South Sudan: Literacy for Shilluks


This literacy project aims to bring growth and reconciliation to people in South Sudan – one of the world’s most troubled nations. By providing Bibles to Shilluk Christians in their native language and offering literacy classes to help people learn to read and write, this project will give Christians the ability to read and put into practice the word of God.

Since they received their independence in mid-2011, social unrest, armed conflicts, tribal disputes and other challenges continue to impact the daily lives of the South Sudanese. Only 34.5% of South Sudanese are literate (according to a 2018 Global Report on Literacy). With 70 major ethnic groups — each with its own language — only 1 out of 10 women and 3 out of 10 men are able to read in any language. The Shilluk people in particular (of whom about 45% are Christian) were badly affected by the conflict of the civil war. Illiteracy concerns mostly women above the age of 15.

It is in this context that the Bible Society considers this literacy project a priority. A focus on adult literacy is crucial for many areas of life: reading the Bible, learning basic rules of sanitation for their homes, selling or buying in a marketplace, and helping children with schooling at home.


  • 65.5% of South Sudanese people are non-literate
  • 1 in 10 women are able to read
  • 3 in 10 men are able to read
  • 45% of Shilluk people are Christian
  • 574,000 Collo speakers in South Sudan

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