision in South Sudan. “They want a normal life – more school and less work – and for the sake of the country’s future, we must make this a priority. We owe them this,” he added. 

“For most of the children we spoke to, displacement has increased the time they spend working and reduced the time they spend in school. If we fail to address the distress and fear that these children feel, there will be long-term implications. Protecting children now has the potential to secure a better future for South Sudan,” said Mansfield. 

“60 percent of the population in South Sudanese is under 18 and some of these children have already lived through a civil war. Their needs are immense, and need to be prioritised if the prospects for the country are to improve,” said Mansfield.

World Vision calls on donors and the humanitarian community to:

· Fully fund protection and education programs

· Provide funding for mental health and psychosocial support

· Carry out a comprehensive assessment of child labour practices and causes

· Fund programs that equip adolescents and adults with livelihood skills

Jonathan is ten and lives in a camp for internally displaced people where he is protected from violence. He voices the same opinion as many of the children who contributed to the report when he says “I want to be taken to a very good school. The school here is very crowded. Sometimes we cannot concentrate on our lessons simply because students were very many in one class,” he said

More than half of all internally displaced children are out of school (UNICEF). This, combined with the long-term stress that they experience, may have a lifelong impact on their learning, health and development, according to studies by Harvard University. 

The report surveyed children in Central Equatoria and Upper Nile States (places where hundreds of thousands of people have been internally displaced). It found that nearly one year after conflict flared up in South Sudan, children are still at risk from physical harm and violence. Children want to return home, but they can’t.