South Sudan has been shattered by the ongoing conflict. It has caused tremendous damages to various families, especially women and girls, who have fled to camps either as IDPs or refugees. Statistics show over 2 million persons have been displaced—1.5 million internationally and 500 000 have fled to neighbouring countries. A high number of all displaced persons are women and children.
My dream is to see more stable communities where women and children can live peacefully. Communities where development is the motto of everyday living. How do we address the various challenges faced by women and girls? These challenges vary from community to community. It depends on many factors.
Women and children experience the most violations and abuses in South Sudan. Because of this we must engage more women in creating awareness on peacebuilding campaigns. We must involve community leaders and other influential personnel in their communities who can act as agents of change. We must also involve the youth who will play a big role in bridging the gap between the various communities.
I would like to tackle issues of early and forced marriage and girl child school dropout. In order to reduce these there is a need to improve levels of girl child education and also create alternative strategies for income generating opportunities for women and girls in order to reduce their vulnerabilities. We must also improve the justice sector in order to avail more opportunities for fairness and equality in courts of law, especially for women.
In order to have wider impact and influence I would like to have more engagement from NGOs and the government sector. We must collaborate with various sectors dealing with women and rights. Through meetings and engaging in various forums and conferences we can discuss issues related to women rights. Storytelling sessions can also help bring the women’s stories to the world.
We must also develop networking strategies to engage all those involved on gender related interventions and women’s rights in South Sudan. These issues exist at a global level but each country has a different scenario, so there is need to have it internationally acknowledged. Women are women no matter which part of the world they come from so there is need for more global interventions in order to promote and stop violations against women.
Alice joined us in Ottawa for the 2014 Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program. She completed six weeks of communications and advocacy training alongside two young women activists from Guatemala and Sudan. Alice is now continuing her work to defend women’s rights in South Sudan.