Aid cuts hit South Sudan schoolkids: World Vision

Posted on: October 13th, 2019 by
Comments Disabled

In South Sudan, an average of 129 primary schoolchildren cram into one class.


And they’re the lucky ones.

More than 400,000 children are missing out on primary school altogether, as an estimated 11,000 of them are recruited as child soldiers following another outbreak of fighting and famine.

Despite the worsening crisis, World Vision Australia has had to pull the plug on a five-year education program in Western Equatoria.

“It’s absolutely depressing,” chief executive Tim Costello told AAP on Thursday.

The $1.32 million program would have benefited 10,000 children.

Construction of classrooms and teacher training has stopped, as a result of the Abbott government’s decision to cut $1 billion from its aid budget next financial year.

It’s just one of a dozen programs World Vision has had to sacrifice because of a $5 million cut to its budget.

Mr Costello warns the government’s aid focus on the the Asia Pacific region is shortsighted and in danger of creating a national security blind spot.

Abandoning Africa’s poorest and illiterate could create breeding grounds for the spread of radicalism and terrorist groups, he said.

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram in Nigeria has ties to Islamic State in the Middle East, while al-Shabaab in Kenya and Somalia has links to al-Qaeda.

“This notion that somehow we can pull up the drawbridge from terrorism threats is just foolish,” Mr Costello said.

He warns investment opportunities for Australian mining companies might also be affected, especially as China pours aid dollars into Africa.

“If Chinese and Australian companies are bidding for a contract, and we’ve cut aid, who’s going to get the contract?” he said.

In 2013-14, the government cut the aid program to sub-Saharan Africa by about $90 million to $133 million.

Comments are closed.