Joint Press Release
South Sudan Women’s Coalition and United Nations Development Programme in South Sudan
24 September 2021, JUBA—Led by the South Sudan Women’s Coalition, a broad cross-section of women leaders met on Friday 24 September for an intergenerational networking event designed to strengthen ties, share lessons, and strategize on improving adequate and effective gender representation in governance in South Sudan.
"We are here to listen to ourselves, and we want to know ourselves, appreciate each other, share friendship, connect and network, share experiences, knowledge, ideas and above all, initiate conversations on issues that affect women, our families and our beloved country South Sudan," said Hon. Dr. Anne Itto, Member of The East African Legislative Assembly at the dinner, adding: "Women have bore the brunt of the conflict in this country for many years, so our top priority is peace.”
South Sudan Women’s Coalition supports the minimum thirty five percent affirmative action stipulated for women representation in the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU). The purpose of the meeting was to bring together women across different groups to interact and build relationships, namely: senior women leaders, young women leaders, women’s organizations, and women-owned commercial businesses.
"We may be coming from different parties, different women groups, but our goal is the same: to see peace prevail in our country. We need to ask the question: Are the gains in the [peace] agreement really benefitting the women of South Sudan, or not?" said SSWC Secretariat Coordinator Ms. Rita M. Lopidia.
The group committed to improving relations between the different groups of women present, such as increasing collaboration and mentorship opportunities. Together they will take action to increase effective participation in policy making, peace implementation, and overall governance. The participants also reflected on the progress made so far in the inclusion of women in the peace process and the importance of making women’s impact more significant for the remainder of the transitional period and beyond.
“The state is a community, and to be a community there has to be in the collective consciousness a ‘We’– with shared values and aspirations. It is fundamental, if a state or a society does not have a ‘We’ thinking it hasn't become a society yet. The question has always been asked, who builds the ‘We’ in society? Women,” said Resident Representative Samuel G. Doe, at the networking session, emphasizing the important role women play in South Sudan at this critical juncture of implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) and further recovery and state-building efforts. “Every single society on the globe is built by women. That is one big pillar to which all of us look to women, to help us constitute society and the structures needed to build the institutional fabric of the ‘We’.”
The South Sudan’s Women Coalition networking event was supported by UNDP South Sudan’s Peace and Community Cohesion project, with funding from the Government of Sweden.
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UNDP’s Peace and Community Cohesion (PaCC) programme seeks to contribute to the reduction and mitigation of community level conflict and insecurity by investing in initiatives that address key drivers of conflict and insecurity. The project empowers communities to identify in an inclusive and participatory manner the roots of conflicts in their communities, and using an integrated and gender- sensitive approach, support the communities to effectively prevent, manage and resolve conflict in a non-violent manner. The project also strengthens community relationships by identifying and strengthening cultural, social and economic connectors that make communities reliant on each other in times of peace and conflict.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.