Africa Education & Leadership Initiative

Africa ELI supports girls’ education in South Sudan through academic scholarships, leadership development, and social support.


People like you are helping girls in South Sudan break through barriers. Your donations make their education possible through sponsorship, tuition funding, provision of medical care, and purchase of necessary supplies. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Barnes & Noble Booksellers is hosting a bookfair on
Sept. 23rd to benefit Africa ELI students. Shop at a Barnes & Noble store or online at, and Africa ELI will receive up to 10% of your total sale.
Use the code 121 84 164 at checkout.


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Meet Maila Nicola

Maila was a member of our first class of students in 2008. She graduated secondary school in 2012, and went on to attend university. In 2016, she graduated from Catholic University in Wau, South Sudan, with a degree in Agriculture & Environmental Sciences. From nursery school through Primary 8, Maila attended schools under Arab influence, which necessitated that she become fluent in Arabic. She later learned English as well.

When asked about how she can address the challenges in South Sudan, Maila replies, “My voice is strong, and I can raise awareness and mobilize young girls in the region to join school. I want church leaders to preach about the importance of girls’ education and how some of our cultural beliefs prevent girls from attending school. I can call upon parents to avoid discrimination among their children and to end customary laws that do not allow girls to attend school.”

girls’ educacation in south sudan faces serious challenges

  • Only 35% of girls in South Sudan attend school, and throughout the country they are more likely to be missing an education than boys.
  • The adult literacy rate in South Sudan is 27%, and 70% of children aged 6–17 years have never been in a classroom.
  • Overall rates for primary school completion across the country remain low at around 10%, with girls constituting the majority of dropouts.
  • Barriers to girls’ education include safety-related issues, financial constraints, institutional and cultural barriers, pressure for early marriage, sexual harassment, and violence in and out of educational settings.

involvement and support make a real and measurable difference

An extra year of secondary school for girls can increase their future earnings by 10-20%. Girls with secondary schooling are up to 6 times less likely to marry as children than those with little or no education. And countries that invest in girls’ education have lower maternal and infant deaths, lower rates of HIV and AIDS, and better child nutrition (USAID – Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment – July, 2017).

When girls are able to stay in school and be supported to avoid early and forced marriage they build a foundation for a better life for themselves and their families, and make an invaluable contribute to society (UNICEF – Promoting Girl’s Education in South Sudan – August 2015).

How We Make an Impact

  • Provide academic scholarships
  • Directly support schools
  • Provide a safe learning environment
  • Meet students’ academic and daily needs
  • Give individual focus to each student
  • Employ staff in the region to monitor student progress

What We’ve Achieved With Your Help

  • Distributed 2,727 academic scholarships which pay for tuition and necessary supplies
  • Provided life-skills training programs to over over 5,000 young people
  • Established official partnerships with dozens of schools schools
  • Provided training to 188 teachers and student leaders
  • Provided over $50,000 in special assistance directly to schools

“My father refused me to go to school. He said it is a waste of money to educate a girl. He said marriage will bring me respect in the community. Now I have grown up and I know that this is not true. I cannot get work to support my children and I see girls who have some education can get jobs.”

— A young woman in South Sudan, as reported by Human Rights Watch

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