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South Sudan

Located in eastern Africa, South Sudan is the world’s newest country. Slightly smaller than Texas in land mass, it is situated south of Sudan, north of Uganda and Kenya, and west of Ethiopia. The White Nile, flowing north out of the uplands of Central Africa, is the major geographic feature of the country, supporting agriculture and extensive wild animal populations.

  • Population: 10,625,000
  • Life Expectancy: 49 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 27%
  • School Enrollment: 48%
  • Land Mass: 248,777 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 27%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 135/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 650

Facts about South Sudan

Child Protection

In the midst of conflict in South Sudan, displaced children are at risk of witnessing or falling victim to violence, including recruitment into armed forces.

Food & Agriculture

About 45 percent of children in South Sudan have been chronically malnourished so severely that they are now stunted; 48 percent of children are underweight. Conflict has made the hunger situation worse.


More than 150,000 people are living with HIV or AIDS.


Malaria, acute respiratory infections, and diarrheal diseases, combined with malnutrition, are the leading causes of death among children under 5 in South Sudan.

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World Vision in South Sudan Today

World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of South Sudan to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. Highlights of current programs include:

  • Providing reliable access to safe water sources to more than 40,000 people.
  • Protecting the vulnerable through support for long-term psychological and emotional recovery for 145,000 people.
  • Improving education by constructing and rehabilitating schools and providing learning materials for students and training for teachers.
  • With the World Food Program, providing food resources to support recovery and development activities across South Sudan.
  • Providing items like tents, blankets, and medical kits, to internally displaced persons and others affected by conflict across South Sudan.
  • Supporting immunization activities in 15 health facilities, resulting in 36,445 children under 12 months receiving vaccinations.

World Vision History in South Sudan

World Vision assistance to Sudan dates back to 1972. Since then, some major accomplishments include:

  • Distributing blankets, grain, cooking oil, medical kits, and shelter to more than 50,000 people affected by civil war and drought during the 1980s.
  • Helping communities through improved farming techniques and literacy education in the 1980s.
  • Improving access to healthcare, clean water, and small business training, as well as continuing relief efforts, in southern Sudan during the 1990s and into the beginning of the 21st century.
  • Responding to the urgent humanitarian needs of displaced children and families amid armed conflict that began in South Sudan in December 2013.

Geography & People

Geography and people

Located in eastern Africa, South Sudan is slightly smaller than Texas; the country is situated south of Sudan, north of Uganda and Kenya, and west of Ethiopia. The White Nile, flowing north out of the uplands of Central Africa, is the major geographic feature of the country, supporting agriculture and extensive wild animal populations.

Natural resources include hydropower, fertile agricultural land, gold, diamonds, petroleum, hardwoods, limestone, iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, and silver.

Ethnic groups in South Sudan include Dinka, Kakwa, Bari, Azande, Shilluk, Kuku, Murle, Mandari, Didinga, Ndogo, Bviri, Lndi, Anuak, Bongo, Lango, Dungotona, and Acholi.

English and Arabic are the official languages, although people also speak a variety of African languages. The country is inhabited by mostly Christians of African descent.

Industry and infrastructure in landlocked South Sudan are severely underdeveloped, and poverty is widespread following several decades of civil war with the north. Subsistence agriculture provides a living for the vast majority of the population.

Despite these disadvantages, South Sudan does have abundant natural resources. South Sudan produces nearly three-fourths of the former Sudan’s total oil output of nearly a half million barrels per day. The government of South Sudan derives nearly 98 percent of its budget revenues from oil.


Sudan gained independence from Britain in 1953 and established a democratic government in 1956. The military seized control of the government in 1958.

Two civil wars lasted through most of the 20th century. The conflict was partially driven by religious and ethnic disputes between Arabs in the north and Africans in the south.

The first war lasted until 1972, with the second one starting in 1983. The second war displaced about 4 million Sudanese and killed at least 2 million over 20 years. After two years of peace talks starting in 2002, the north and south signed a peace agreement.

In January 2011, South Sudan voted to secede from north Sudan. South Sudan became an independent state on July 9, 2011. Despite some reports of violence, the international community declared the vote to have been fair and mostly peaceful.

However, in December 2013, armed conflict broke out in South Sudan, driving more than 1.4 million people from their homes and creating a dire humanitarian situation. Hunger, malnutrition, and disease are serious concerns for the displaced. Thousands of children are at risk of witnessing or falling victim to violence; many more face armed recruitment into government or militia forces.

Prayer Requests for South Sudan

  • Please pray for peaceful resolution of ongoing conflict in South Sudan.
  • Pray for the safety and security of children and communities displaced by conflict.
  • Pray also for World Vision’s staff members working under difficult circumstances to bring aid to the conflict-afflicted population.