The Norwegian government announced late Tuesday that it has donated $5.8 million to support a UNICEF education project in war-torn South Sudan.
The African country has seen nearly one million children have their education interrupted due to extreme violence, closed schools and displacement in years of bloody civil war, the UN agency said.
A two-year "Community-based Back-to-Learning Initiative" is to be implemented using the fund offered by the Norwegian government. This will benefit 40,000 in and out-of-school children and adolescents aged from three to 18, UNICEF Deputy Country representative Ettie Higgins said.
South Sudan was founded in 2011 out of a 2005 peace deal that ended Sudan's long-running civil war. However, fresh violence erupted in South Sudan in December 2013.
Before then, only 10% of children completed primary education and 59% of primary teachers were untrained. Since the fighting began, children have been the target for conscription by armed groups and have suffered physical and sexual violence.
Higgins said the ongoing crisis has aggravated an already difficult education situation in the oil-rich country characterised by low enrolment rates, limited girls’ participation in schooling, untrained teachers and poor school infrastructure.
Some 89 schools are occupied, 30 of them reportedly used for military purposes, and 45 percent of schools in key conflict-affected states remain closed, UNICEF said.