In South Sudan, increasing insecurity and a deteriorating economic situation continue to force people from their homes. More than 3.9 million people have been displaced - 1.9 million have been internally displaced, and over two million have become refugees. Uganda alone is hosting more than one million South Sudanese refugees, the majority of them women and children.*
So far, displaced women have been excluded from efforts to build peace - both in South Sudan, and within the refugee camps where ethnic polarisation and stereotyping continue to cause conflicts.
Through their experiences, grassroots women are well placed to help analyse conflicts and to reach out to other women and young people. However, many of them lack the required skills and opportunities to do so. In the absence of efficient state structures, women’s groups and civil society have an essential role to play in responding to the conflict threat, and sharing lessons and experiences with policymakers at local, state and national level. They can also help establish channels of communication between policymakers and youth and women, both within South Sudan and internationally.
Alongside our partners, Conciliation Resources is running five capacity building workshops for 80 peacebuilders, including those living in areas controlled by armed groups in South Sudan, and refugees currently living in Uganda. The trainings cover skills such as conflict analysis, dialogue, advocacy and conflict prevention techniques.
This work is led by Conciliation Resources’ local partners - South Sudan Democratic Engagement Monitoring and Observation Program (SSuDEMOP), Self-Help Women Development Association (SHWDA) and Totto Chan Centre for Child Trauma.
SSuDEMOP is a civil society organisation which has previously run programmes that focus on women in leadership and engagement with the security sector. SHWDA is an umbrella association of six women’s organisations working with women affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) - those who have been abducted by the LRA and have returned home, and those who suffered violence and loss. Totto Chan Centre for Child Trauma supports children and women associated with armed groups, including supporting them with trauma healing.
This project, funded by the Folke Bernadotte Academy, is part of Conciliation Resources' ongoing work to support women peacebuilders in East and Central Africa.
* UNHCR, Fact Sheet - South Sudan emergency, June 2018.