#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.

Sustainable Development Goals of immediate concern to South Sudanese and their families

By UNDP South Sudan

“Participating and helping with the MYWorld2030 survey is my way of helping my community and South Sudan at large.” 
Tabann de Bol, MYWorld Volunteer

What is needed in South Sudan? They share their voices for a better world.

The MYWorld2030 survey brings people’s voices into debates on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development – the Sustainable Development Goals – in South Sudan and across the World. It is one of the mechanisms through which disaggregated data is collected and analysis is enabled to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. It therefore contributes to UNDP Strategic Plan outcome on advancing poverty eradication in all form and to UNDP Signature Solution of “keeping people out of poverty”. The project is financed by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

UNDP South Sudan, with financial support from the Government and People of Norway, mobilized Volunteers to reach out and collect data for the Survey. It is also one of the commitments of UNDP South Sudan to develop “tools and country knowledge products applied to mainstream Sustainable Development Goals.

This data and analysis is meant for multiple purposes. First, it is meant to create opportunities for SDG engagement and awareness. Second, it is meant to monitor which of the SDGs South Sudanese consider are of immediate concern to them and their families. Third, it is meant to monitor perceptions of South Sudanese overtime, across geographical areas (place), gender, and generation regarding whether the situation is getting better, worse, or remaining the same. Fourth, it is meant to inform public and private choices on which SDGs to invest to address the greatest concerns of the South Sudanese. Note that this will also change over time, place, gender and generation.

“People might ask, where are the youth of South Sudan? They are full of conflict, they like fighting… We can change this, step by step. Achieving SDGs is a collective effort, it is not done only from the government side”.
Emmanuel Lobijo, MYWorld Volunteer

For instance, if people are unaware of SDGs, it is an opportunity to create awareness. In the case of South Sudan, only 45.4 percent are aware. Creating more awareness will enable South Sudanese appreciate global development discourse. At least ½ of the South Sudanese consider SDG 1 (No poverty), 3 (Good health and wellbeing), 4 (Quality Education), 5(Gender Equality), 6(Clean water and Sanitation), and 16 (Peace, Justice and strong institutions) of immediate concern to them and their families. At least ½ of the South Sudanese consider SDG 1 (No poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 14 (Life below water) have become worse. These inform investment choices for the public and private sectors.

The data was collected in 2018 covering interviewing 464 males and 203 females, making a total of 667 people.

Low Awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals

Are you aware of the Sustainable Development Goals or ‘Global Goals’ signed by 193 World Leaders at the UN in September 2015? The results show that the awareness of SDGs is low (see Figure 1), with less than ½ of the respondents indicating that they are aware of the SDGs. That is true for male and females. However, slightly more than ½ of those with education level beyond secondary are aware.

Figure 1: Percent of respondents aware of the sustainable development goals

Which goals are of most immediate concern?

Which six of the following Global Goals are of immediate concern to you and your family? Respondents were asked to identify six of the Global Goals that are of immediate concern to them and their family (see Figure 2). At least ½ of the respondents indicated that SDG 1 (No poverty), 3 (Good health and wellbeing), 4 (Quality Education), 5(Gender Equality), 6(Clean water and Sanitation), and 16 (Peace, Justice and strong institutions) were of immediate concern to them and their families. We do not see major differences between men and women.

Figure 2: Global Goals that are of immediate concern to you and your family

Perceptions of progress on the Goals

Respondents were asked: “Would you say the situation on your chosen Goals has got better, stayed the same or got worse over the past twelve months?”. Respondents were of the view that At least ½ of the South Sudanese consider SDG 1 (No poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 14 (Life below water) have become worse.  This points to areas for possible investment by the public and private (national or international), especially in addressing poverty, hunger and decent work. 

Figure 3: Perception of whether the situation has gotten better or worse or remained the same for each SDG (Percent)

What does this mean for the National Development Strategy of South Sudan?

The National Development Strategy expected results and expected strategic deliverables are reproduced in Tables 1 and 2. In both instances, it is SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), 2 (No hunger), 3 (Health and wellbeing), 4 (Quality Education) and 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure).

