News / Africa

New Agency Trains Women Leaders in Southern Sudan

UN Women also helps register and prepare potential voters

Multimedia

Audio
Charlton Doki

This is Part 5 of a 5-part series on UN Women
Go to Part:  1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Among the issues facing women in southern Sudan are high rates of poverty, illiteracy and maternal mortality. Bringing those numbers down by 2015 is the aim of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs.

Lucie Luguga, who is the program manager for UN Women in the region, says “Statistics show that out of a 100,000 women who give birth, 2,045 die. If you look at the number of women who are aware of how HIV/AIDS is transmitted, how to prevent it and how really to empower yourself not to get infection, there’s very few."

"So," she continued, "if we are talking about realizing the MDGs by the year 2015 in south Sudan in terms of women, I think we shall not be able to get there.”

To address some of these challenges, the United Nations is training women as leaders who can advance their causes in the legislative agenda.

For example, one of the new agency’s efforts in southern Sudan, which has high illiteracy rates, was to educate women about their right to vote in last year’s national elections and referendum on independence.

Darfur woman carries water.
Darfur woman carries water.

“We undertook awareness programs up to the payam [district] level," she explained. "For instance, in the elections we had two people in every county who went to all the payams in the county to spread the word about the elections, to create awareness about election laws and on the preconditions for voting. That awareness program enabled many women to register and vote."

"For your information," Lugaga continuned, "of all the registered voters in the elections, 55 percent were women. For the referendum, 52 percent [of all registered voters] were women.”

The training also showed potential women candidates how to present their campaign messages to the electorate, how to lobby for votes and how to prepare a statement of principles.

The results were impressive.

She says women made gains in southern Sudan’s legislative assembly and in the country’s 10 state assemblies.

A woman registers to vote in referendum on independence for south Sudan in Jonglei State.
A woman registers to vote in referendum on independence for south Sudan in Jonglei State.

The percentage of women holdings seats in the national legislature went from 20% to 33% and from 20% to 28% in the states.

Luguga says despite the increase in the number of female legislators, the agency is still working to support more women, including in the civil service. According to legal quotas, women should make up 25% of all public sector employees. Luguga would like to see that increased to 50%.

UN Women is also working with a civil society organization, South Sudan Women Empowerment Network, to lobby to have the protection of women guaranteed in the final constitution of the new country.

The national assembly has passed an interim one, but it has not yet been presented to the public for debate and for a referendum.  Lugaga hopes more support for women can be included in the document before it is finalized.

Women with their children for displaced persons in Zam Zam camp in North Darfur, Sudan.
Women with their children for displaced persons in Zam Zam camp in North Darfur, Sudan.

“So the [interim] constitution that has been reviewed [by the legislature]," said Lugaga. "If only it could provide for the betterment of the welfare of the women, if it could make sure that it includes sections that will make resources available, to make living conditions of women in south Sudan better, to bring water near to where the women are, to make available economic facilities, economic enterprises that can benefit women then I think that would have been a very good constitution for the women.”

UN Women also wants to mobilize key segments of southern Sudanese society in support of women. The agency will talk with religious and traditional leaders and women lawyers about how they can promote women’s issues once southern Sudan becomes independent in July.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs