By Mary Poni
The Young Women Christian Association South Sudan in collaboration with Oxfam and the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare tackled the need for women to make use of the 35% affirmative action in peace building process from above to the grassroots level in the country.
This came during a discussion yesterday in Juba on the theme “Engage and Support Women and Girls in Peace Building”.
The Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Ayaa Benjamin Warile said the ministry with support from UN Women has embarked on developing the new nap for thirty-five affirmative action for women and they have done consultation widely in which some of the members were involved.
She said the national action plan captured timely issues across the society with its four pillars and the new nap represent the country’s widest interest and effort building on the progress made from the first nap.
“One of the main achievements of the first nap was women participation; we are aware how women participated in the peace process,” Said Ayaa Benjamin.
She urged women not to relax saying they have not yet covered all the affirmative action meant for women.
She stated that there are a lot of things happening but through their partners, the ministry of GCSW takes lead in training parliamentarians at the state level.
“We still need to do more not just by increasing numbers but by reaching to women by other activities,” she cited.
“It is our responsibility to make sure that we encourage young women to join politics though the number is increasing, still we need more in and let’s support ourselves in whatsoever things that we are doing,” she said.
Th Undersecretary Ministry of peace building Pia Phillip, said the women peace security agenda is important due to the critical aspect in the peace and as voices of government.
“We are doing our part to sustain and bring dignity to the country,” he said.
“In the government, we have seen the space that has been created for the women from the founding date of the country; late Dr. John Garang and other founders made sure that there should be a space for women,” he cited.
Pia said the women of South Sudan have a critical role to play in this country because the stability of the country lay largely in their hands.
“I want to encourage you today to continue doing your role and be the peace builders of South Sudan because there are a lot to be done especially changing the narrative of the Country for our children to love it,” he said.
The YWCA national treasure, Ade Mary Samuel said that women still go through a lot as gender equality is still an issue despite the 35% affirmative action for women.
She stressed that in the private sector, women have become a donor requirement and as a lady, there must be a space for women to make decisions to make the affirmative action to be implemented fully.
She stated that there is still a lot of gender-based violence against women, early or forced marriages, denial of rights to education despite the fact that the 35% have been given to women.
Oxfam country director Dr. Manenji Mangunda emphasized that the UN Security Council reorganized the important role of women in peace and security in the country.
He encouraged both women and men to give support to the women in all the important forums available in form of women representation.
“We are here to be part of your effort and the process to support you with ideas and strategies to make this work,” he affirmed.