Except for SDG 9 addressed by the National Development Strategy, the strategy seems to address the SDGs of immediate concerns to South Sudanese and their families.

In addition, except for SDG 8, the NDS seems to prioritize those that the South Sudanese consider having become worse in the past 12 months.

Table 1: Expected Results

NDS Outcomes SDG Related Indicator NDS Indicator
Feel safe to go about their business SDG 16.1.4 Proportion of population that feel safe walking alone around the area they live % of population that report feeling safe to go about their business % population that feel walking alone around the area they live
Enjoy stable prices SDG 2.c.1 Indicator of food price anomalies Rate of inflation (year-on-year)
Access to basic services SDG 16.6.2 Proportion of the population satisfied with their last experience of public services % of population satisfied with their last experience of public services

Table 2: Expected Strategic Deliverables

Strategic Deliverables SDG Related Indicator NDS Indicator
Create enabling conditions for and facilitate the voluntary return and integration of displaced South Sudanese SDG 16.1.5 Total number of people displaced internally due to conflict and violence % of total number of people displaced internally due to conflict and violence return % of total number of refugees due to conflict and violence return
Develop appropriate laws and enforce the rule of law NDS x: Proportion of people with rule of law related grievance that receive satisfactory redress Proportion of people with rule of law related grievances that receive satisfactory redress
Ensure secure access to adequate and nutritious food 2.4.1 Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture Net Cereal production
Silence the guns by facilitating a permanent cessation of hostilities 16.1.2 Conflict-related deaths per 100,000 population, by sex, age and cause Conflict-related deaths per 100,000 population
Restore and expand the provision basic services 3.1.2 Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel 3.b.1 Proportion of the population with access to affordable medicines and vaccines on a sustainable basis Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel (%)
Restore and expand the provision basic services cont. 4.1.1. Proportion of children and young people achieving at least a minimum proficiency level. 4.6.1 Percentage of population in a given age group achieving at least a fixed level of proficiency in functional (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills, by sex Proportion of children completing primary education
Restore and maintain basic transport infrastructure such as roads and bridges SDG 9.1.1 Proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road Proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road

What does this mean for the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan?

The Revitalized Peace Agreement has 4 substantive chapters that directly relate to the SDGs which have been reflected as of immediate concerns to South Sudanese and their families and/or are considered to have worsened:

  • Chapter II: Permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements (SDSG 16);
  • Chapter III: Humanitarian assistance and reconstruction (SDG 3 & 4);
  • Chapter IV: Resource, economics and financial management (SDG 8);
  • Chapter V: Transitional justice, accountability, reconciliation, and healing (SDG 16);

The other chapters are strongly linked to organization:

  • Chapter I: Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity
  • Chapter VI: Parameters of Permanent Constitution
  • Chapter VII: Joint Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Chapter VIII: Supremacy of the agreement and procedures for amendment.

Innovative Private Sector collaboration brings valuable citizen insights on SDG targets from Sri Lanka, Lebanon and Romania

3-country study illustrates how perceptions data can complement official national data sources and build a fuller picture of people’s daily experiences across SDG targets areas

One-third of people in Sri Lanka know about the SDGs. Evidence suggests that awareness is growing around the world but there is still a very long way to go. In Lebanon 24% of people have heard of the SDGs, but in some countries, such as Romania, awareness of the SDGs is a mere 8% of the population. Across all three countries younger people are more likely to know about the SDGs than older people.

These are among the findings of a 2018 MY World representative study which asked residents in the 3 countries about the SDGs and levels of public services in their daily lives. The study worked with local research agencies in Romania, Lebanon, and Sri Lanka to carry out 1,000 face-to-face surveys in each country. Respondents were systematically sampled and statistically weighted to be representative of the national population in each country with respect to sex, region, and urbanity. The 24 questions, drawn from the MY World question library, were intended to inform discussions at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, around its key 2018 theme of Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies and the 3 countries were selected from the list of countries presenting Voluntary National Reviews this year.

The study aimed to link discussions around SDG delivery with the public perceptions of access to key services and to identify some of the pressing issues in the different countries. For instance, more than 40% of Lebanese people always or often have problems accessing both electricity and clean drinking water whereas this is much rarer in both Romania and Sri Lanka. But of the three countries Lebanon reported the highest levels of improvements in cleanliness of playgrounds in the past year. 

Romanians are more likely than Sri Lankans to have a recycling facility close to their home (45% compared to 34%), but Sri Lankans were far more likely to use the service. Seventy percent of Sri Lankans reported that they had recycled the last bottle they had used and 71% also believed the bottle was recycled – compared to 44% and 51% in Romania.

With respect to public transit, Sri Lanka had the lowest availability of service among the three countries. But interestingly, this was not perceived as problem, with 80% of people saying they are quite satisfied of very satisfied with this level of service.

Several of these finding help to demonstrate the value of capturing and comparing public perceptions of services beyond merely referencing the service delivery indicators from official statistics. We see that the demand for and satisfaction with services may seem to contrast with the actual level of service delivery. 

Jordan Robinson, Director for the Development Practice, Kantar Public, presents the study results at an event during the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York.

The study is part of a longer-term collaboration between the UN SDG Action Campaign and Paragon Partnerships to deepen analytical capacity across the 17 SDGs and of citizen perceptions of progress toward the SDGs. The study demonstrates the tremendous potential for private research firms to contribute valuable citizen perception insights into the heart of the SDG reporting processes. Governments and the UN can access timely data on SDG targets at national level and track progress on the 17 SDGs over time.

See the presentation and watch the side event (1hr12mins – 1hr18mins) at the High Level Political Forum where this study was presented by Jordan Robinson, Director for the Development Practice, Kantar Public as a member of Paragon Partnerships.

A representative MY World study in Romania, Lebanon and Sri Lanka sheds light on SDGs on water, sanitation and public infrastructure

This study was generously conducted and supported by:


The PEACE BOAT sails from Yokohama to take the Sustainable Development Goals around the globe.

On Saturday 1 September, hundreds of people gathered at the port of Yokohama to say goodbye to the Peace Boat’s 99th Global Voyage, the first to sail in collaboration with the UN SDG Action Campaign. Departing from Yokohama, Japan, on September 1 and returning on December 17, 2018, Peace Boat will visit to 24 ports in 23 countries in 4 months, to mobilize people to take action for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In collaboration with the UN SDG Action Campaign, Peace Boat’s Global Voyages will conduct education, advocacy, capacity building and awareness raising for the SDGs.

“Inspiring and engaging everyone to take action is the only way the SDGs will be achieved. Combining the expertise, tools, and creativity of the UN SDG Action Campaign with the reach and the innovative approach of the Peace Boat, will allow us to mobilize more individuals to step forward and join the global movement taking action for the SDGs.” said the Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign, Mitchell Toomey. Peace Boat Director and Founder, Yoshioka Tatsuya said “Peace Boat and the UN SDG Action Campaign share common goals. Working together, we will be able to engage more people to achieve the 2030 Agenda“.

Various related events will be held during the voyage, including an event together with the UNDP in Male, the capital of the Maldives, on September 17 and actions as part of the mass mobilization day on the SDGs anniversary o 25 September, the Global Day to #Act4SDGs.

Hundreds of people gathered to say goodbye to the Peace Boat in Yokohama, Japan, sailing to take the SDGs around the globe.

Both entities will join forces in the development of Peace Boat’s educational programming, including Global University and SDG Youth Programmes, through guest educators from the Campaign and partner networks, the global citizen platform MY World and the MY World photo and video stories.

Furthermore, the UN SDG Action Campaign and Peace Boat will collaborate to develop SDG educational and visual content, events and exhibitions to make the SDGs part of the Peace Boat’s Ecoship which will sail as the Flagship for the SDGs and be the platform for Peace Boat’s future voyages.
In an effort to strengthen the inclusivity and reach of their respective activities, Peace Boat and the UN SDG Action Campaign will continue to work together around the UN SDG Action Campaign flagship initiatives such as the Global day to Act for SDGs on September 25th, the SDG Action Awards, and the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development, and onboard Peace Boat’s ship and in ports visited on the voyages.
The United Nations SDG Action Campaign and Peace Boat announced their collaboration through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA, in July.
Full itinerary and to follow the 99th Voyage
or learn more about the Peace Boat