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Local women traders in Juba share challenges and concerns at UNMISS forum

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Local women traders in Juba share challenges and concerns at UNMISS forum

I urge our government to help us financially so that we can be as self-sufficient economically as our male counterparts

JUBA, South Sudan, November 5, 2021 / APO Group / –

As South Sudan begins to recover from civil wars and COVID-19, this young nation is poised to establish itself as a true democracy by starting to draft its permanent constitution and eagerly awaiting possible elections. .

Given the context, the need for women‘s voices to be heard and included in building peace from the bottom up is more compelling than ever.

This week, therefore, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) partnered with OneAid Africa to organize a two-day advocacy forum for local women traders in the capital, Juba.

The main objective: to bring traders from the markets of four main payams [administrative divisions] together to have a free and frank conversation about the issues and challenges they face; spreading messages of peace; and sensitize them on the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission.

“We have been working for years as traders to feed our children,” said Rebecca Nyoka, a representative of the popular Jebel market. “However, prior to attending this forum, we were not included in any discussion about our own country and the issues that directly impact us.”

Rebecca’s words were echoed by Christina Ayii Akol, Secretary General of the Chamber of Commerce. “Since we gained independence a decade ago, a combination of cultural stereotypes and an information vacuum has kept South Sudanese women in the background. We must be heard; we need to be heard; and we have the right to be heard. Without the full participation of women, no country can build lasting peace.

For the first time ever, businesswomen had the opportunity to interact in person with members of city council.

“We are plagued by different taxes and a lot of our profits seem to disappear. We have children to look after, ”said Mary Kiden, a charcoal vendor at Gudele market.

For Saga Osman, who represented the Munuki Market, the surprise package taught about human rights. “As women small business owners, we often feel like we don’t have any backing or backing when it comes to our job. I urge our government to help us financially so that we can be as self-sufficient economically as our male counterparts, ”she said with passion.

For his part, Stephen Wani, President of the Central Ecuador Chamber of Commerce, applauded all participants for their frankness and immense courage.

“I salute the work you have accomplished, despite countless challenges. Meeting all of you is inspiring, ”said Mr. Wani. “The women of South Sudan are the breadwinners and peacemakers. You provide essential services to communities, you keep our local economy stable. We will do everything in our power to ensure that your concerns are addressed and that you can look forward to a peaceful and prosperous future.

The existing gaps to ensure that 50 percent of society – women and girls – have their voice at all levels of decision-making is what UNMISS seeks to fill through such outreach activities.

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