South Sudan

Displaced Women Unite Against Violence


information pills geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>Drawing in women of all ethnicities who have fled the South Sudan conflict, the activity was initiated by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which focuses on GBV prevention and response.

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“In our approach, one of the first steps is bringing the women together, getting them connected to each other,” said Sinead Murray, IRC Women’s Protection and Empowerment Emergency Coordinator.

“Then we can help them understand that a woman who experiences violence can access our services,” she said.

Using emergency schools tents after classes were finished for the day, IRC began meeting with women and girls, who expressed their immediate needs and accessed the organization’s services.

During the meetings, women socialize and practice henna-making. Soon, they will learn about reproductive health and hygiene as well as basic English.

They are currently rehearsing dances and songs for International Women’s Day (8 March).

As part of those preparations, long-time Radio Miraya journalist, Ivana Musa, who has covered women’s issues in Sudan and South Sudan, visited the site.

Ms. Musa held two meetings with the women on February 25 and March 1.

Topics raised by the over 30 participants included women being heard, having a chance to develop and work, becoming independent and addressing traditional customs like early marriage.

The women concluded that education was vital, as is building trust between wives and husbands.

“I married early and haven’t finished my school,” said participant Mary Dived. “Now, I’m 33 with three children … For me the most important thing is preventing my daughter from repeating my experience.”

Ms. Musa shared her experiences as an IDP in Khartoum with participants.

“I used to make sweets and sell them at school early in the morning before the classes,” she said.

“I studied hard to eventually get into university. I started working as a part-time journalist to cover my university fees and other expenses.”

“I married at 30 and there is nothing wrong with it,” Ms. Musa added. “Girls can wait and still have a happy family and children.”

The leading organisation for emergency response to GBV in Bentiu, IRC has trained seven health staff at two facilities in the UNMISS protected area on clinical rape management and set up GBV referral systems.

The organisation has also trained health workers to provide psycho-social support for women and girl survivors of violence.

IRC involves volunteers and social mobilisers from communities to raise awareness on available services, run activities at safe spaces and strengthen links with women and girls.



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