By Matata Safi
Juba — July 29, 2013 (SSN) … The Chief Executive Director of the global child charity organization Plan International Mr. Nigal Champman has urged authorities in South Sudan and its partners to focus more intensively on the young people which he said is “crucial in reducing poverty” in the country.
Champman said child- focused interventions are the cost effective ways of improving health, reducing poverty and benefitting society.
“Investing in children and the youth in South Sudan provides benefits to the next generation in terms of reducing child mortality rates, improved outcome at birth, reduced rates of low-birth-weight babies and reduced vertical transmission of diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS” he said.
While children and youth represent more than 50 percent of the population in developing countries, Champman said young people are nearly 60 percent of the poor. He said this is coupled with the growing number of orphans and extremely vulnerable children resulting from the AIDS pandemic, conflict, child labour and exclusion which he makes the situation more complex.
Unemployment, low levels of education, health, low levels of nutrition and infant mortality rates he said, are the intergenerational consequences that young people across Africa face as a result of these problem.
“We all know that young people can play an important role in national development if provided with the right tools, the learning and capacity to employ those tools, and a supportive environment in which to use them” Mr. Champman said.
He however said the same energy and vitality that can lead young people to play crucial role in development, if marginalized could have “dramatic negative effects on social and economic stability.
Having invested United States $30 million in South Sudan since opening shop in 2006, Mr. Champman said the child charity organization has earmarked another $30 million to deepen its impact in the world’s youngest nation over the next three years.
“We are going to work closely with the government and other players to reduce number of children who are out of schools especially girls, children and their rights is centre to our development efforts” he announced in a press briefing in Juba after visiting Juba, Lanya and Yei River counties in his four-day official visit to South Sudan. The Plan International CEO’s visit was to see first-hand some of the organization’s project in South Sudan.
Plan International’s country programs in South Sudan focuses on improving community health, giving children access to education, water and sanitation, strengthening children’s capacity to participate in issues that affect them, emergency response support and peace-building initiatives.
“In terms of our humanitarian support especially in Jonglei State, between February 2012 and April 2013, Plan’s in-field of food distribution, agricultural livelihoods assistance, child protection and education- in emergencies support and as well as our water and sanitation projects reached 204,000 children and their families.
“Of these 81,000 were children and youth, mainly drawn from the displaced population, returnees and vulnerable host communities. A further 62,000 men and 60,000 women also benefitted,” he said. He reiterated his organization’s commitmment to support in growth and development the Republic of South Sudan.