The South Sudan Council of Churches as a National Faith Base Institution continues to abide by the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR 1325) adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on 31st October 2000 on women’s Peace and Security.
With a commitment to advance women’s peace and security agenda, and through the South Sudan Council of Churches National Women Coordination desk, SSCC, in partnership with KAIROS CANADA, organized a National Women Forum (NWF) in Juba. The NWF was conducted in a penal discussions order and identified presenters from its existing networks, including the parliamentary Women Caucus. The forum organized included thirty-three participants, incorporating National women MPs headed by the parliamentary women chairperson, a senior legal advisor from the office of H.E Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior, Gender, and Youth Cluster, and three Executive Directors from civil society organizations.
The objective is to provide a platform for practical information sharing from women across the various sectors and enhance women’s engagement in developing the South Sudanese National Women Agenda. The NWF was to take stock of women’s advocacy, accelerating the implementation process of the Revitalized Peace Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS).
While giving updates on the SSWEN engagement with Women parliamentarians – Ms. Adeng Malual Leek – ED SSWEN (South Sudan Women Empowerment Network), said that SSWEN continues to participate in constitutional making processes consultation integrated by the national Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Following the Peace agreement process, Ms. Adeng lamented that it is the role of the women to assume space and together participate in decision-making with male counterparts to bring peace to South Sudan.
“The ministry of Gender continues to engage with U.N. Women and UNDP for the women enterprise funds to be established to empower women economically” Hon. Esther – Undersecretary for the Ministry of Gender Child and Social Welfare, said while giving an update on the National Action Plan Review on the implementation of UNSCR 1325. She also added that the review of the National Action Plan renewal plan to advance implementation of UNSCR has already been done.
SSCC National Women Coordination desk was built in 2013, and before its vacancy gap between 2020 and 2022, The SSCC National Women Coordination Desk managed to engage with women from different fields of life; it originated the Women’s monthly prayer and fasting during the event for peace, forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, and unity, women also participated in the Peace Agreement, several visits in various location such as orphans, hospital, and house to house were conducted by women, they continued to share leadership training skills, participated on the 16 days of activities on GBV, completed awareness-raising on covid 19 to mention be few.
The forum, since its initiation, has never again mobilized women for continuous gatherings, which created a massive gap in addressing common issues oppressing women in all leadership sectors, which resulted in so many women losing cases at the court of law due to inadequate reports coupled with meager income to empower themselves.
Hon. Advocate Afaf, the senior legal adviser in H.E. Mama Rebecca Nyadeng, the Vice president for the Youth and Gender cluster, recommends that women should regularly visit the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ministry to familiarize themselves with lawyers who can offer free legal aid to solve issues.
However, panelists also stressed that Covid-19 limited the implementation of all the activities that were to be implemented in the period 2020 to 2021 and added that due to the lack of proper channels of coordination at the time, Women link failed to visit the camps visit as it was planned due to language barriers within the link as the camps hosts different ethnicities which at times requires translation.
The panelists lamented that the slow implementation of the Peace Agreement, especially the formation of the National Legislative Assembly, including the state level, has led to difficulties reaching out to mostly Women M.P.s who are part of the forum.
They also added that the faction and defection of forces from SPLM/Government and vice versa had posed a serious.
This forum identified that almost all the women from the various networks/institutions are working towards the same common goal of women’s peace and security UNSCR 1325 but lack coordinated efforts for a collective approach.