Women’s groups in Internally Displaced Persons camps in Juba discuss issues such as hygiene, maternal health, gender-based violence, the role of women in conflict prevention and resolution, women empowerment, nutrition and more.
In 2014, IsraAID – together with its partners the South Sudan Ministry of Gender and Social Development, Confident Children out of Conflict, and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention – trained social workers to establish and facilitate group activities for women. As a result, three women’s groups, comprising 30 women each, were created in Juba – one in each camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) outside UN camps.
The groups have been successfully meeting on a weekly basis for the past eight months, facilitated by the social workers trained by IsraAID. Each week, a topic is presented by the social workers and discussed among the women. Topics include: hygiene, maternal health, gender-based violence, the role of women in peacebuilding, conflict prevention and resolution, women empowerment, nutrition, prevention of domestic accidents, pre- and ante-natal care to name a few. While discussing topics and sharing ideas, the women make handicrafts and other items that they then sell in markets and international events.
While sharing ideas, the women make handicrafts
The women’s groups from IDP camps were invited to show and sell their items at International Women Day celebrated in Juba with Minister of Gender and Social Development Mary Apayi, and Minister of Animal Resources and Fisheries Dr. Gada James Killa.
International Women Day celebrated in Juba
Following are testimonies from several women in the IDP camps:
Gumbo Camp: "Before this women’s group and the program with the social workers, we never had the opportunity to gather as women in a group. Before, men were always interrupting, banning us from getting together under the tree. Women were not allowed to meet in a group back in our villages. Also, in the villages, women had no time to sit, as they had to collect firewood or water far away from their living places. In a sense, the emergency brought new positive dynamics, new changes in the community that affect women in a good way. Men were positively influenced by all the awareness-raising activities and now accept that women gather. The women’s groups brought a sense of togetherness and cohesion which was not there before, positively influencing the community dynamics."
Mahad Camp: "Women used to meet as a group but only from the same tribe. This is the first time that we are brought together as women from different tribes to discuss issues. We realized it was a mistake to organize women’s groups according to tribes and we now see the importance of women from all the tribes in the camp meeting together. We have come to gather as women, not as a tribe. This program is very important. We have been separated for too long."
IsraAID, founded in 2001, is Israel’s leading humanitarian non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to providing life-saving disaster relief and long term support. For over a decade, its teams of professional medics, search & rescue squads, post-trauma experts and community mobilizers, have been first on the front lines of nearly every major humanitarian response in the 21st century, reaching over 1 million people in 25 countries. IsraAID offers training and support programs in both developed and developing countries using Israel’s unique know-how in the fields of psychosocial support, education, agriculture and health. Today, IsraAID conducts on-going training programs in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Haiti, Kenya, Jordan and South Sudan.