UNMISS trains women leaders in Torit in advocacy skills, urges them to trickle down their skills to women at the grassroots
“It is always good to learn about a new approach to advocacy, because you cannot isolate yourself thinking you know enough,” said Davidica Ikai Grasiano, Chair of the Itwak Women's Association in Torit, Eastern Equatoria.
Ms. Grasiano’s words came on the margins of a recent three-day advocacy skills training organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in collaboration with the state Ministry of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare.
“This workshop aims to promote women’s effective inclusion and participation in peace processes. As you are aware, the Revitalized Peace Agreement stipulates 35 per cent representation for women in all aspects of the peace deal,” reiterated Cornelius Nagbe, a Human Rights Officer working with the UN Peacekeeping mission.
The event saw the participation of over 30 women leaders and community representatives in Torit.
“The opportunity to hone advocacy skills is important, particularly for community leaders such as ourselves since our presence and participation during local advocacy campaigns secures significant interest and support from our people,” said Bibiana Candido, a member of the HIV Commission for the state. “HIV prevention outreach, for instance, is only successful because of effective collaborations with other relevant partners.”
Sessions at the training were facilitated by the UNMISS Gender Affairs Unit and civil society organizations; these dealt with topics such as problem analysis, stakeholder mobilization, funding challenges, and so forth.
“There are many challenges linked to advocacy work here in the state. Most importantly, people are not united. Youth-led organizations, women-led organizations, especially, are not well organized. If we could find a way around this, we will make great progress in our campaigns,” revealed Benjamin Vitale, the Executive Director of Value Interest Nonviolent Alliance (VINA).
It is hoped that this advocacy training and other such gender-specific sessions spearheaded by UNMISS will contribute to progress in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement, including the promotion of women’s active participation in peacebuilding and political processes.
“We need to equip women with the right skills so that they can, in turn, trickle down knowledge to other women at the grassroots. The role of rural women in disseminating the message of peace cannot be overemphasized,” said Dominica Idwa, Director-General, state ministry of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare.