Dr. Priscilla Joseph Kuch, born in 1964, is a South Sudanese politician, peace activist and Associate professor of community medicine at the University of Juba’s College of Medicine.
Her contribution towards peace begun in Khartoum; Sudan, where she was a part of the team that established the South Sudan Women Movement; through a Dutch initiative aimed at involving more then southern women in peace activities. The group helped advocate and influence for peace specially the southerners where they worked with nine women groups including political parties with support from international agencies. It would later intervene in the abduction of children who were taken for slavery in South Kordofan with the assistance of UNICEF. This helped to reduce conflict in South Sudan between Masiria and Dinkas.
Following the South Sudan’s conflict that started in December 2013, Dr. Priscilla founded the South Sudan Women Network for Peace which she is also chairperson to date. The network comprises of members from the Government, Opposition and Civil society Organizations. The network’s focus is on women empowerment, dialogue, gender for peace and sustainable development and Implementation of the Peace Agreement. Her desire to see a South Sudan that is vibrant, transparent, accommodative and democratic is the source of her passion for involvement in peace efforts for more than 20 years.
Trained as a medic with a Bachelors in Medicine and Surgery as well as Masters in Community Medicine, she has served South Sudan’s post-independence government first as Minister without portfolio in the office of the president (2010-2011) and Deputy minister of Gender, Child and Social welfare (2011-2013).
Dr. Priscilla also serves as a board member and chairperson of several institutions including but not limited to South Sudan Pension Fund, UN Women Civil Society Advisory Committee, and South Sudan Peace Task- Force on Inclusive Security. She remains an active member of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
Abul Oyay, born in 1987, Abul Oyay is a South Sudanese Artist and founding member of #Anataban, a collective of creative artists who use their art as a platform for youth to demand peace and justice in South Sudan. Born in Gambella; Ethiopia, raised in South Sudan and Uganda, She pursued university in both England and Kenya
Abul credits her artistic influence to early years spent with her paternal grandmother who practiced traditional arts and crafts. She has always had an interest in the arts but began painting in 2012 while studying in the UK. She has been raised and surrounded by strong women and is passionate about sharing their stories through her art. It is therefore no surprise that her art is largely inspired by them as revealed in all her works. Her style is semi-realistic with a liking to experiment with non-traditional art materials that she mixes into her paintings. Recently, Abul has chosen to add a deeper meaning to her works by connecting with communities she portrays in her art and exploring different techniques.
It is with this skillfulness in art and desire to rely on it to contribute to peace and justice in her country that she through #Anataban has led a group of visual artists and pioneered street art in Juba since 2016. This audacious initiative has brought to completion of over a dozen powerful pieces on walls and containers across South Sudan’s capital; Juba.
A practicing peace activist through art, Abul is currently finalizing her degree in peace and conflict studies at USIU in Nairobi; Kenya. She has held exhibitions in the UK, South Sudan, Uganda and Kenya.
Paleki Matthew Ayang is a talented young lawyer and activist passionate about women’s rights. Currently, Mrs. Ayang is the Executive Director of South Sudan Women’s Empowerment Network (SSWEN), a national indigenous network that promotes gender equality and women’s rights, and aims to empower South Sudanese women to build peaceful societies in South Sudan.
As a prominent member of the South Sudan Law Society, Mrs. Ayang has advised on human rights, media legislation, and constitution making. She has also published numerous papers and articles, as well as co-authored the book “My mother will not come to Juba – South Sudanese Debate the Constitution.”
Ms. Ayang sits on the advisory council to the Special Representative of United Nations Secretary General in South Sudan, serves as a Gender Advisor to the United States Institute for Peace’s Peace Radio for Youth in South Sudan program, and in 2013 was elected as the Vice-Chair for the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region’s Regional Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity and all forms of Discrimination.
In addition, Mrs. Ayang is a member of the Global Women Waging Peace Network and also the Taskforce for the Engagement of Women, a group of 20 Sudanese and South Sudanese peacebuilders supported by the Institute of Inclusive Security, who advocate for women’s meaningful inclusion in peace processes in and between the two countries.
Mrs. Ayang graduated from the University of Juba’s College of Law with Distinction in 2008. She is also a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) where she pursued the civic leadership track – Public Policy Course at University of California – Berkley.
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.
Sometimes you need to speak as many languages as possible to put your message across. The ongoing “Too young to be Married” media campaign has captured the attention of the youth especially those who listen to radio stations or are actively engaged on various social media platforms such as Facebook and twitter.
This being a campaign that’s intended to raise awareness and empower both girls and boys with correct information, skills and networks to enable them recognize child marriage and early pregnancy as a gross violation of their rights and take mitigating action is key in championing Child marriage in South Sudan, we understand that music is one way we can easily pass the message to this category of people.
The song titled “Child Marriage” was composed and produced by Dj Cent, a prominent South Sudanese artists who has been at the frontline of advocacy against GBV using his voice/music to raise awareness on issues of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in South Sudan. Dj Cent is famously known in South Sudan for his song “In-law why are you beating my sister”. A song that dominates radio playlists and programs/events in South Sudan especially during 16 Days of Activism.
He did it again with this new song he produced for the “Too Young to be Married” media campaign. In this song, he highlights the effects of child marriage child at an individual, family and community level. In the video he illustrates the difference between a young girl who is married off at an early age and the other who is sent to school and marries at a later age.
CREW Staffs together with the artist had four (4) radio talk shows on Miraya FM, Eye Radio, City FM and 87.9 Radio One-South Sudan. These talk shows focused on the new song and the song is already becoming a hit on these radio stations. During the talk show while premiering the song, a number of listeners called in to appreciate the initiative taken by Crown the Woman, UNFPA and DJ Cent to end child marriage. Here is the audio link to the song:
http://www.reverbnation.com/open_graph/song/30228390 and the video is also being played on various. you can check it out on youtube as well!
In South Sudan, people often use “culture” as a justification for most forms of violence against women especially when it comes to issues to do with marriage. Child marriage is literally accepted as part of cultural practices and traditions in customary laws in South Sudan, the same customary laws whose customs and traditions are used as a source of legislation. Despite the fact that the government of South Sudan ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which have been localized, the parliament as well passed the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children, which prohibits child marriage. The legal framework in South Sudan that governs child marriage consists of the Interim Constitution of 2011, the Child Act of 2008, the Penal Code of 2008, the Criminal Procedures Act of 2008, the Local Government Act of 2009, and the Peace Agreement, which is supreme over Customary Laws and by-laws practiced by chiefs in all states. But all these efforts are strongly hindered by culture backed by customary laws that run the show in South Sudan when it comes to Child Marriage.
To bring this discussion to the attention of the public, CREW had the opportunity to engage with the Executive Director of Steward Women, a women’s organization that provides legal services through its established mobile community based legal aid centers /courts. Mrs. Josephine Chandiru shared her experience fighting for justice for women in South Sudan. “Access to justice for women and girls is just on paper, it’s not in reality” she said. Even a few victims who take legal action come back and beg the organization to drop the case due to lack of support from their family, pressure and to some extend victims are threatened and for fear of their lives choose to drop the case and be silent, she added. Rule of Law must prevail for effects such as the one Steward Women has in place to move smoothly and be impactful, and that right there is our biggest challenge in South Sudan.
We were also joined by Mr. Philips Anyang Ngong, a human rights lawyer who through his organization, “Advocates Without Borders” has been strongly advocating for that “marriageable age” to be defined in the constitution. His organization filed a petition in 2017 at the supreme court of South Sudan that is being looked at now at the second opinion to clarify and constitutionalize marriageable age. “Besides the use of customs and the unclear legal age of marriage, South Sudan has the Child Act 2018 that has not yet been operationalized” says Mr. Philips. During the radio talk-show, Mr. Anyang was able to share in depth the gabs in the constitution and challenges they face in this field and gave recommendations and what needs to be done constitutionally to end Child Marriage in South Sudan. The talk show was a very insightful show as he interacted with listeners who called in to ask him several questions as well as those that appreciated the topic and also shared their opinions regarding the weak legal framework in South Sudan.
There are various provisions from the different laws that are contradictory and full of loopholes that make it difficult to win child marriage cases in courts so as to establish a legal precedent.
Marriageable age is undefined, the customary laws that govern child marriages are recognized in the constitution, the Penal Code criminalizes the would-be husband who marries an under-age child but not those who make decisions or preside over it. There is no provision that protects a minor boy who impregnates a girl even if she is of the same age, so boys are not equally protected. Abduction of girls for marriages, giving out girls as blood money for crimes committed by males of the family, and inheritance of girls after the death of their sisters are all happening at a time when they are not legally able to give consent as a child. The rewarding of rapists with marriage of the rape victim as a way to overcome stigma and or bring compensation to the girls’ families has been characterized by stakeholders as an appalling miscarriage of justice and recommended that criminal acts such as rape should not be amenable to arbitration through the customary laws but addressed through the statuary courts with stiff penalties.
