17 Feb 2022
By: Jale Richard

Bor— For six months, Aluel Nyuon Kuol sat in class and followed along with her colleagues as teachers read aloud writings on the blackboard—like in a preparatory school.

Twenty-six-year-old Aluel is one of many South Sudanese, who grew up without formal education, partly because of long wars that have characterized the history of the country.

The world’s youngest country has one of the lowest literacy rates worldwide with only 34.5% of the adult population able to read and write, according to World Bank data.

Living without formal education has made her life difficult.  She depended entirely on family members to help her with simple tasks such as recording sales at her small-scale retail shop.

But the situation is now changing for Aluel. She has recently completed the first phase of a Functional Adult Literacy education in Bor, Jonglei State where she learned how to read and write.

“Since joining Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) classes, I am able to write my name, record my sales and I am able to speak simple English to welcome customers who cannot speak the local language,” the 26-year-old says with a smile.

“I am now able to know whether I have made profits or losses in my business because I learnt how to do simple arithmetic during the learning.”

Aluel is among the 575 Functional Adult Learning (FAL) participants who recently completed the first phase of their learning. At least 252 of these participants were from the eight FAL classes of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area and 323 from the nine FAL classes of Bor South, Jonglei State.

At Chyei-Atem Beny FAL center in Bor, the FAL classes have helped another participant—Adhieu Alier Garang improve her tailoring business.

“Previously, I was not able to record the measurements of my clients and I would ask my friends to help me in doing this. Sometimes the measurements were not recorded correctly, and I would end up with wrong fitting clothes and this made my clients unhappy,” the 25-year-old recalls.


Adhieu Alier Garang in her shop. IOM/Ali Saava Bunyenyezi

“But since I started learning how to write numbers, reading, and writing simple names, my skills started to improve. Now I am able to record the measurements of my customers as well as make good designs,” she says.

“Now my customers are happy, and the numbers have increased,” Adhieu she adds.

As part of the project, Enhanced Community Resilience Through Functional Adult Literacy and Livelihoods Support in the Greater Jonglei and Pibor Administrative Area, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is helping to pull people out of poverty, prevent conflict and maintain peace through adult literacy education.

In Jonglei State and Greater Pibor Administrative Area, IOM developed the 2021-2025 FAL curriculum to guide all adult literacy activities.

The curriculum is based on learning basic literacy, numeracy, and life skills -specific training to improve their livelihood activities, communication skills, promoting social cohesion and building confidence.

Twenty-five facilitators, supervisors and the Ministry of Education technical team were also trained on FAL Methodology and Prevention of Sexual Exploitation Abuse (PSEA).

IOM’s FAL officer, Ali Saava Bunyenyezi says the programme offers a second chance of education to women and youth who missed out on formal education.

“The knowledge and information and knowledge provided to these FAL participants improve their resilience and stabilization especially the management of livelihoods activities, promotes harmonious living leading to peace and peaceful coexistence within their FAL classes, builds learners’ confidence in articulating community problems and actively participating in community decision-making processes,” adds Bunyenyezi.

This project was supported through United Nations Reconciliation, Stabilization, and Resilience Trust Fund (RSRTF).

This story was written by Jale Richard, IOM Media and Communications Assistant in South Sudan.