National News

S. Sudanese named Member of the British Empire

Akuja de Garang, GESS team leader

By Jale Richard

Girls Education South Sudan (GESS) team leader Akuja de Garang has been honored by Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom as Member of the order of British Empire (MBE).

Her Majesty the Queen has appointedAkuja de Garangas MBE, in the New Year Honours List published on December 31st 2016.

John Shotton, Director at BMB Mott MacDonald, which is responsible for managing GESS, said: “Akuja is an outstanding ambassador for our company, for Girls’ Education South Sudan, and for the United Kingdom and South Sudan.”

“In a world where many are busy putting up walls, Akuja is building bridges. We are delighted that her achievement has been recognised by this prestigious award, and look forward to achieving even more together inthe Academic Year 2017 and beyond,” he added.

GESS is a collaboration between the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, Government of the Republic of South Sudan, and UK Aid. It is implemented by a consortium led by BMB Mott MacDonald including BBC Media Action, Winrock International, Charlie Goldsmith Associates, and NGOs in each state integrated with country systems at all levels.


When contacted by Juba Monitor, Akuja said, “Education is a right for all, especially girls, not a privilege for a few.”

She added that when given equal chance, girls could succeed in their education just like the boys who are favoured by most cultures in South Sudan.

Akujasaid for the girls in South Sudan to succeed, there should be peace in the country. “Let every child sleep and wake to go to school with a peaceful mind.When there is no peace education becomes hard.”

Under her leadership, GESS has paid out more than 300,000 cash transfers to girls to keep them in school from Primary five to senior four; to over 184,000 girls, and paid more than 9,000 school capitation grants to the bank accounts of over 3,500 schools, data from GESS monitoring system shows.

She said GESS has reached 2 million people with behaviour change messages in support of girls’ education, and laid down a strong foundation for teacher professional development through a pilot imitative reaching over 200 schools.

GESS has been key in getting enrolment to its highest level ever, 1.318million pupils in 2016, 43% of them girls, and this was delivered despite three years of intense conflict, a report released in December said.

The International Development Committee of the House of Commons has praised GESS, and DFID which recently set out in evidence to that committee three ways to scale up the programme. “Girls’ Education South Sudan is exceeding the targets set for it before the conflict, and is a flagship example of good value for money achieved with UK Aid in the most demanding circumstances.”

The “Order of the British Empire” is almost a hundred years old: British citizens and others award it to recognise excellence in a wide range of civil fields.

The award of Member of Order of the British Empire is awarded for an outstanding achievement or service to the community that will have a long-term, significant impact and stand out as an example to others.






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