This gender analysis was conducted with funding from the Danish International Development Agency (Danida) provided specifically to prepare for the launch of Oxfam education projects in Pibor and Juba in South Sudan. However, its findings will also be useful to the wider NGO community working in the country, with recommendations provided for the Government of South Sudan and for future programming by donors. The analysis focuses specifically on gender issues as they relate to education, but it also aims to analyse gendered power relations between men and women and boys and girls and the differences in their roles and responsibilities, decision-making power, the barriers and constraints they face and their coping mechanisms, along with the specific needs and concerns of girls and boys both in and out of school and gendered vulnerabilities and differential access to education in the locations selected. The analysis concludes with a set of recommendations to ensure that agencies can move forward in a way that meaningfully addresses the gender inequalities that prevent access to their programmes for women, men, boys and girls, change negative gender norms and contribute to the empowerment of women and girls.
The research was carried out in November 2018 in Pibor town and in December 2018 in the capital city, Juba. In total, 10 key informant interviews (KIIs) were conducted with staff members from development or humanitarian agencies and government representatives and 35 (12 female, 23 male) with community leaders (formal and informal), religious leaders and teachers. In addition, 76 focus group discussions (FGDs) were held with adult males and adult females and with groups of boys and girls aged 10–14 and 15–19, both in and out of school, on average 10-12 participants per group. The key findings and recommendations are presented below, with the general recommendations only in the summary. For specific recommendations to the two locations, please refer to the recommendations at the end of the document.
The two areas selected for this study are very different in terms of humanitarian needs and access to education. There are nonetheless some similarities, such as gendered household roles and a strong patriarchal dominance by men in both household and community decision making (though much more so in Pibor than in Juba). There have been many changes since the onset of the conflict in December 2013 and during the resulting protracted crisis in South Sudan, including in gender norms; there have been some improvements in Juba, but in Pibor county people remain particularly resistant to change. In both locations, access to education is limited for girls and women, but negative gendered social norms in Pibor make it one of the worst places in the country for Child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) and the barriers that this creates to girls accessing education. Boys are also affected by customary practices, and both boys and girls suffer due to inadequate infrastructure and the absence of a conducive environment in which to learn. Juba has the best conditions in the country, but in the areas targeted for this study, there are still barriers to accessing education, particularly for girls and women. In Pibor there is limited support for encouraging access to education for girls, empowerment programmes for women or adult literacy programmes (ALPs) for either women or men. In Juba, such programmes lack the support needed to ensure buy-in from men and boys in the community. Below are the general summarized recommendations as they emerged from the findings. For further detail and explanations, please read the recommendations in the document.