"We cannot survive on the food rations given to us by the UN World Food Program, it is not enough; so some of us have to venture out to get firewood and sell it at the market. In the process we are beaten and sometimes raped. I have been raped three times, but I still go out, what else I can do. On a lucky day nothing happens to me but on a bad day I meet these bad guys; but I will continue to go out for the sake of my family."One of the women living in the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Rubkona.
Eve Organization for women development in partnership with AECOM/VISTAS and UNMISS conducted conferences for women at the three Rubkona’s Protection of Civilian Sites (PoCs) in Unity state in April 2014 when the state was extremely volatile. Unity State is one of the states that are heavily affected by the 15 December 2013 conflict that erupted in the South Sudan Capital Juba. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan UNMISS in Rubkona hosts one of the biggest Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites in the Country that hosts three different camps.
EVE Organization’s team and partners arrived, Rubkona on the 7th April 2014 amidst tensed environment and rumors of a possible attack. The team was allocated an open space designated to NGOs within the UNMISS Compound to pitch their tents under the scourging sun. Despite the situation; the team driven by passion and determination to serve the women of South Sudan went ahead as planned to meet the women at the different camps within the UNMISS Premises.
The main aim of the conferences was to give the displaced women a platform to express themselves regarding the ongoing conflict in the country, come up with changes they would like to see in their communities and raise awareness on the role of women in peace-building. The women were given space to tell their stories. Introduction to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) was part of the conferences and emphasis was centered on the four pillars of the resolution which are; Participation, Prevention, Protection and relief and Recovery. The UNSCR 1325 made a lot of sense to the women especially in their situation that is engulfed by violence and conflict.
They were made aware on how to use the resolution to seek protection from both the government and UNMISS and how they can use it for peace building in their communities.The theory of change was also among the topics introduced where the participants brainstormed and visualized their current situation and came up the desired future using the Rich Picture.During the conferences, women gave their own definition to conflict according to their understanding, they outlined the causes of the conflict and came up with possible interventions of solving problems which included, Peaceful dialogue, Forgiveness and Reconciliation, Prayers, Negotiations, Mediation, Respect of others opinion, end tribalism and corruption among many others.
“Walking through the three camps and talking to the women make you feel the desperation and emptiness in the lives of women and children. Thinking about the loss of loved ones and properties; is just too much. This war is unjustified and unnecessary and both sides must be held accountable for the destruction and violence,” says Rita M. Lopidia; the Executive Director of EVE Organization.