In South Sudan, avenues for the political advancement of the younger generation are scant. For (young) women, these opportunities are even more limited, especially in peacebuilding and conflict resolution efforts where male elders dominate. Women’s voices remain largely excluded in the public domain and at the household level. Gender quotas are insufficient for ensuring the increased voice of women; structural and norm change is required.
In order to do this, this programme:
- Promotes gender transformative thinking so that more equitable norms can be considered. This will reduce harmful practises, ease access to justice and security and enable structural framework change.
- Empowers women and girls to meaningfully participate in decision making processes that affect their lives through strengthening their skills, knowledge and networks, particularly relating community security concerns.
- Engages men and boys as allies in promoting gender equality.
- Promotes meaningful youth participation on equal terms and at all stages of decision-making processes that influence their lives, including peace building processes. This program pays particular attention to youth between the ages of 15-24, both male and female.
- Builds the capacity of civil society to ensure they are well positioned to promote the rights and needs of the disadvantaged populations such as women and girls.
- Strengthens the resilience of people who are affected by crises, particularly women and girls. Increasing the mental health and psychosocial support services available not only improves the functioning of individuals, families and communities, but also facilitates their participation in reconstruction efforts.
All the above strategies will provide women, men and youth (female and male) in South Sudan, in the former states of Unity (Payinjar county), Lakes (Yirol West, Mayom, Mankien counties) and Eastern Equatoria ( Magwi and Torit counties) with the capacity, skills, knowledge and resources needed to become, at local, subnational and national level, agents of change. They can achieve the meaningful participation of women and girls in conflict prevention, resolution, peacebuilding, relief and recovery, challenging harmful attitudes and beliefs related to gender, fostering protection of women and girls and influencing the implementation of laws and policies. This is in line with the UNSCR 1325 and following resolutions.
Women and Girls for Change: Building sustainable peace and gender equality in South Sudan is a programme developed by Plan NL, HealthNet TPO, Stad and PAX funded in the framework of the Dutch National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It runs from November 2016 until December 2020 and aims to strengthen the resilience of women and girls and ensure they have enhanced access to psychosocial and legal protection services, create an enabling environment for structural and transformative change of harmful social norms that fuel gender inequality, and ensure the meaningful participation of women and girls in peace and security and local and national levels.
Activities & Results
Discussion about gender-specific issues on a live radio talk show
In May 2019, the first live radio talk show was held in Yirol Community Radio. During the show, influential figures were bought together to discuss gender-specific issues such as child marriage and sexual violence. The show reached over 50,000 listeners across the state, and was the first of its kind.
More women participate in peacebuilding activities
The participation of women in peacebuilding activities has increased from 10% to 30% in most structures in the areas where the programme is implemented. There are now at least 2 women in all traditional courts. This is significant as it means women are also playing a role in legal negotiations and processes which was previously the domain of men.