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Women in Terekeka stand up for their rights at UNMISS-supported conference

The importance of women having the same opportunities as men, and how to reach that goal, was discussed at a conference organized by UNMISS in Terekeka. Photos: James Sokiri/UNMISS

CENTRAL EQUATORIA – Women delegates from across Terekeka County are calling on the national, state, and local governments to give them the same opportunities as their male counterparts. They demand that their issues are given the attention and urgency they deserve.

The women spoke up at a recent capacity building conference in the capital Juba, organized by the Civil Affairs Division of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

“Let us wake up and stand up like one; women, men, youth, elders, authorities, and the private sector, to get behind efforts to empower us. We can only make it happen if we embrace unity,” said Hellen Kaku Kulang, Deputy Chairperson of the Terekeka Women’s Association.

Mrs. Kulang was content with the workshop, affirming that she had learnt a lot about leadership skills and how to promote gender equality and social cohesion.

Agnes Dudu, Secretary of the same association, raised the issues of giving women the right to inherit land and own property, but also spoke about how to eradicate early and/or forced marriages.

“If you educate a girl, you educate her community as well. Insisting on keeping girls at school will help us stop early marriages, which endanger lives and hamper the development of both girls and boys,” she said, urging the government and partners to provide mobile education centres for youth living in cattle camps.

“Our children are killing themselves in the cattle camps over cattle and marriage issues, and this happens because of ignorance. Those children should be encouraged to go back to school to see the benefits of being literate and having skills,” Mrs. Dudu concluded.

The importance of not letting different ethnicities create animosity between women was brought up by Christina Kamisha, Chairperson of the Tali Women’s Association.

“The long-prevailing harmony between the Bari of Juba County and the Mundari in Terekeka County is paramount. Recent fighting must come to an end, and by standing united, women from both sides can make that happen,” she said, adding that peace is also required for all children to be able to go to school.

Bringing together about 40 women delegates from across the 10 administrative areas of Terekeka County, those in attendance also discussed other challenges they face, such as poverty, poor road conditions, and a lack of basic services.