By Charles K Mark
Western Bahr El Gazel State governor, Hon. Sarah Cleto Hassan urged women to lead community dialogues in order to realize genuine peace in South Sudan.
The governor was speaking during closure of a six-day training of trainers (ToT) workshop, in Wau.
She said despite the fact that some women possess leadership abilities, their participation remains restricted.
“Dialogue can sometimes be difficult. It is not easy. But what I have heard from the speakers is that you have learned the skills of how to mitigate violence and how to dialogue.” Governor Cleto Said.
She stated that the training of women is a good opportunity offered to the rest in the country, who will benefit from the knowledge and skills acquired by a few of their colleagues.
“It was or is about being good mediators, good peace builders, and good negotiators. She explained.
Governor Cleto said women always bear the brunt of violence, with their children, husbands, and brothers being killed in war, however, it is also them who take up the role of supporting fighters in war.
“But at the end of the day, women are always neglected or not included in a number of things, especially starting with negotiation. The governor said.
Cleto urged the women who benefited from the capacity-building programme to go and also train other women in the states.
The governor promised to raise the issue of women’s participation and building the capacity of more women during the upcoming governor’s forum, citing that women are often forgotten.
“I’m sure we will be presenting what you have done here and all that we have learned in this process; it is not an easy job. She added.
Hon. Cleto feared not that the women lacked skills or tactics to discharge duties, but that there was always a lack of facilitation, especially in terms of movement.
The Western Bahr El Ghazal State governor believes it is high time women walk with their heads up, especially in this period of time when they are expected to spearhead the dissemination of crucial information preparing the masses for general elections.
She clamored that it is the role of women to move from counties, going to the payams, down to the bomas, and across the neighborhoods, teaching and educating about peace.
“You will have a huge role in terms of negotiations. We have encountered a number of issues related to cattle movement, and every year before the period of the cattle movement, we reorganize a huge cattle movement by movement season. Continued Cleto.
She hinted that they, as women, have a bigger role in ensuring that there is no return to violence in South Sudan anymore.
The Western Bahr El Ghazal state leader urged women to lead in the fight against tribalism and hate speech by setting good examples for their communities.
She argued that women know how to handle difficult situations by always navigating through solution-based mechanisms.
“Sometimes when we discuss issues in terms of negotiations, when it becomes difficult, what we mean, what we women always do, is we say, Stop. Let us take a pause. Let us turn on the music and start dancing. Or let us just go and take peace, put these issues aside, and come back to it later,” the governor lamented.
Cleto compared the woman’s hearts to that of Esther in the Bible, whose boldness, courage, and spiritual insights saved her people.
The six-day training attracted twenty-six women from all ten states and three administrative areas of South Sudan.
The workshop that equipped the women with skills on negotiations, mediations, dialogue, and peacebuilding was organised by the AU mission in South Sudan in partnership with ACCORD, IGAD, and R-JMEC and facilitated by a UN expert on mediation, Ms. Nyambura Mpaayei.