All these contradictions between and within the pieces of legislations frustrate efforts in place to end Child Marriage in South Sudan.
To end Child Marriage, a functioning legal framework is vital, the Ministry of Justice has a lot to do here. It’s heartbreaking to see constitutional post holders engage in acts of child marriage and they go unpunished.
Involvement of School Going Adolescent girls and boys in Gender Based Violence Prevention and Response Programs
For the past two months, CREW has been conducting mentorships in six (6) secondary schools namely; Juba Day, Promised Land, Don Bosco, Nile Model, Juba Diocesan and Juba Commercial secondary school). This program was intended to enhance the students’ understanding of School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV), the various forms of SRGBV, its effects or consequences on students and, Prevention and Response mechanisms.
CREW with support from the trained volunteer mentors were able to reach out to 1,470 students, (862 girls and 608 boys). This mentorship was very effective because of the students overwhelming participation, remarkable knowledge on GBV especially SRGBV, and their willingness to spearhead prevention and response both in schools and at their community levels. Their knowledge on SRGBV confirmed how impactful CREW’s last year’s engagement with these students during the establishment of the GBV Prevention Clubs in their schools were.
The students emphasised the need to engage teachers and parents in this process. Other students had a moment of awakening and acknowledged how they had unknowingly either been inflicting some of the SRGBV forms on other students or have unknowingly been violated by their peers. This mentorship program gives these young boys and girls, especially the young girls who in most cases are the most vulnerable an opportunity to build and increase their social assets and safety nets to protect themselves from violence and respond to threats and incidents of violence.
All this would not have been possible without the unwavering support from our well informed volunteer mentors who availed themselves despite their busy schedules from the start of the mentorship program to the end. They mentored the students in a much easier and practical way by giving examples from their real life experiences as a reference to school related gender based violence. By showing vulnerability they made it easy for the students to relate and also share openly. The mentorship did not only enhance the student’s capacity on SRGBV but also built a bond between students and the mentors.
On the other hand, being end of the academic year (final term), it was not easy to have these schools give us the dates and hours we needed to effectively engage with the students. Some schools could only give us 3hours of their time which limited our ability to fully exhaust the discussions with the students. A few mentorship programs in some schools were postponed from their initial dates to other dates due to unforeseen changes in school programs. In most schools, the mentorships didn’t involve candidate classes (Senior four Students) because schools wanted them less engaged in any extra-curricular activities and focus their preparations on the upcoming National Examinations.
However, with this experience, we have learnt to be more strategic when designing programs in schools. To ensure inclusivity of all classes and students including candidates and have ample time, it’s important to plan such extensive programs/activities during the first two terms.
This intensive process also made us realize that team-work is the absolute recipe for getting any work done with the utmost success. We were able to achieve all this within a short period of time because of the combined efforts of volunteer mentors, CREW staffs, volunteers from respective schools that did the coordination on ground and extra support from various service providers.
Children giving birth to children in South Sudan is one of the leading causes of the higher rates of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity. Early pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls age 15- 19 in South Sudan. A 15-year-old girl in this country has greater chance of dying in childbirth than of finishing school. Given the limited and poor health facilities and services, majority of these young girls who are married off early and get pregnant at an early age have limited access to decent health services during pregnancy. This is an emotionally difficult and transitioning time for these young girls who happen to be children themselves exposing them to diseases such as obstetric fistula. These young girls are also at higher risks of intimate partner violence and other forms of violence, some find themselves in multiple partnership networks in polygamous and inter-generational marriages, further exposing them to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS. In some communities, inter-generational marriages lead to practice of wife-sharing by men, their sons, brothers and relatives for reproduction and kinship maintenance.
To enlighten South Sudanese on this issue, throughout the month of October, the campaign focused on making the public understand the negative health consequences of Child Marriage and Early Child Bearing.
CREW reached out to the Director General of Ministry of Health, Dr. Alexander Dimiti, Women Reproductive Health Advocate and Former Miss World-South Sudan, Manuela Modong and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Gender Analyst, Viola Riak. All views which were later shared on various social media platforms.
