Speaking during the signing of an Agreement for the additional funds of NOK 40million (approx. USD 5 million), Lars Andersen Norwegian Ambassador, said education, particularly for young girls, is an important element in supporting lasting peace. “The Back to Learning initiative has provided education to tens of thousands of out of school children and we are very happy to support its further expansion,” he said.
Undersecretary Michael Lopuke from the Ministry of Education who witnessed the signing at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Juba, thanked the Government of Norway for their continued support to the children of South Sudan, noting that even his childhood classroom had been built with Norwegian assistance. He expressed his hope that the assistance would benefit the most deprived communities in the country.
“The Back to Learning programme has brought education to children who would otherwise miss out on this vital resource for their future and the future of the country,” said Andrea Suley, UNICEF’s acting Representative. “Thanks to the Government of Norway, now even more children will benefit.”
Back to Learning was launched in February 2015 as a flagship programme to bring out of school children to the classroom. Norway has been supporting the initiative since its beginning. Between 2015-2017, the Embassy’s contribution was the equivalent of U.S. 5.6 million dollars, which UNICEF used to provide education services to 40,000 out of school children.
According to South Sudan’s country study released by UNESCO in May 2018, at least 2.2 million children reported to be out of school. The report warned that the figure is projected to rise, if nothing is done, and thousand more will be at risk of dropping out by 2019.