To achieve and maintain peace in South Sudan, the views and perspectives of all genders must be both listened to and adequately respected, with the voices of women crucial for success.
Together with local partners, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has therefore recently held a three-day workshop to build the mediation skills of 20 female community leaders from across Western Bahr El Ghazal State.
“Women already play a major role in creating the conditions for communities to live peacefully side by side, and the insights and knowledge acquired over the last few days will no doubt add to the influence they can have,” declared Angelina Anthony Uku, the state’s Director General for Peacebuilding and one of the facilitators of the training.
On this occasion, the capacity building sessions had the specific objective of establishing a South Sudanese chapter of FemWise Africa, a network created by the African Union to enable women on the continent to play a more significant role in conflict resolution and mediation.
“I am confident that the women gathered here can contribute a lot to preventing and resolving conflicts by learning about the experiences of their sisters from across the continent,” said Sara Ungele, a Gender Affairs Officer serving with the UN peacekeeping mission, adding that this training was a continuation of a training of trainers conference held in Wau in August last year.
Having been taught how to use conflict analysis frameworks and other tools to deal effectively with conflicts, Juliet Elino Alerto, a representative of the Center for Strengthening Community Voices, felt duly empowered.
“Sure, we have mediated in our communities before, but from now on we can assume the role of professionals of the particular field of women, peace and security,” she averred.
With elections set to be conducted in December 2024, participants are expected to get plenty of opportunities to put their new competences to the test.
“As women, we should mobilize and support each other with the aim to actively participate in the democratic process, either as candidates or as voters,” affirmed Miriam Taba, a young community leader.
Highlighting the prevalence of land disputes and violence related to cattle migration, Norbert Niyodusenga, Acting Head of the UNMISS Field Office in Wau, explained that the organization of the workshop is in line with the peacekeeping mission’s mandate.
“As your partner for peace, we will continue to support local initiatives to address conflicts, and the role women can play in those processes is a fundamental part of that,” he said.
Over the course of the training, participants also outlined an action plan that will guide the future activities of female community leaders.
According to Samuel Nikolas Koneiyoh, the state’s Acting Minister for Peacebuilding, the finalized draft of that document will be presented to the local Council of Ministers for debate and possible actions.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).