In the conversation with Dr Alexander, he clearly highlighted the consequences of early child bearing and strongly condemned the negative cultural practices where a girl child is considered a “woman” the minute she gets her first period. Starting one’s menstrual cycle does not mean one is now a woman and ready for marriage and to bear children.
Manuela Modong being someone who engages with adolescent girls and boys in her field of work, she was able to share some of the devastating experiences she has had dealing with these young girls, pointing out the high level of exposure these young girls have to Sexually Transmitted Diseases. In addition, the fact that these pregnant young girls are not able to take care of themselves for example, sleeping under mosquito nets, eating balanced diet, going for antenatal visits, they risk getting pregnancy complications such as premature birth and death of the child or both mother and her baby among others.
On the last talk show, CREW hosted the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Gender Analyst Viola Riak who extensively discussed the role that UNFPA played in developing the Strategic National Action Plan to End Child Marriage in South Sudan by 2030. She also talked about the services provided by UNFPA to girls affected by child marriage and early child bearing in South Sudan; such as strengthening the midwifery in South Sudan to support young mothers, training mid-wives both national and international in 14 centres in the whole of South Sudan to ensure that no mother dies during birth, provision of family planning services among many others.
Poor and limited health facilities and services nationwide, illiteracy that hinders sharing and acceptance of information on sexual and reproductive health specially prevention of unwanted early teenage pregnancy are some of the main reasons South Sudan has the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity as compared to other parts of the world.
- Massive awareness raising programs and campaigns nation-wide on the negative health consequences of child marriage and early child bearing. Designing appropriate programs that provide families and communities with information/education and reproductive health services spearheaded by the Ministry of Health
- The government needs to prioritize the health sector in South Sudan and allocate enough funding to ensure health facilities are improved and services offered to citizens especially maternal health care.
- Sex education should be mandatory and incorporated in the education curriculum of South Sudan.
Early this year CREW trained 10 mentors on trauma healing skills, the mentors in return conducted a two-day workshop for 242 adolescent girls from three (3) secondary schools namely; Promised Land, Juba Day and Don Bosco Senior Secondary school. The mentors for the two days while engaging with the girls in smaller groups were able to help the girls understand Trauma and Trauma overview, Symptoms and triggers of trauma, wounded-ness and psychosocial well-being, Mindfulness and the phases of healing, how to respond to trauma with self and how to help others, Emotional regulation, Mentoring and support system, Safety and relationships, IASC guidelines on mental health and Communication and Self-care. These mentors further encouraged those who didn’t feel ready and comfortable enough to share their issues before the group to write on paper and had private one-on-one sessions with each of them over tea and lunch breaks. An approach that gave the girls the confidence to participate and speak up.
As a result of this out of school intimate engagement, the girls’ academic performance immensely improved in their next term. Don Bosco Secondary school had a total number of 21 girls (best performers) leading in all the classes. The school had to organize a celebration to recognize the girls and invited CREW to celebrate with them. “We owe this improvement of these girls’ performance to CREW, this is the fruit of your talking to these girls” says the Principle. They did it, our little angels broke the school record and made us so proud. Sometimes all you need is someone to just talk to, someone who can help you lift some of the baggage you are carrying.
In October, we organized another 3 days’ half day workshops but this time within the school premises and brought the mentors to engage with the girls again. The half day workshops were organized per school. This was simply;
- To ensure the numbers per mentor were really smaller to give each mentor ample time to engage with each girl, and
- To instead use the money that would have otherwise been spent on hiring a venue, transportation costs, snacks and refreshments…etc. to procure sanitary towels and washing soap for the girls. Lack of proper menstrual hygiene management products is one of the main challenges that’s is affecting these young girls’ school attendance on monthly basis. Being the final term of the year, and knowing that some of these girls are preparing for their National Examinations, we knew what keeping them in school during these days for those few remaining months would mean to them.
These mentors were able to reach out to 455 girls as compared to the 242 girls during the first joint two- day workshop that was held outside the school premises. And each girl got three (3) packets of sanitary pads and two (2) bars of soap at the end of each day.
The girls where excited to have received the sanitary pads because due to poverty many of them lack the basic support from their parents, and if they got it’s never enough.
