Message from Ms. Rita M. Lopidia; the Executive Director and Co-founder of EVE Organization to Young Women Leaders Program – The Incubator
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of EVE Organization, I would like to welcome you to this special training, the launch of the first young women leadership incubator in South Sudan. I would like to recognize the presence of Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba, the Secretary General of SPLM, Our partner the Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Sudan, Bishop Isaiah Dau, our partners Isis Wicce and the National Transformational Leadership Institute at the University of Juba for making this event a reality today.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This Incubator – the Young Women Leadership Program is a dream project of EVE Organization and it is very close to my heart because I believe very much in young women. We have worked very hard to make this program a reality and we are super happy that finally today; our dream is unfolding.
EVE Organization was founded by young South Sudanese Women. I was 22 years old when we founded EVE Organization and more than 10 years down the road, we are growing stronger and we are a leading women’s organization in South Sudan. We believe that when young women are empowered, they can bring change at home, in their communities and the country. We hope this training will produce more young women leaders that can inspire and mentor others and bring the much-needed change in South Sudan.
Today, while South Sudan is going through conflict and things don't look promising, I would like to remind you that the leaders of today were groomed during conflict. As young women present here today, I would like to encourage you to grab every opportunity to learn and make yourselves better. Conflict time is also a time to prepare; powerful leaders can also emerge during conflict. Eventually peace will come to our country and you should be prepared to sustain the peace through leadership and nation building.
In a country that is deeply patriarchal, women and especially young women need to work twice as hard to be recognized. While we have policies and frameworks that support women leadership, implementation of these policies is almost non-existent. Women have suffered due to many conflicts as well as due to structural and cultural discrimination, such as illiteracy, preference of the boy child over the girl child and the early marriages among others. We can however change our narrative not only through education but also through putting more efforts into taking national responsibilities and becoming national leaders.
We need to build a new generation of leadership; we would like to see young women taking up leadership in both public and private sectors. We would like to see more young women entrepreneurs, young leaders in the parliament and at ministerial levels etc. However this can only happen if we are serious and dedicate our lives to learn and be innovative.
Today, we see many young women wasting their lives and not realizing their full potentials. Here in Juba, some have become gangs, moving from one club to another, others go out with different men to get some money, but all these just destroy you. If you work hard and build yourself, you can get a good job, earn decent money, serve your community, and still get Mr. Right, if you want and live a happy life. I want to encourage you to commit yourselves to be different and bring change in this country- just as our theme for this training “Learn, Lead and Change”(LLC).
You who are here today are very lucky, out of 345 applications; you were able to make it through. It is not because you are better than the others. Do not take this opportunity for granted. I would therefore urge you to take this opportunity very serious, take notes as much as you can, learn as much as you can, read as much as you can and network among yourselves. You might never get this opportunity again, therefore maximize on it. Do not hesitate to ask the facilitators questions, they are here for you and make use of them.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff of EVE Organization for working very hard to ensure we have everything in place for you. I wish you all a happy incubating period and I am looking forward to seeing the “reformed you” by the end of the 12 days here. Good luck and I thank you all.