What you need to know:
- Beneficiaries will access livelihoods through five economic empowerment centres meant to offer life skills training, including literacy, value chain development support and second chance education.
- Negative social norms and practices have historically hindered the progress of women and young girls in South Sudan. They undergo challenges due to climate change and inadequate empowerment opportunities.
Women in 10 states in South Sudan will have their livelihoods enhanced following the launch of the World Bank-funded South Sudan Women Social Economic Empowerment Project.
The four-year project will also benefit women from two administrative areas. It seeks to empower 261,000 women, including adolescent girls and youths.
Beneficiaries will access livelihoods through five economic empowerment centres meant to offer life skills training, including literacy, value chain development support and second chance education.
Negative social norms and practices have historically hindered the progress of women and young girls in South Sudan. They undergo challenges due to climate change and inadequate empowerment opportunities.
“In South Sudan, women own 63 per cent of the SMEs and only five per cent have access to credit and loans, which remain a key barrier to the growth and development of women-led enterprises,” said Dr Maxime Houinato, the UN Women Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, at the launch of the event in Juba.
Dr Houinato noted that the project builds on the gains already made by South Sudan women with the support of UN Women and its partners. She added that the flagship nature of the project and its design will complement UN Women’s efforts to support South Sudan in tackling vulnerabilities experienced by women and girls.
Some 200 women will get small grants, while 1,000 entrepreneurs will undergo extensive training to boost their contribution to economic growth and livelihood.
The project will also support survivors of gender-based violence through construction of a safe house that will shelter up to 2,100 survivors, offer livelihood training and link the survivors to economic opportunities.
Ms Abuk Makuach, the chairperson of Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs, lauded the project, terming it a game-changer. “We can now say there is hope for the women of South Sudan. It is the first time ever to have centres dedicated to women where they will gain skills for livelihood,” she said.
About 450 social workers will be trained to provide enhanced services within their communities and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Rebecca de Mabior, the vice president, Gender and Youth cluster, pledged personal and government support. “Even if I am not in this position, I will continue to monitor the work of women and girls and the youth in general. I want to see tangible things from this project. Since the formation of the government of South Sudan, the Ministry of Gender has not had any office, yet women are 58 per cent of the population. Thanks to this project, women will now have their own office,” she said.