Women leaders in South Sudan’s Wau area have been urged to unite and be peace ambassadors as the country prepares for the formation of a transitional government in November.
The appeal was made during the opening of a three-day women’s peace symposium that brought together more than 30 women leaders organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Civil Affairs Division in Wau.
Wau’s First Lady, Assunta Fancrasio, acknowledged the importance of unity among women in the area to enhance the effectiveness of their role in the peace process.
“If women are united from one end to another, it means the country will be in peace, because a woman has no colour and has no tribe,” Assunta said, while emphasizing the need to further disseminate messages of peace to women at the grassroots.
The Wau women leaders voiced their desire for peace as they reiterated their readiness to take up the 35% allocated to them by the revitalized peace agreement.
As an active member of South Sudan Women’s Association in Wau, Assunta questioned the qualification of women leaders to take up leadership positions and urged them to support one another and put the right persons in the right places – a view echoed by Ann Daniel, Director General in the Ministry of Gender, who insisted that women who will take up positions in the upcoming government should be qualified to deliver the task given to them.
“We don’t want to see someone appointed for the sake of appointment, but we need people who can represent women and speak on their behalf,” said Ms. Daniel.
“I think it’s high time we supported women holding leadership positions to allow them succeed in their duties,” said Elizabeth Mario, Wau Town Mayor, as she acknowledged the big role women are playing in supporting one another.
She called on women leaders in Wau to be closer to the rural women, to empower them for effective dissemination of the peace agreement at the grassroots level.
“We should not focus on things that divide us but rather, things that unite us,” said Viola Alexander, Acting Speaker of Wau Legislative Assembly, who also urged women to accept and support one another to achieve their goals.
“You may be from different ethnic groups but what counts [is that] you are all women, and as women not just out to challenge men but to work alongside them and to move this country forward,” said Mustapha Tejan-Kella, Acting Head of UNMISS Field office in Wau.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).