Explore South Sudan
Sudan at a Glance
The largest country in Africa and tenth largest in the world, stretching from Egypt in the north to Uganda in the south, with 800 km of the River Nile offering largely untapped potential for irrigation, power generation and transport. Southern Sudan has fertile land, wildlife, forests and minerals of all kinds, including oil.
Has its origins in an empire named Kush that included Egypt and was ruled by a dynasty of black kings. Colonized by the British, gaining independence in 1956. Shortly after, civil war broke out between the Arab/Islamic north and the black African Christian and animist south. A peace deal was brokered in 1972, but conflict flared again in 1983 and lasted 21 years. A new peace agreement signed in 2005 gave increased autonomy to Southern Sudan and included a provision for a referendum on Southern Sudanese independence in 2011.
This referendum was held on February 20, 2011. 99% voted in favour of creating a new Republic of Southern Sudan. Learn more
Quality of life
According to the Human Development Index (which measures many aspects of quality of life), Sudan ranks 147 of 177 countries.
Current challenges Armed
The success of ongoing negotiations with Northern Sudan on how oil exports and revenues will flow will be critical to the economic future of both countries. Rebuilding medical and education infrastructure is an urgent need. Southern Sudan's health indicators are among the worst in the world. Only 37% of males can read and write; all but 12% of females are illiterate. UNICEF reports that only 16% of the schools in the region have permanent buildings, and most classrooms are equipped only with blackboard and chalk. All but the youngest children have grown up with war, and are more familiar with guns than with books or toys.
Situation for girls
A teenage girl in Southern Sudan is far more likely to be a wife than a student, with one in five adolescent girls already a mother. Whole generation of girls missed out on the chance of a normal childhood and education because their families were displaced by the civil war. Sexual violence against women and girls has been used as a weapon of intimidation by all combatants during the civil war.
In Darfur, Plan is providing educational materials, water and sanitation, and basic health services for children displaced by the conflict. In the South, we work with local partners to train young people in the vocational skills they need to earn a decent living. In the North and the East we are helping displaced people return to their communities, and helping communities deal with the challenges of violence and discrimination.
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