Lifesaving child protection and education to South Sudanese refugee children


We work together to support refugee children.

Plan International USA has been a lead implementing partner providing relief assistance for South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia’s Gambella region since 2014. We are working with refugee children (particularly girls and other young people) to help them access protection, education and empowerment services.

Ethiopia is home to more than 360,000 people who fled South Sudan as refugees due to widespread poverty and violence. Most South Sudanese refugees live in camps in Gambella, Ethiopia’s westernmost region. Across the Kule, Pinyudo-II and Nguenyyiel camps where Plan works, approximately 67% of people are under the age of 18. Many refugee families lack shelter and access to critical items like food, clean water and medicine, especially in the wake of COVID-19.

What are we doing?

Plan operates 12 child-and youth-friendly spaces in the Kule, Pinyudo-II and Nguenyyiel refugee camps, where children are engaged in gender-appropriate and culturally relevant community-based activities. These take the form of both educational services, at the early childhood and primary levels, as well as more informal activities for youth. Additionally, Plan provides child protection services across all three camps.

Plan also offers protection and case management services, depending on the child’s needs. When children are separated from their families, Plan strives to unite them with their caregivers or place them in appropriate protective care arrangements. Continuous follow up is conducted for children who are united with their caregivers. Unaccompanied minors are placed in long-term alternative care and receive individual case management support, including referrals for child protection and other services. In addition, child-friendly spaces are used for community engagement and mobilization in order to create a protective environment for children and their caregivers. Plan provides daily mentoring, coaching and on-the-job training to caseworkers, facilitators of child-friendly spaces and other community members. Training topics include facilitation skills, communication with children and psychological first aid.

Plan also trains teachers and runs back-to-school registration campaigns through the project. Through a cooperative partnership with Gambella Health Science College, instructors lead trainings on school safety, gender-sensitive education, teaching diverse students, producing educational materials with the participation of children and improving study skills. Other training topics include classroom management and methodologies for early childhood education and development.

Finally, adolescent girls and boys can access community-based recreational activities in Plan’s youth-friendly spaces. Young people also benefit from psychosocial support services as well as peer education sessions on gender- and age-appropriate and culturally relevant life skills. Young leaders can learn facilitation skills to lead activities in these spaces, receiving trainings on sports coaching and mentoring.


stats and facts

children engaged in community-based activities through child-friendly spaces.
unaccompanied or separated children united with caregivers.
children registered to attend early childhood or primary education.
A community champion
A community champion

“The training enabled me to understand and identify the different forms of abuse,” Nyarach says. “Now I can provide basic psychosocial support in the refugee community. It is a blessing for me to assist our children.”

Child-friendly spaces
Child-friendly spaces

Plan operates 12 child-and youth-friendly spaces in the Kule, Pinyudo-II and Nguenyyiel refugee camps.

Rachel, the first female school director in her camp
Rachel, the first female school director in her camp

“It’s learning that has brought me this far,” Rachel says. “The situation here is far better than in South Sudan, so parents and children need to understand the value of education and that is why I am here, to advocate for a safe learning environment for the refugee community, particularly for girls.”

More about

the project

Rachel is the first female school director in a refugee camp

Meet the first female school director in an Ethiopian refugee camp

Read her story
Plan International works in South Sudan

Adolescent girls in crisis: Voices from South Sudan

Read the report
Akim and Lim live in a refugee camp in Ethiopia

Welcome to our child-friendly space

See the video

Plan International USA

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Your gift to Plan International USA will be used where needed most, to help create sustainable change and address the root causes of poverty and inequality. Donations can support programs, innovation, and infrastructure required to deliver our programs to girls and children worldwide, in areas such as protection, education, health, sanitation, disaster relief and economic empowerment.