School Mothers: South Sudan’s real stars
Africa Educational Trust (AET) is a UK based NGO established in 1958 and working in South Sudan since 1998 providing education throughout years of war.
AET initiated the School Mothers initiative in 2008 across 100 South Sudanese communities. School Mothers are locally nominated women who volunteer to act as community advocates for girls’ education. They dare to challenge harmful social practices such as early marriage and corporal punishment in schools and represent girls’ views to parents and teachers. Girls face male-dominated schools (less than 12% of teachers are female) with poor sanitation facilities and the risk of abuse. In these communities School Mothers provide an efficient and equitable, and in most cases the only voice for girls and are a role model for female leadership. Or as a state level Director of Education said:
‘It is because of School Mothers that more girls are now coming to school,
they are a catalyst for real change’
Sanitary towels that make a difference!
School girls told AET that they often miss school during menstruation, because they have no access to sanitary towels and have limited access to clean water and soap. Girls report they feel ashamed to come to school looking and feeling dirty, especially during menstruation. As a result, girls miss many more school days than boys.
With support from Kavli Trust these School Mothers will receive training and local materials on sanitation and hygiene issues. School Mothers will then train groups of girls during regular workshops in schools on how to make reusable sanitary towels, with the girls being encouraged to bring their mothers/carers along to the workshops to promote the importance of parental involvement. School Mothers will also run hygiene clubs, which will be supplied with soap, basins and jerry cans to enable girls to access washing facilities. The Kavli Trust is proud to support AET and their important work.