In Jonglei, social workers are sensitized on preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence

women peace security south sudan UNMISS peacekeepers peacekeeping United Nations UN peacebuilding gender equality Jonglei Bor

Some 50 social workers in Jonglei were trained on preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence by UNMISS. Photo by Mach Samuel/UNMISS

16 Nov 2021

In Jonglei, social workers are sensitized on preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence

Mach Samuel

BOR - Across the world, social workers play an irreplaceable role. They are the collective conscience of a society as they work tirelessly to improve people's lives, promote human rights and overall wellbeing.  Most importantly, they fill gaps in necessary services that governments are unable to provide to their citizens.

Recognizing the vital role played by social workers, 50 of them, drawn from various ministries in Jonglei, South Sudan, recently assembled in Bor to learn more about the landmark United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

This Resolution fundamentally shifted the world’s perspective on the role played by women as peace agents within their communities and argued for their equal consideration as well as participation in all forms of decision-making. The key pillars of UNSCR 1325 are prevention of violence against women; protection of women and girls and their rights; participation of women in governance; and relief and recovery.

The highlight of the two-day workshop organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS): Educating participants on available mechanisms for preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence, which has been exacerbated in Jonglei due to a host of reasons, including COVID-19 and a shrinking economy.

“UNMISS and humanitarian partners through their interventions, whether it is by mitigating conflict, protecting civilians or providing humanitarian assistance to those who need help the most have been instrumental in ensuring women and young girls are protected,” said Bathamayo Deng, a participant.

“However, we have a responsibility ourselves to ensure that no case of domestic abuse, rape or any other sexually-motivated crime goes unreported. With the skills and knowledge that we have acquired during these training sessions, we as social workers are better equipped to uphold the rights and dignity of women in our communities,” she continued. “This is also a life lesson that we will pass down to our children.”

For his part, Lual Monyluak Day, state Minister for Education and General Instruction, is appreciative of social workers who are gearing up to become ambassadors in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence across Jonglei.

“Social workers are a specialized group of people, and we are very happy that they are being trained to amplify the voices of the communities in coming together to prevent any form of violence against women,” he noted.  

Raising awareness on gender equality is critical in South Sudan, given that women and young girls have perhaps been most affected by conflict and civil war. More importantly, as this young nation begins drafting a permanent constitution and gearing up for elections, women’s political participation is key. Without their voices being heard and included, an inclusive peace could remain a distant hope.