Crown The Woman-South Sudan (CREW) joined the rest of the world this year to commemorate 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV). An international campaign to challenge Violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25th November, the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women to 10th December, Human Rights Day.
South Sudan has a history of gender based violence and this magnified after the 2013 and 2016 conflicts. Many women in South Sudan have, and are experiencing this form of violence which has adversely affected their wellbeing and productivity in their homes, communities and places of work. GBV in South Sudan has resulted due to the long effects of war and the nature of the society and cultural beliefs, which suppress women and leaves them to suffer in silence. These inhumane acts have continued to prevent women and girls from achieving their full potentials and compromise their physical and psychological integrity.
This year’s 16 Days of Activism international theme is “end gender based violence in education”and for South Sudan is “Stop Gender Based Violence against women/girls, end child marriage now”
“There is need to Strengthen resilience to prevent GBV within communities and grassroots structures, inclusive peace begins with protection and recognition of women’s rights.”
CREW on 7th December 2017 organized a march of 112 participants comprising of trained teachers on School Related gender based violence prevention and response, PTA members, GBV Club Leaders(students) from six secondary schools from Jubek and Rajaf states and representatives from Civil Society Organizations. The theme of this march was: let’s unite to end Gender Based Violence against women and girls. the march started from Jubek state Ministry of Gender, child and social welfare to Women Union, Hai Neem.
This march was followed by a panel discussion under the theme: “End Gender Based Violence in Education for Inclusive peace and Development in South Sudan”. the panelists were selected from influential institutions shaping policies and CSOs working in areas of Gender Based violence. Among the panelists was the Ministerial advisor in the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology a Presidential appointee, Ms. Viana kakuli Yuyunda who made such an insightful detailed presentation on the current South Sudan’s Higher Education system and its gender sensitivity.
Taban Romano, Senior Legal Aid Attorney with the South Sudan law Society did a presentation on sexual and gender based violence in regards to South Sudan’s constitution, Ms. Lillian Kiden, the Acting Director of South Sudan Women Empowerment Network focused on the types of school related gender based violence and lastly Ms. Suzan Pasqual, Executive Director of Women Advancement Organization, a victim of gender based violence shared her personal story, this left some participants in tears and admiration for Ms. Suzan’s courage.
Promise Land and Juba Diocesan Model Secondary school drama clubs entertained the participants with their educative plays on “early forced marriage” and “Domestic Violence and Sexual Gender Based Violence” respectively.
This was such a great platform for the rightful stakeholders in education system to come together and share their thoughts on how we can best prevent gender based violence for inclusive peacebuilding processes and development in South Sudan. GBV is one of the main obstacles limiting women’s participation in decision making processes. it’s important to shape the mindsets of young boys and girls if we intend to have future gender sensitive policy and decision makers in South Sudan, and there is no better way to do that than through the education system. The panel discussion gave teachers, students and PTA members a platform to interact with influential people shaping South Sudan Education system.
The objectives of this event were;
- To promote women’s rights for inclusive peace and development.
- To improve attitudes, knowledge and skills of influential people in young girls’ and boys ‘lives to protect them from Gender Based Violence.
- To increase girls’ opportunities to build their social assets to protect and enhance their ability to respond to violence.
Having over 100 participants escorted by a music band march on the streets attracted so much attention and jubilations from bystanders especially women upon reading the posters written on “Every Girl Counts, what action will you take to keep girls in school”.
There is need to Strengthen resilience to prevent GBV within communities and grassroots structures, inclusive peace begins with protection and recognition of women’s rights. This was all thanks to Norwegian People’s Aid, Democracy International(SUCCESS) and GBV Prevention Network