- Our School is a series of 15-minute factual radio programmes that include real-life stories of girls, families and schools to highlight the benefits of girls staying in school.
- Our School producers are based in seven out of South Sudan’s ten states, and they each produce locally-tailored episodes in the appropriate local language which include local voices.
- BBC Media Action also works with local broadcast partners to produce discussion programmes that provide audiences with an opportunity to ask questions.
BBC Media Action’s radio programmes are part of Girls Education South Sudan (GESS), a major initiative designed to increase the number of girls enrolling in school and completing their education, as well as improving learning outcomes at both primary and secondary levels of education.
Tackling barriers to education
Few girls in South Sudan finish their full eight years of school. Poverty, insecurity, poor quality education and cultural traditions that discriminate against girls conspire to keep them from completing their schooling. Whilst financial support for girls and professional support for teachers is provided elsewhere in the GESS programme, Our School addresses the negative cultural attitudes towards girls’ education.
Each Our School programme highlights a practice or attitude that hinders girls’ education. This includes, for example, leaving girls to walk to school on their own – and face harassment - or loading them up with too much housework when they come home. Through interviews with girls, their families and teachers, Our School showed how these factors can affect a girl’s education. At the same time, through positive role models, the programme showed girls how they can succeed.
As part of the project, we also take Our School into “media-dark” areas – where there is no radio network – for people to listen to the show on wind up, solar-powered media players.
175 listening groups have been set up across the country since March 2014, many listening to the programme on a weekly basis. In one group in Eastern Equatoria, parents listened to the “journey to school” episode, and decided their children would walk to school together in a group – an idea sparked by the radio programme.
Making it relevant
Since the conflict in December 2013, which has left 1.3 million people displaced, Our School adapted its programmes to meet the demands of those forced out of school in their home states.
Episodes featured stories of children who fled conflict and were now being welcomed at schools in other states, despite being without report cards or certificates. The programmes also showed how children from different states were learning from each other.
Our School also produced an episode from one of the IDP (Internally Displaced People) camps in Juba, the country’s capital, which encouraged children to remain interested in education and also encouraged parents to remember the value of education.
Making an impact
Endline research conducted for the first phase of the project in 2018 showed that Our School reached nearly a third (31%) of the adult population - an estimated 1.8 million people - prompting discussion about education. Regular listeners who had children were significantly more likely to talk with their daughters about their education, and understanding of the benefits of girls' education increased over the project period. Fore more insights, read the research summary here.
Building on success
In 2019, the project entered its second phase, building on the knowledge, evidence and successes from the last seven years to continue supporting girls' education. A brand new series of Our School will begin production in summer 2020, with repeats of previous episodes currently airing across the country - much to the delight of radio partners and audiences who had been asking when the show would return.
|Project name||Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS)|
|Funder||UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (previously Department for International Development) and Global Affairs Canada|
Phase 1: 2012-2018
Phase 2: 2019-ongoing
Our School weekly radio show, listener groups
Jonglei FM, Radio Good News, Radio Emmanuel, Radio Nehemia, Radio Bakhita (CRN) Radio Eastern (CRN) Voice of Kajo Keji, Yambio FM, Radio Anisa, Voice of Hope, Weer Bei Radio, Kuajok FM and Don Bosco.
Consortium led by Mott McDonald and including Leonard Cheshire, Montrose and Windle Trust International.
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