Increasing English language proficiency in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA)
The British Council started delivering direct teaching to the SPLA in Juba, South Sudan in 2008, funded by the Ministry of Defence (UK).
When it became apparent that, within our budget, we simply couldn’t meet the language needs and numbers of the SPLA, so low is overall proficiency and so vast are the numbers that require training, we decided to embark on a Train the Trainer programme for eleven SPLA staff. These eleven had been engaged in our English language courses since the onset.
One of the biggest challenges in South Sudan is the lack of infrastructure in which such training can be delivered, as well as space for trainers to begin teaching their programmes. The Defence Attaché to South Sudan at the time, Shaun Ryles, took this forward to the Africa Conflict Prevention Pool (ACPP) to secure funding for both a suitable facility and the Train the Trainer programme itself. Once secured, we embarked on erecting a 95 square-metred tent, fully equipped with a generator, air conditioners and lighting.
The impact for the SPLA was remarkable. The facility gave the British Council and the SPLA the capacity to increase the number of learners engaged in English courses from 80 to 200.