[:en]Written by: Taban Robert Aggrey

This December, South Sudan marks the anniversary of a tremendous step forward in empowering adolescents and young women: the Girl Child Education Law in Central Equatoria. It enacts the prohibition of early and forced marriage and promotes girls’ education in the state.

The Governor of the state, Clement Wani Konga before a crowd who gathered to witness, signed the bill in December 2014.

Konga assured that, the state leadership is committed in implementing and achieving all the necessities which improve the girl education in these counties.

“Wrongdoers who will either marry or impregnate school girls shall be disciplined according to this law,” he warned.

In rural counties of the state, girl enrolment in schools is as low as 1000 to 1100. Many young girls are kept in their families’ houses or married off very young, dedicating their lives to domestic chores instead of a school education. The fragile security situation and frequent sexual assaults remain further major barriers for young girls to access adequate education.

“Early forced marriage is one of the most rampant forms of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in South Sudan, seriously affecting the development and stability of the young nation. From now on, forcibly marrying a girl is against the law of Central Equatoria,” explains Apai Mary Ayiga, the State Minister of Gender and Social Development.

“We in Central Equatoria have attained our long awaited dream of improving girl education across the counties,” said Konga.

“The law we have endorsed last December demonstrates our hard work towards getting equal participation of girls and boys in the education sector.”

Kong finishes by saying: “All girls must be allowed to acquire their basic right to go to school at all levels of education ranging from pre-primary to university level.”[:]

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