Mundri, Western Equatoria State
0n July 9th, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan was born amidst great rejoicing and much hope. Independence Day was an amazing experience, with the joy of freedom apparent on everybody’s faces. July 9thof 2021 marked the 10 year anniversary of South Sudan’s nationhood.
The Women Protection Team (WPT) in Mundri works to empower communities to identify and address the drivers of conflict and work together to maintain peace in their communities. In total, there are 66 WPTs working across South Sudan. While the vast majority of their work is independent, the WPTs work jointly with NP and are highly trained on social cohesion, leadership, coordination and advocacy and Early Warning Early Response (EWER), Unarmed Civilian Protection, Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response with Referral Pathways. Those involved are embedded in their communities, have strong networks of relationships, and use these networks to prevent and intervene in violence in an inclusive and participatory manner.
NP reached out to some members of Women Protection Teams to hear their reflections on working with the community for peace and South Sudan’s 10 year journey of Independence.
Let us engage in honest dialogue
"We talk to the communities about the dangers of violence and GBV (Gender-Based Violence).In my experience this is the most difficult conversion to engage in as South Sudanese because most of us have painful stories of violence. I am happy that NP trained us in leadership which is helping us to talk to different people with different experiences more easily. I believe South Sudan will one day be free of hate and violence if all of us come together. I want to tell all of the South Sudanese that independence of the mind is very important. Let us engage in honest dialogue with people around us and ourselves so that our country will have peace.” - Nancy, member of the Mundri Women Protection Team
Let us learn to interact without tribal limits"Working with the different communities has taught me something that I never knew was a big problem: the way we limit our interactions with people who are not from our community or our tribe, it’s the biggest problem we have as South Sudanese--the tribal interaction. My appeal to all South Sudanese world-wide is to let us learn to interact without tribal limits, to help us co-exist so that our country can have peace and be truly independent.” - Charity Edward, member of the Mundri Women Protection Team (WPT)
Let us learn to pour water on a burning house“I have learned that no conflict is small; the big conflict started as a small thing. I was fearful to talk to people when they are fighting, especially when couples are fighting,because I used to think it’s the issue between two people. We know that to have peace in our communities we must learn to resolve conflict without violence. This is the message I want to pass to my fellow South Sudanese everywhere: let us learn to pour water on a burning house or else all the houses around will catch fire.” - Anne Simon, member of the Mundri Women Protection TeamI pray we reflect on ourselves and families"From my experience working with the community I have realized it’s very important to forgive and reconcile with ourselves first, before we talk to others about stopping violence. We have also gone through what we are teaching the community about, like peaceful coexistence, or even talking about stopping violence when our families are at the centre of it. I thank NP for making me accountable to peace in my family and community. To all the South Sudanese, I pray we reflect on ourselves and families, on whether we are hindering or working for peace in our communities.” - GraceLadu, member of the Mundri Women Protection TeamLet us not hide away from the chance to build peace"If you want to know whether the home is happy or not look at the mother or women in that home. I think it’s the same with the nations-- look at the women of the nation to know if there is peace or not. As women of this country we are at the center of violence from family to Gender-Based Violence and all other forms of violence.Women of South Sudan, let us also be the center for peacebuilding so that we can be happy as mothers of the nation. Let us not hide away from any chance to build peace because of thesuffering weare going through. We want the suffering to stop. That is why I am happy to work with my community as a member of the Women Protection Team.” - Josephine Habiba, member of the Mundri Women Protection Team
***When you support NP, you support the capacity of women like Josephine, Anne and Charity to protect themselves and their communities. Together, we can support locally-led solutions and realize a worldwide culture of peace.