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Girl Ambassadors for Peace Program – South Sudan May 2015

 “I’ve never discerned that early and forced marriages was this serious in my country until I met these young girls from Eastern Equatoria, my own state and my heart sung”…. Rita M. Lopidia the Executive Director of EVE Organization.The Girl Ambassadors for peace program; an initiative of GNWP was launched in collaboration with EVE Organization and Generation in Action (GIA) in South Sudan’s Eastern  Equatoria state in May 2015. As part of EVE’s youth leadership program, the Girl Ambassadors for Peace program enhances the potential of young women and girls in conflict-affected countries and has a catalytic effect on local communities.

It aims to: develop leadership skills among young women and girls; raise awareness of young women and girls on their rights and enhance their abilities to assert such rights and contribute to peace building in local communities using UNSCR 1325, 1820 and the supporting Women and Peace and Security Resolutions as policy frameworks. The program entails a series of trainings for these young girls to become peace ambassadors. After the trainings, the girls then travel to villages to share with the young women and girls about the importance of women’s rights and participation in decision making at the communities level, peace building and dialogue.

In the context of South Sudan, Girls Education is hindered by a number of challenges including poverty, the long decades of war, cultural practices, family preference of boys to go to school and girls stay home to do house chores and babysit, early pregnancies, early and forced marriages, girl compensation among other factors. According to statistics only 16% of women over 15 years are literate.

During the launch in Torit – Eastern Equatoria, the girls shared their stories and the challenges they face daily. One participant shared her story and said, “I got pregnant when I was 15yrs old and by the time I turned 18yrs, I already had three kids. It is tough and I am struggling to bring them up; if only we had this kind of training earlier, I wouldn't have gotten into what I am in today; but now that I know, I will dedicate my time to speak to the younger girls not to follow my footsteps”.  Another 18yrs old participant who has completed high school and aspiring to join the University said, “when I go to my village; I am being mocked and ridiculed by my age mates, they call me barren because at my age I didn't have a baby while they do, there is a lot of peer pressure in the village. Now I avoid the village because of that”. Rita M. Lopidia; the Executive Director of EVE Organization also shared with the girls her struggle growing up in Khartoum during the civil war and how she persevered to hold on to school to succeed in life. She encouraged the girls to speak out and seek support to ensure they finish school.

For change to happen and to see more women in different levels of decision making in this country; a lot of efforts need to be exerted at different levels. Education coupled with awareness raising on the importance of the girl Education, improving livelihood and addressing cultural practices that discriminate against women by implementation of legislations is crucial. These issues need serious attention especially of the state authorities, community leaders, religious leaders, parents and CSOs.

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South Sudan Launches its first UNSCR 1325 National Action for Women, Peace and Security

South Sudan launches its first UNSCR 1325 National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security.“Right before the independence of South Sudan in 2011, we saw the need for UNSCR 1325 NAP for South Sudan” Rita M. Lopidia, the Executive Director of EVE Organization for Women Development – South Sudan.The long awaited South Sudan UNSCR 1325 National Action has finally been launched on the 10 May 2016 in Juba South Sudan. Today; South Sudan can be counted among the 60 plus member states that have developed UNSCR 1325 National Action Plans.The development of the South Sudan UNSCR 1325 started in early 2012; a process that was initiated by South Sudan’s Women Civil society Organizations together with the National Ministry of Gender, Child and Social welfare.

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Empowering women in Lirya

EVE Organization advances its support to women empowerment in Lirya County through integrating income-generating activities to its Sexual and Gender based Violence (SGBV) program in South Sudan.

About the project.

This much-needed initiative improved the socio-economic and psychological well being of the survivors of SGBV and the community in general. Launched in November 2015; the project aimed to stimulate change in socio-cultural norms and influence knowledge, attitudes, and behavior change in the community while creating safe space for women survivors of SGBV to interact and support each other through income generating activities. Components of the project included; training of women on SGBV and women leadership in the community based on UNSCR 1325, training of identified counselors to give psychosocial and peer support to survivors of SGBV, training of men on SGBV and their role is addressing SGBV in the community, construction of Lirya Women Resource Center and provision of startup capital to 40 women for small businesses based on activities identified by the women.

This project has strengthened the women association in Lirya and put women at the center of decision making at the local level. Women further formed saving groups with a monthly remittance to a bank account specifically opened for this purpose to help build sustainable livelihood. The small businesses include wholesale and retail grain selling, bread making, butchery, honey harvesting and goat raring.

Impact

This pilot project turned out to be an important and an excellent approach in addressing issues of SGBV and poverty in the community. The combination of awareness and practical measures in improving livelihood of the survivors has done remarkable changes in the lives of families in Lirya. Within a few months of the project, significant changes were seen in the lives of women in the communities. Women were able to remit monthly profits into the joint bank account from their businesses. One of the women has this to say;“I was sexually abused by my school head teacher when I was in primary seven and I dropped out.

When I told my family, it was too late as I was already pregnant. I was instead given to the man as a wife. I don’t want my daughter or any other girl I know to go through the same. After the training and the support I was given, I now see life differently. I hope to be a support to girls in my community”For these women in Lyria, this project is a live changing experience. They now have a space to call their own, able to save some money to sustain their businesses and improve their lives. While for EVE Organization; this is a success story that we hope to replicate in other states to change the lives of communities, addressing SGBV while providing alternatives of improving livelihoods. From our experience in Lirya; we figure that it is possible to reduce SGBV prevalence and move communities out of poverty through local initiatives.Support EVE Organization to continue monitoring the progress in Lyria to document lessons learnt.

We would also like to develop a sustainable green fence around the Women Resource Center and set some furniture such as tables, chairs and cabinets in Lirya.Help us raise $15,000 for the completion of the center. For more information on the project, please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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Contacts

  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  +211950888800
  +211910888800
  Sudan Catholic Bishops Conference (SCBC) Compound – PALICA,
Opposite Sacred Heart Sisters Kindergarten

Keep in Touch

 

Organization for Women Development

EVE Organization was founded with the aim of empowering women and addressing challenges that hinder women’s progress in South Sudan. Empowering women involves advocating for policy changes that will adequately address women’s concerns, ensure women’s peace and security and socio-economic stability, and also support their participation and inclusion in decision making and peace processes.
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