SOUTH SUDANESE WOMEN CONTRIBUTING TOWARDS NATION-BUILDING AND SHAPING PEACE IN SOUTH SUDAN
Meet Merekaje Lorna Nanjia; a mother, a sister, a friend and an activist.
She is a graduate of the University of Nairobi. Trained as Biomedical Technologist, Merekaje has developed a career both as a biomedical technologist and a civil rights and political activist. Over the years Merekaje Lorna has acquired different skills in leadership, mediation, advocacy and lobby. She currently serves as an advocacy and lobby focal person for CPJ (Citizens for Peace and Justice) a coalition of civil society representatives, academics and individual activists from South Sudan.
Merekaje is the Secretary General of a South Sudanese national civil society organization (SSuDEMOP) that played a significant role in domestic election monitoring and observation during the 2010 Sudan General Election and the 2011 Southern Sudan Referendum for Self-determination. Merekaje helped establish SSuDEMOP and now the organizations have grown from initial domestic election observation organization to focus on Governance and Democracy, Gender Mainstreaming and Conflict Mitigation. SSuDEMOP has developed over a period of time to be known as a civil society hub for advocacy and lobby on various issues of concern and relating to social, political and economic rights. Merekaje was instrumental in organizing the first ever South Sudan national civil society convention after the independence in July 2011.
Merekaje is known for her active participation in policy discussions and active role in advocating for policy changes and sustainable developments for a better society. Merekaje Lorna has made a space and name for civil society among different civil rights advocates, women movements and political processes in South Sudan. She is particularly passionate about progress for Africa and African Vision. Merekaje is one of the civil society representatives nominated to participate in the South Sudan Constitution Review Commission. Her role has been of great significance in enhancing the relationship between civil society organizations in and out of the country, with Government/Public and the Private Sector.
She is a member of global network of high achievers, the US State Department sponsored International Visitors’ Leadership Program (IVLP) and the Firoz and Najma Lalji Foundation and London School of Economics sponsored Programme for African Leadership (LSE- PfAL). Lorna is among few South Sudanese women and civil society activists working in the background and at the ongoing IGAD-led South Sudan peace process. Her passion is to mobilize support for social benefit and advocate for common good of the society and mentor the young people in preparation to taking leadership roles in the society.