Women and girls in the Gogrial area have been encouraged to get an education and thus minimize the risks they face of being subjected to gender-based violence. The call comes amid reports of an increased number of sexual violence and abuse against females in the Greater Warrap region.
Anastasia Nyirigira, head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan field office in Kuajok, spoke to a number of women at the closure of a two-day workshop held as part of activities conducted to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
“The only way we can combat early marriages and forced marriages is to send our girls to school. I look at you women, and if you want to educate your daughters you can do it, because education is the only tool that can free women from all discrimination. Education can lead to economic independence and open many opportunities. We [UNMISS] stand with you, we will continue to support you and build your capacity,”, Ms. Nyirigira said.
The state minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Garang Bol, applauded the role UNMISS is playing in raising awareness on harmful practices against women and girls and encouraged the peacekeeping mission to keep up its good work. The Director-General of his ministry, Nyan-Nuot Madut, commented that these efforts are important at a time when many cases of sexual violence and abuse of girls and women are being reported.
The workshop was organised by UN Police and focused on harmful practices against women. The forum was attended by 65 participants drawn from the Kuajok women’s union, civil society and the organised forces.
The Secretary-General for the women’s association, Aker Deng Akol, made an appeal for more education opportunities for women and girls.
“What I want to say to parents, community members and the government is that we need to encourage and empower girls and women and let everyone go to school”, she said.
Some participants strongly reacted to workshop as the “eye opener” forum for women to engage their male counterpart to discourage wrong attitude toward wrongdoing.
One participant, Elizabeth Nyanjok, described the event as an “eye-opener” that has encouraged her to talk to male counterparts on the importance of avoiding wrongdoings against women.
Another attendee, Mary Akol urged UNMISS to take its trainings to rural villages, and to target government officials to alert them on issues relevant to girls and women.
“Education should be a common goal in our community. Our government has to cooperate with the UN Mission so that we women can benefit from the trainings offered to us,”, she said.