At the start of the 2015 school year, the Room to Learn South Sudan (RtL) project began community activities for the first time in three states and four counties to empower community members improve school conditions and identify gaps that the project can help address.
Using a participatory approach, RtL county teams work with community members to identify existing human and material resources, networks, and past experiences that can be put to use in support of education. The process engages teachers, parents, government officials, religious leaders, women’s groups, entrepreneurs, civil society organizations, and of course, the youth. This level of community involvement helps stakeholders recognize how safe and effective their school is, so they can plan and implement steps to improve school safety through the creation of, or revisions to, a School Development Plan.
The result of this approach is that community members are empowered to mobilize resources at their disposal to improve school conditions, as well as identify the gaps that Room to Learn can help to fill through its grant mechanism.
“This process can be applied not only to the school,” said one community member. “It can be applied in our houses so we appreciate the resources we have and use them properly.”
Over the life of the project, Room to Learn aims to reach more than 500 schools and 300,000 children through direct services intended to improve access, retention, quality, safety and relevance of educational instruction across South Sudan. The Room to Learn project is implemented by Winrock International and funded by USAID.