25 May 2019


Yei Women Leaders Ready To Promote Peace And Reconciliation At Community Level

Women leaders in South Sudan’s Yei River State say they are ready to campaign for peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and good governance at the community level.

Yei Women Leaders Ready To Promote Peace And Reconciliation At Community Level
Women leaders participants pose for a group photo after the workshop [Gurtong photo|Daniel Friday Martin]

By Daniel Friday Martin

YEI, 12 November 2018 [Gurtong]-Yei River State is one of the States in South Sudan that has witnessed gruesome human rights violations, precarious conflict, displacements and looting since the outbreak of the conflict that weakened the State in 2016.

Community Empowerment for progress Organization (CEPO) with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through viable transition to support stability (VISTAS) held a three-day peace workshop last week “Engaging women leaders in peace building” aimed at strengthening their capacities to promote peaceful co-existence in the area.

Speaking to Gurtong at the end of the workshop, Vicky Araba, the Chairlady for Morobo County women association said with the new skills and knowledge they have acquired from the workshop, it will be translated into practical action to realize peaceful communities in Yei River State in particular and South Sudan at large.

“Women have the strengthen to influence decisions of their husbands from violent behavior into peacemaking. We are tired of this war because we have lost a lot of things. However, in the workshop, we have realized that women have a role and the power to transform conflict into peace building. With this workshop, we are going to start speaking messages of peace beginning with our families, neighborhood, villages, Payam, County, State and up to the national level” Said Vicky.

Vicky said the signing of the peace agreement is a great boaster for peace building in Yei River State. “In the workshop we were told that peace building starts with local acceptance and ownership. Thank you CEPO and VISTAS for refreshing our minds with fresh ideas and reasoning towards peace building” said Vicky.

Another woman leader who represents Lainya County Esther Awate, said women are peace makers saying she is ready to start peace building starting at the grass root level.
“In the first place, I want to thank CEPO and VISTAS for bringing women leaders from different back grounds to discuss peace making. I want to tell you that South Sudan will not remain the same, as we focus on peace, we will play our part on peace and later development.”

Awate calls on CEPO and its development partners to support peace building capacities together with poverty reduction programs to fight poverty so that men and women can change their violent mind set into peace and development.

“Let’s cooperate, work together and make Yei River State and South Sudan a better place for all of us. This is possible and it requires our collective responsibilities women, men, chiefs and partners” she concluded.

Susan Sanuna Jamal, CEPO’s Gender and Human Rights Officer thanked the participants for having participated actively in sharing ideas on how to promote reconciliation, forgiveness, unity, joint advocacy for peace and transforming violent conflicts through a non violent approach.

“We are very happy with your active participation, it’s our hope that strengthening women for peace can change our society from violence towards peaceful co-existence and respect for humanity in our community” Sanuna added.
For her part, Victoria Nasirah Augustine, the Director General in the Yei River State Ministry of Gender and Social Development applauded CEPO, VISTAS and USAID for standing with local women leaders in the search for peace and stability in Yei River State.
“We are very happy because CEPO is very close to rural women. The skills we have gotten will help to change societies and communities. As we go out from here, we are ready to change the mindset of communities from war into peace so as to make Yei River State a better place for all.”
Nasirah, appealed to the participants to be ambassadors of peace in their various communities.

“Our women have been left behind when it comes to peace building but we are very happy that from today we will move to another positive step in peace building. As we go out to our communities, let’s be peace ambassadors and support peace initiatives in our various communities” said Nasirah.

In the past, CEPO and its partner USAID held similar peace building workshops for chiefs, elders, returnees and IDPs and local administrative officers and religious leaders with an overall goal to strengthen their capacities to promote peaceful co-existence in Yei River State.


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