South Sudan remained engulfed in conflict throughout 2017. Actions on the part of government and opposition actors continue to create an insecure environment, leading to significant protection concerns for the civilian population. The conflict also interfered with planting activities creating a food security crisis which led to a declaration of famine in early 2017. The deepening economic crisis compounded this situation and eroded the coping capacity of the people. Cumulatively, these factors drove internal displacement and large scale population movement to surrounding countries.
In 2017, Uganda received the largest number of arrivals (354,556) and Sudan received triple the expected number of arrivals (195,599) . Arrivals to Sudan spiked between January and May, likely linked with the food security shortages which led to a famine being declared in the northern Leer and Mayendit counties in February 2017. Ethiopia also received an increased number of arrivals compared with the previous year due to renewed fighting in the states of Upper Nile, Jonglei and Unity states in 2017. Kenya received similar figures to those of 2016 (23,288), while the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR) received reduced, but not insignificant, numbers of new arrivals, with 22,017 and 414 arriving respectively.
Across the region, what can be observed is that this emergency is disproportionately affecting children. 65% of the refugee population in Sudan are children, 61% in Uganda and 65% in the DRC. This highlights the need for a strong child protection and education response. Child protection response has been strengthened in the region with a focus on identifying risks, providing family tracing services, specialized psychological support and facilitating access to birth registration. However, countries which received large numbers of new arrivals have struggled to cope with the scale of response required. Gaps include lack of deployment of protection staff to the border for on-the-spot assessment of protection risks facing new children arriving, limited follow up on cases due to increasing caseloads, lack of trained staff, lack of capacity to identify protection risks in children beyond the unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) category and the existence of community based protection structures whose effectiveness is sometimes undermined due to lack of resource input. Overall, this is an area requiring continued and strengthened support in order to fully protect vulnerable refugee children.
Robust efforts on behalf of both governments in the region and humanitarian responders are being undertaken to respond to the educational needs of refugee children. Yet the scale of the crisis, the overstretched capacity of existing systems and inadequate funding have led to the reality that less than half of all refugee children from the South Sudan crisis are not enrolled in primary school.
Enrollment in Uganda stands at 57%, in White Nile, Sudan at 47%2, in the DRC at 58% and in Ethiopia at 54%. Secondary level education is even more problematic with just 12% of young refugees enrolled in Uganda and only 2.68% in Sudan. Kenya has made significant strides this year reducing the number of out of school children to around 35% and witnessing a 3-fold increase in the number of students enrolled in higher education programs. However the gender equality gap persists, particularly in secondary level education, with both Kenya and Uganda reporting lower access to education for girls
Other countriesCentral African RepublicDemocratic Republic of the CongoEthiopiaKenyaSudanUganda
Content Format:OtherLanguage:EnglishTheme:EducationFood and NutritionHealthProtection and Human RightsRecovery and ReconstructionShelter and Non-Food ItemsWater Sanitation HygieneVulnerable Groups:Refugees