Peace through education in Southern Sudan

After a generation of civil war, the signing of a peace agreement in 2005 ended armed hostilities between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan. The agreement created the semi-autonomous Government of South Sudan (GoSS) controlled by the SPLM, and provided for a six-year interim period leading up to a referendum on independence that is due to take place on January 9, 2011. About 320,000 refugees and 50,000 internally displaced persons have since returned home to Southern Sudan. Re-establishing their communities has been no easy task. There is little modern infrastructure in the country, as development was stalled by more than twenty years of war. Jesuit Refugee Service has assisted returnees by building schools, supporting teacher training, providing school supplies, encouraging the education of girls, and building the capacity of local communities to take charge of their own educational needs.