The girls acknowledged and really appreciated the fact that their mentors are in touch with them. This workshops gave these girls an opportunity to speak up
However, not all of them were able to open up/speak up. Especially the girls who missed the previous two-day workshop and were meeting some of these mentors for the first time. Some really have a lot of stress and trauma from the violence they have experienced and just didn’t feel ready enough to share.
The girls wish to have more trauma healing sessions as the previous ones were very helpful to them and they hope these kinds of engagements will be frequent because building relationships and trust is a process and they need that with their mentors. They also shared how the sessions are helping them build their confidence as they start to feel better after speaking up about some of the things they have never shared with anyone in their lives. The fact that most of their mentors are young women makes them feel comfortable enough and trust that this really is a safe space for them.
Some of their key recommendations included;
- Need for sex education. At family level sex is not a conversation parents/guardians have with their children. On the other hand, the South Sudan education curriculum has not really embedded this aspect in the curriculum. These adolescent girls lack information about sexual and reproductive health in general, unwanted teenage pregnancy is one of the main reasons most of these young girls drop out of school and married off at an early age
- They need to have more trauma healing sessions not in their schools but wish this could be extended to other schools if possible to initiate the idea of ‘speaking up’ among the girls.
- There is need to advocate for reduction of the prices of sanitary towels because many girls across the country can’t afford to buy enough pads because it is too expensive.
- They also suggested that the sessions be in really smaller numbers and a little longer to give each and every one ample time to engage with the mentors
(ONLY SOUTH SUDANESE FEMALE NATIONALS)
Title: Finance Officer
Duration: six (6) months
OVERALL JOB DESCRIPTION FOR THE FINANCE OFFICER.
The Finance Officer performs a key supporting role in Crown The Woman-South Sudan(CREW). She is responsible for managing all the financial records and providing daily administration and financial support to the Executive Director. The Finance Officer ensures that all employees adhere to donor requirements for making expenses in accordance with the approved budget. The Finance Officer Will also be responsible of manitaining sound financial systems and controls to ensure effective implementation of programs. This position will produce timely reports , including variance and budget monitoring reports to assist management in assessing the financial performance of grants. The Finance Officer will promote adherence to Crown The Woman Standard Operating Procedures, Donors’ rules and regulations as well as South Sudan Law. In addition, this position will provide daily administrative support functions including office Management, logistics, Procurement and coordination of trainings, meetings and workshops.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Ensure proper internal control procedures are maintained for day to day financial activities within each grant/ project.
- Verify accuracy of invoices and bills from suppliers, to ensure that each invoice and payment request has proper authorization and coding before payment.
- Follow up Staff to liquidate advances on timely basis and make sure their Accounts are cleared to Zero every month and research advance requests ensuring that no advances are outstanding for that particular individual.
- Maintain up-to date books of accounts for the Project, comprising of cash & Bank register.
- Manage account relations with the project banks and book all money received promptly.
- Ensure that all payments are allowable, allocable and in compliance with each donor requirements.
- Review and control all postings in various budget lines under various supported budgets in liaison with budget holders in addition to performing data analysis and advise the senior management on the progress/ performance of the organization.
- Manage the cash flow of CREW and monitor the bank balances every time to ensure that there is enough cash.
- Preparation of monthly financial Report accurately and on timely manner for review by the Executive Director.
- Develop and maintain a filling system to ensure efficient access to information.
- Work with the programs to design budgets for the project activities.
- Prepare financial statements and reconciliation for the organization.
Terms & Conditions
- A six (6) months volunteer contract with possibility of extension
- To be based in Juba, South Sudan.
- Full time
- Monthly stipend to be facilitated by CREW
Academic and Professional Qualifications:
- BSc degree in Finance, Accounting, Economics or related field from a recognized university.
- A minimum of 3 years of professional work experience in accounting and finance.
- Proven work experience as a Finance Officer or similar role
- Experience in designing project budgets
- Excellent computer skills with advanced MS Excel Skills.
- Solid knowledge of financial regulations and accounting procedures
- Experience using financial software (quick book)
- Ability to work independently
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Excellent communication and organizational skills
Interested applicants should email their CV and cover letter and relevant documents to Nadia Sarah via firstname.lastname@example.org and copy email@example.com physically drop their applications to CREW office located at ThongPiny Business Center on Airport Road, Juba South Sudan.
The deadline for application is 5:00pm EAT 10thNovember 2018
[ONLY SHORT LISTED APPLICANTS WILL BE CONTACTED]