South Sudan is like no place on earth. Vast and sprawling, the country has been affected by decades of civil war, and the majority of the population live in rural mud-thatch homes. In an area the size of France, only a small percentage of roads are tarmacked. There are less than 150 trained midwives in the entire region and maternal mortality is the highest in the world.
South Sudan Food Crisis
We are helping families in dire need in South Sudan where conditions remain harsh, and children face hardship and hunger.
In South Sudan, teenage girls are more likely to die in childbirth than complete their schooling.
One-third of all children are stunted because they don’t have enough food.
Three-quarters of South Sudanese, including 3 million children, get no healthcare. Many die needlessly.
This is the legacy of decades of civil war and many years of neglect.
South Sudan has suffered Africa’s longest civil war, with 2 million dead and 4 million displaced. Today, six years after the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, there is still conflict in South Sudan.
The security situation remains fragile in many areas, as cattle raids and inter-tribal rivalries pose a threat to already vulnerable communities.
What have we achieved?
Saving children’s lives
In the face of some of the worst statistics for children anywhere, we provide free healthcare to keep children and their mothers alive.
We have built more than 40 primary health facilities, and support more than 60, providing lifesaving services for 335,000 children and nearly half a million adults.
In Akobo, Jonglei State, described by BBC as “the hungriest place on earth”, Save the Children surveys showed that nearly 50% of children under five were severely malnourished in 2010.
We set up a life-saving nutrition programme for more than 30,000 children, pregnant women and new mothers.
We’re also training and supporting hundreds of community health workers to diagnose the three biggest killers of children — malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea.
The programme is designed to save thousands of lives, and to be run by the government without support in the future.
Keeping children safe
Many children were separated from their families or orphaned during the war.
We’re identifying lost children and reuniting them with their families.
We also work closely with the government and local authorities to stop violence against children in schools and in the community.
Back to school
With literacy rates among the lowest in the world and a mere 2,000 schools for the entire region in 2006, education is an urgent need.
In 2010 we provided more than 160,000 children with a quality education in Save the Children-supported schools — 88% more than we helped in 2009.
We built schools and trained teachers to strengthen the education system in the long term.
In 2011 we aim to enrol an additional 110,000 children in schools across the country.
- In the new South Sudan, we are helping to build a society that respects children’s rights. We have begun to train government officials, teachers and community leaders, but there is still a long way to go.
- We provide access to treatment and healthcare to 125,000 children under five, work with the Ministry of Health, and train community health workers — part of the campaign to keep newborns, children and mothers alive.
- We want more than 10,000 children to go to school for the first time this year, another 150,000 more to gain access to quality education, and 889 teachers to be trained.
- We’re ensuring that the many hundreds of thousands of returning Sudanese children are kept safe from abuse and are not separated from their families.
- We have built around 400 primary health facilities, providing lifesaving services to 600,000 people.
You can help
Find out more
- Read Southern Sudan's Children: Preparing for an uncertain future
- Read Southern Sudan’s Children: Time to deliver peace and development
- Read “Is this the hungriest place on earth?” from the BBC
- Read Malnutrition in Akobo County, South Sudan Medical Journal
- Read Rescuing the Peace in Southern Sudan: Joint NGO briefing paper
- Read South Sudan: A post-independence agenda for action
- Read our staff blogs from South Sudan