John Benington discusses education in the Guardian.
Louise Tickle (If I am alive, I must have an education, 7 March) highlights the crucial importance of schooling for girls as part of any programme of post-conflict reconstruction and development. She rightly criticises international aid agencies for focusing too much on short-term humanitarian relief and ignoring schooling.
I agree, but the situation is not completely bleak. I have just returned from visiting Ibba girls’ school in South Sudan. This is the vision of the local government commissioner Nagomoro Bridget, who was the only girl from Ibba to get schooling beyond the age of 10.
Two years ago she and a local chief, Severio, donated 73 acres of their own land to set up this school and already there are more than 80 10-year-old girls there getting the same opportunities she enjoyed. An additional 40 girls will start each year until the school reaches its target of 360 girls in 2022.
This is a mere drop in the ocean of need, but it is an example of the ways in which girls’ schooling can offer hope, and help to normalise a war-torn and conflict-weary society – and to prepare the women leaders of the future of this country.
Ibba girls’ school is so far largely funded by voluntary and community donations (www.ibbagirlsschool.org) but it receives small per capita grants from the Department for International Development’s programme of Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS). More UK aid to support this kind of education initiative growing at the grassroots would be a good investment.
Emeritus professor, Warwick University
Read the full gender article here.