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UN calls for empowerment of rural women

By Mamer Abraham


United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and UN Women, call for empowerment of women at the grassroots.

In a joint campaign, running from October 9 to October 15, 2023, on social media, the UN agencies stated that the empowerment of women would enable them to fight food insecurity and climate change across the country.

“The joint campaign aims to promote the role rural women play in supporting their households in achieving food security, generating income, improving rural livelihoods, and building climate change resilience,” partly reads the statement.

Dalila Goncaves, the UNOPS Director for Africa Region, said women should be involved in the infrastructure sector and that what she termed “gender-blind infrastructure” should be avoided.

“Women can play an active role as change-makers and educators in embedding sustainability within different infrastructure sectors,” said Dalila.

“Supporting the empowerment of rural women through gender-responsive infrastructure, UNOPS helps low and middle-income countries across Africa in their journey towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.”

Maxime Houinato, the UN Women Regional Director for East and Southern Africa and the regional director for West and Central Africa, said women wrestled with a lot of challenges linked with restrictions on agricultural productivity and adaptation to climate change.

“UN Women studies reveal that gender disparities in agriculture have a direct impact on the economic growth of countries ranging from 13 to 28 percent of GDP, equivalent to annually elevating 80,000 to 238,000 individuals above the poverty line per country,” she said.

She called for the formulation of policies that will lead to increased finances for rural women so they can effectively contribute to economic stability.

“It’s imperative that we advance programmes and policies that increase financing for rural women’s access to labor and time-saving equipment and services, fostering gender equality and improving rural women’s economic security,” she added.

Last week, women leaders and civil rights activists complained during a one-day workshop organized by the South Sudan Land Alliance (SSLA) over the delaying of the land policy.

Dorothy Drabuga, who is an activist, stated that women were faced with serious challenges because they were not allowed to own land.

“Issues of land have become too sensitive in the Republic of South Sudan. Many people have lost their lives as a result of land grabbing,” Drabuga said.

“In South Sudan, women are being marginalized because their land rights are not being respected. As an alliance, we are going to protect women’s rights.” She added.

Anita Lubari Ramba, representative of the South Sudan Land Commission, accused local chiefs of mismanaging the land and stressed the importance of speeding up the process of amending the land policies.

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