JUBA, July 24 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan said Wednesday it has commenced the process of transferring cash to some 288,000 girls in order to keep them in school amid high school dropouts due to more than five years of conflict.
Akuja De Garang, Team Leader of Girls in Education South Sudan (GESS) supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) said the second phase of the program will provide cash transfers to more than 288,000 girls across the country that have been validated to receive the payment.
"The GESS cash transfers help to remove the financial pressure of going to school, as well as encourage enrollment, regular attendance and retention of girls in school," Garang told journalists in Juba.
"We are proud to announce the start of the cash transfer process. In accordance with the UK Department for International Development's 'leave no one behind' commitment, cash transfers help some of the most marginalized girls to purchase education enabling items," she said.
Girls make up 45.44 percent of total enrollment in 2019 in primary school whereas in secondary school 38.7 percent are enrolled amid increased pressures girls face as they get older as some end up into forced early child marriages which are persistent in South Sudan.
The cash transfers amounting to 68.4 million pounds (1.6 million U.S. dollars) will be handed out to the girls in five year period targeting girls in Primary 5 to Senior 4 who are at most risk of dropping out.
"Girls face increased social and cultural pressure to drop out of school to enter employment or to get married. These poor educational outcomes have a negative effect on South Sudan's economy, and increase levels of inequality," added Garang.
Deng Deng Hoc, the minister of education said they will ensure transparency and accountability in order for all beneficiaries to benefit.
"Cases of theft will not be tolerated. We care very much about every incident because every cash transfer taken from a girl is a girl who has missed out on her right," said Hoc.
He disclosed that the cash transfers will be done through Kenyan-owned Cooperative bank.
An estimated 2.2 million children in South Sudan dropped out of school in 2017, according to statistics by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) due to destruction and looting of schools during the conflict that further displaced millions, leaving some children affected psychologically.