News / Africa

South Sudan's Ticking Youth Time-Bomb

South Sudan Vice-President Riek Machar said his government will have to pay more attention to the plight of the youth if the new nation is to avoid the popular uprisings happening in the Arab World.

Project Education Sudan
Project Education Sudan

A new study says the challenges facing youth in South Sudan will prove a major obstacle to its development as an independent nation.

The report used Central Equatoria as a case study, and found that 38 percent of males and 58 percent of females, aged 15 to 19, have attended school.

South Sudan Vice-President Riek Machar attended the release of the report in Juba. He said his government will have to pay more attention to the plight of the youth if the new nation is to avoid the popular uprisings happening in the Arab World.

“Youths is engine of change, an engine of development, we have seen it in our lifetime when we created the SPLM/SPLA,” he said.  “Without youth we wouldn’t have done it. Which we have seen also in the rest of the world, in particular now in the North and Middle East, changes are coming about because of youth and therefore any government will be interested to cater problems of youth.  If it is a problem of employment, the government must be there to address such a problem.”

Researcher Natalie Forcier, from the organization Population Council, that created the report, said one reason that girls have even lower education rates than boys is because many girls are illegally married off and forced to quit school before they reach adulthood.

“Some of our key findings is that we have a lot of proportion of girls who are married before the legal age of 18, according to the 2008 Child Act,” she said.  “The majority of those in school are not married, they know very little about young adults and reproductive choices and little is done about early marriages. It is things like health, poverty and education.”

The 2008 South Sudan census shows that 40 percent of women were married before turning 18 years of age, while 11percent were married before the age of 15.

Abak Rajab of the Coalition of Southern Sudan Civil Society Organizations (CASU) said changing these statistics will require changing how people think.

“On the issue of drop out of young girls in schools in Southern Sudan, I believe this is mainly a cultural issue,” he said.  “We have a belief in most of our communities that a girl at the age of 14 is already mature and so can easily engage in sexual acts and when it comes to pregnancy, you find that they are not ready.”

Abak also blames the South Sudan government for not educating the population on the child act, which outlaws the marriage of girls under the age of 18.

“The government is not committing resources to enlighten the people on the law of the Child Act,” he said. “Because this law has to be popularized among the people, especially the local community leaders like chiefs.  These are the people who have direct contact with the population. We have in some states the clash of cultural law and the national law.”

Isaiah Choi, of the Southern Sudan Center for Census, Statistics, and Evaluation, says surveys like this are necessary so that the government can plan proper social policies for the new country.

“The government can only address those issues when they are identified,” he said.  “The problems of the youths may not necessarily be the same from the rural areas or in urban. They differ from one location to another, even among Counties there are bound to be differences. So unless we are able to assess their needs, the problems that are facing them, the government will not be able to make and form decisions.  It is going to be an eye opener for our government not only at GoSS level, but at the state level, as well as at our county levels.”

Many youth in South Sudan are uneducated in part because of the more than 20 years of civil war with the north of Sudan, which made a normal childhood largely impossible. Many youth, even children, participated directly in the conflict as combatants.

The Minister of Youth, Sports and recreation Mr. Makwac Teng agrees that his government needs to do more.

“The Youth of South Sudan constitute a large part of the population and they have suffered gravely from the war and indeed were the primary actors and victims at the same time,” he said. “The scars of wars are still visible on them both physically and morally. The government of South Sudan has a responsibility to develop and empower the youths to allow them live to their full potential and make the effective contribution in all spheres of life, as individuals and as well as members of the wider society.”

The report argued that a low level of education among the youth will not only restrict their employment opportunities, but also leave the young men particularly vulnerable for recruitment into militias due to a lack of other opportunities.

Minister Teng said sports can help pull youth from negative influences.

“Through sports, the youth will acquire important skills for life, discipline, confidence, leadership, tolerance and cooperation,” he said.  “Youth participation in sports will not only reduce the likelihood of disease, but indeed serve as an effective tool for youth mobilization against harmful habits such as drug abuse, crime and other anti-social habits.”

Youth in South Sudan make up 70 percent of the population, yet they have almost no representation in the state institutions, nor are there many jobs for them to find.

Already, disenchanted militia commanders have found it easy to recruit young men to fight in their rebellions.  Often, all the youth have to be promised is food and the promise of a future position in the army, and they are ready to risk their lives fighting.



You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid