Acuil warns against misuse of GESS funds for schoolgirls

Acuil warns against misuse of GESS funds for schoolgirls
Awut Deng Achuil, the South Sudan Minister for Foreign and the first female to hold the position, speaks to press in Juba, South Sudan, Thursday, Sept.12, 2019. Sudan’s newly appointed government and rebel leaders agreed Wednesday on a roadmap aimed at ending war in the country by year end, following the military’s ouster of autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April. The two sides signed an initial deal after three days of negotiations in Juba, capital of neighboring South Sudan. (AP Photo/Charles Atiki Lomodong)

The Minister of General Education and Instructions, Awut Deng Acuil, has warned teachers against the mismanagement of cash transfers meant for school girls.

She said any official, police and individuals who withhold funds intended for the girls shall be dealt with.

The minister said Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS) 2023 cash transfers to school girls across South Sudan will commence on Monday and warned anyone against tampering with the process.

“It is important to note that girls who have been approved for payment should receive the full amount of their cash transfers without any deductions,” she said.

“We strongly condemn any attempts by teachers, officials, police, or any other individuals to withhold or misuse funds intended for the girls. We will respond appropriately to address any instances of misappropriation or misuse of these funds,” Awut stated.

She warned that the ministry has a zero–tolerance policy on the misappropriation of programme funds.

The cash transfers are direct funds given to schoolgirls, and the 2023 cash transfers target girls who are currently enrolled in, and regularly attending, classes from primary 5 to senior 4.

“In an unprecedented move, girls enrolled in the GESS Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) in levels 3 and 4, will also be eligible to receive cash transfers this year,” Awut explained.

According to her, the primary objective of the cash transfers is to support and empower girls across South Sudan to access and complete their education by lifting the financial burden off parents and learners.

The programme is being funded by UK aid from the UK government, the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and Norwegian government

An estimated 425,000 schoolgirls are expected to benefit from the cash transfers across South Sudan.

The girls in the candidate classes – primary 8 (P8) and Senior 4 (S4)— will receive SSP 32, 000 first.

Meanwhile, girls in Primary 5, 6 7, and seniors 1, 2 and 3 will receive SSP 25,600.

Awut said the process of payment will be closely monitored by the state anchor staff, her office and the GESS monitoring and evaluation team.

“Real-time reporting will be conducted to the central team, enabling independent monitoring of all payment locations,” she said.

In 2022, Yirol East County officials were accused of allegedly misappropriating the Girls Education South Sudan (GESS) funds.