South Sudan Employment Initiative
In 2015, the VAD Foundation made a Clinton Global Initiative commitment, titled the 'The South Sudan Employment Initiative", which will provide vocational training along with S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and business classes to 200 young adults over the course of three years. The goal of the Initiative is to simultaneously provide meaningful employment opportunities to young peoplewhile also improving the country’s economy and infrastructure.
Individuals enrolled in the program will be paired with a mentor in a specific field to gain a technical skill through the course of the program. The enrolled students will receive vocational training, complete a financial literacy course, and a micro-enterprise business course. Program participants will be supported through developing an individualized plan for their stipend that will be issued after program completion. After a program participant completes their training, they will receive a $300 stipend and be placed in a job with a partner organization or create their own micro-enterprise in the area where they have gained training and developed a financial plan.
Only 12% of women and 11% of men
in South Sudan are formally employed,
making the average unemployment rate 89.5%
The program will pair students with mentors, instructors, and masters within specific fields that will benefit the community at large. They will create small enterprises and address needs like creating sustainable local food sources, renewable energy, and manufacturing items that are needed by the community, using local resources, such as soap, chalk, and candles.
Students in the vocational training program will learn sustainable agriculture skills including irrigation and water conservation from rainy to dry seasons, crop rotation, and pairing animal husbandry and soil nutrition. They will also learn solar installation and maintenance through the existing and growing solar grid at Marial Bai Secondary School, in addition to new projects. This will be of great benefit as electrical engineers and technicians in the solar field have great employment potential throughout the region. Additional S.T.E.M. training will be given and will train students how to manufacture personal hygiene products from local resources.
Much of South Sudan struggles with ongoing food insecurity and unreliable access to electricity which is mostly provided by gas generators throughout the region. The geography of South Sudan makes it a perfect candidate for large-scale farming and solar power. All the vocational training fields are areas of great potential growth in the region due to its immediate needs.
The civil war in Sudan killed two and a half million people and displaced nearly six million South Sudanese between 1983 and 2005. The infrastructure in South Sudan was completely devastated leaving the citizens of the newly independent country to rebuild all of the education, agriculture and community systems. Although South Sudan has accomplished much in the years since independence, widespread poverty, unemployment, inter-ethnic clashes and conflict with Sudan remain chronic issues. According to Oxfam, only 12% of women and 11% of men in South Sudan are formally employed, making the average unemployment rate 89.5%, which is often even higher in rural communities.
In 2007, the Valentino Achak Deng (VAD) Foundation made a CGI commitment, to build the first secondary school in the region. Since its opening in 2009, Marial Bai Secondary School has served approximately 1,450 students, created hundreds of temporary jobs and 45 full time positions in Marial Bai, South Sudan. It is the highest ranking Secondary School that is free for students to attend. The school has the largest girls' secondary school operation in the country of South Sudan and focuses heavily on gender equality and delaying marriage.
Drawing from the experience of students who either could not commit to four years of secondary school, who cannot afford university tuition, or are a better candidate for vocational training due to lack of primary training or the pressing need to generate income for their family tells us our program is urgently needed--the VAD Foundation realized it was necessary to develop an apprenticeship and vocational program in South Sudan that would prepare young adults for the local workforce and create small businesses at the local level. Moreover, the experience of recent years has proven that it will take the Government of South Sudan longer to develop enough higher education institutions and a better job market to absorb the vast numbers of unemployed youth, including our graduates.
Number of direct full-time permanent jobs created: 10.
Number of direct full-time, temporary jobs created: 250.
Number of direct part-time, permanent jobs created: 2.
Number of students enrolled both full-time and part-time: 200.
Number of direct vacant full-time, permanent jobs filled: 200.
Percent of jobs created to be filled by female employees: 50%.
Number of women who receive female empowerment training: 100.
Number of students who received both job training and training through vocation program that will lead to employment opportunities: 200.
Number of smallholders who received training in new techniques: 200.
Number of clients provided with financial services: 200.
Number of free or reduced-cost meals provided by the commitment: 75,000.
Number of students who received scholarships: 200.
Amount of dollars (USD) invested in green construction and building: $150,000.
Growth in value of clients' average net income by time of commitment's completion: 40%.
Number of individuals that demonstrate a change in knowledge and behavior as a result of exposure to an awareness campaign: 200 as a result of life skills workshops covering child marriage, sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, legal rights of women.
Support the South Sudan Employment Initiative
The VAD Foundation seeks financial resources, partners interested in supporting the program, and media support. Preliminary planning has provided local implementing partners and best practice information. To contact our staff about partnering, please email email@example.com.