#MYWorld South Sudan: Working for Gender Equality through Education

From UNDP South Sudan

Yine Yenki Nyika is Co-Founder and Mentorship Director of “GoGirls ICT Initiative”. Founded by a group of dedicated young South Sudanese women, the initiative aims to engage, educate and empower women and girls in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Yine has also involved the GoGirls in MYWorld2030, a global survey aiming to raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals, map priorities among citizens, and help decision makers understand citizen perceptions and priorities.

Yine, her GoGirls team members, and a few more volunteers chose to collect survey responses and raise awareness about the SDGs among South Sudanese youth who find themselves in between school or University and work. By approaching small businesses and Boda boda motorcyclists at their stopping places along busy Juba roads, Yine and her team sought to explore what kind of lives this population group are living. They were particularly interested in the situation for young women and mothers. Founded by and working for youth, the GoGirls seeks to find ways to engage and empower young South Sudanese. Yine finds that targeting youth through the MYWorld survey provides a good starting point to better understand and develop activities for this group.

GoGirls ICT Initiative is already working for the SDGs through its focus on education, girls’ empowerment, and gender equality. Thus, the MYWorld survey feeds into their work and only represents a “different way of solving our common problems”, says Yine. She finds the interactive approach that the survey provides interesting and useful. Her experience is that “people feel important, valued and safe when reached out to, and they freely share information about their lives, challenges and future aspirations. As a result, one gets to clearly understand their problems”. Yine finds it difficult to choose one SDG of high importance to her. “I like all the 17 SDGs”, she says laughing. However, Quality Education (Goal 4) and Gender Equality (Goal 5) are of particular concern to Yine.

“Education and Gender Equality go hand in hand. Education cuts across all the SDGs, like No Poverty, Decent work and economic growth, and Gender Equality. When we say: “education for all”, this also includes the other gender which is often left out, namely the girls”.

The inclusion of girls in the education system translates into a key principle for sustainable development and the SDGs; Leaving no one behind. According to Yine, if the education system is strengthened and quality education ensured for all, illiteracy rates will decrease, and we will see progress on many SDGs in South Sudan. Pointing to the multiple challenges faced by and violations committed against women and girls in South Sudan, Yine calls for and highlights the need for establishing forums or spaces where women and girls can talk freely and speak up about issues concerning them.

Also published on Medium.