South Sudan | 2021 | CBPF
South Sudan, Pibor. Gender-based violence in South Sudan is widespread. Several South Sudan Humanitarian-fund-supported projects are working, to prevent, mitigate risk, and scale up response services. Local NGOs Voice of Peace, Community Initiative for Development, and Joint Aid Management have been carrying out projects in Pibor to help women and girls.
Voice of Peace, a national NGO, implemented one of these projects. They established women and girl-friendly spaces, where participants could discuss attitudes related to forced and early marriage and girls’ education.
Lucia is a mother of seven. She attended the Voice of Peace sessions and learned the risks of early marriage and the importance of education for girls. She made a change in her own home, persuading her husband that all their girls should go to school. Today, her three daughters attend Pibor primary school, and she hopes they will go on to complete secondary.
Sadia attended the same workshops. She has five boys and one girl – who was “engaged” to an adult at the age of five. Following the workshop, Sadia opened a discussion with her husband and his parents – might the girl, now 13, be allowed to complete her schooling before marriage? The family took some convincing, but Sadia was able to get them to agree that her daughter enroll in and complete secondary school before getting married.
Women also face forced marriage. Nya lost her husband during the 2013 war. It was normal in her community that she then became his brother’s wife. The new husband was abusive. One day, she walked away. She met with teams from the Community Initiative for Development (CIDO), another South Sudanese NGO working on GBV. She worked with a counsellor and was able to overcome suicidal thoughts. She began working with CIDO to offer GBV prevention awareness to other women in the community. She hopes that sharing her story might encourage other women to speak out and seek help.
Regina faced a similar experience – abuse at the hands of her husbands’ brother, following her husband’s death. She also left and fled to Pibor. Joint Aid Management (JAM), another NGO, supported her and other women to establish a community garden. From there, Regina expanded her garden and grew a thriving small business to support herself and her children.