IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE student nominated for international education award

18 December 2019

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) student Akuja Mading de Garang MBE, has been nominated for the international 2019 WISE Prize for Education.

Children in outdoor class in South Sudan. Image credit: United Nations Mission in South Sudan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The award is given to an individual or a team for an outstanding, world-class contribution to education.

Akuja, who is studying the IOE’s Education and International Development MA, is researching the political economy of education in South Sudan and how particular historical policies and practices have contributed to disparities in access to education.

Having been forced to flee South Sudan as a child, Akuja returned to the country in 2004, with a desire to help support rebuilding her country of birth. She has worked for number organisations including UNICEF, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), EU Inter-Church Organisation for Development Cooperation–Netherlands (ICCO-NL) and currently Cambridge Education/Mott MacDonald on areas related to child protection, human rights, youth participation, governance, gender, health, HIV/AIDS, peace bundling and conflict management, livelihoods, public sector reform and education.

Akuja is currently leading the second phase of a 5-year, £70 million programme called Girls’ Education South Sudan Phase 2 (GESS 2). GESS 2 is a programme that is aimed at breaking down barriers to education particularly for, but not exclusively, girls.

The objective of GESS 2 is to contribute to improving the lives of a generation of South Sudanese children by ensuring the provision of equitable, accessible and essential support to the Education Sector in South Sudan, with particular emphasis on girls. The programme began in May 2019 and will run until March 2024.

Akuja’s work led to her nomination of the WISE Prize for Education which was won by Larry Rosenstock, Founder of High Tech High, United States of America.