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Finding Safety and Strength in the Duweng Women Group

Date: December 22, 2023
In Upper Nile, South Sudan, where conflict has ravaged the lives of many, a group of women came together to form the Duweng Women Action Group. Duweng—which means “beauty, peaceful and compassion"—has emerged as a ‎glimmer of hope. Comprising ‎local women who have bravely risen above adversity, this group has created a space for its members to build networks to enhance their safety, as well as raise their voices to fight against the injustices they face daily.

‎Rediscovering Their Voices

For many women in the group, their leadership journey began with the creation of the ‎Duweng Women Group. Previously silenced by societal norms and oppressed by conflict, ‎this group has provided them with a platform to speak up and express their thoughts, ‎feelings, and aspirations. Through the group's discussions and activities, they have come ‎to realize the importance of their voices in effecting positive change and finding inner ‎strength.‎

Tabo, a spirited member, shares, "Before joining the Duweng Women Group, I felt ‎invisible, like nobody cared about what I had to say. Now, being part of this group, my ‎voice matters, and I feel empowered to contribute to our community's well-being."‎

‎Breaking Through Stigma and Gender Barriers

The Duweng Group aims to ‎challenge deeply embedded patriarchal beliefs and gender inequalities prevalent in their community. The ‎women have united to promote gender equity and debunk societal stigmas that limit their ‎opportunities. Through skill-building workshops, vocational training, and ‎income-generating activities, they are breaking through the chains that often confine them to ‎traditional gender roles.‎

Maria, a determined member, explains, "Many people here believe that women's roles are ‎solely within the household. But being part of this group has given us a chance to ‎demonstrate our capabilities beyond what society expects from us. We are proving that we ‎can excel in fields typically associated with men, like community leadership."‎

Finding Safety in One Another

Members find solace and support in the bond they have ‎cultivated among themselves. While their communities still faces the constant threat of ‎conflict, these women stand united as a source of strength for one another. The group ‎serves as a safe space for them to share their fears, experiences, and emotions—providing ‎a support system that has become crucial for their mental and emotional well-being, as well as a place to turn in times of physical danger.

Nadia, a resilient member, attests, "Every time I attend our group meetings, I feel a great ‎sense of relief. It's as if a heavy burden has been lifted off my shoulders. Knowing that ‎these women are here for me, ready to listen and help, has given me the courage to face ‎the challenges in my life."‎

‎Challenging the Status Quo

The Duweng Women Group members advocate for gender equality, not only ‎within their community but also at higher levels. By actively engaging with local ‎leaders, NGOs, and other stakeholders, they are working to address the safety and equality issues faced by women in their ‎communities and throughout the Upper Nile region of South Sudan. Through public awareness campaigns and lobbying ‎efforts, they challenge the status quo and demand a future where women have ‎the same rights and opportunities as men.‎

Sarah, a passionate member, states, "We are no longer willing to accept the limitations ‎imposed on us by society. We want our daughters and granddaughters to ‎grow up in a region and country that recognizes their potential, where their dreams are not ‎diminished. Through our activism, we aim to create lasting change for future generations."‎

The Duweng Women Group is providing a platform for resilience and empowerment for ‎women in the conflict-affected areas of Upper Nile. By providing a sense of belonging, a ‎platform for their voices to be heard, actions for safety and peacebuilding, this group is ‎transforming the lives of its members.‎

‎Through their collective efforts, these courageous women are striving to create a future ‎where gender equality prevails, challenging the norms and ensuring a brighter tomorrow ‎for themselves and their community.‎ The resilience of these women reminds us that even in the most difficult of times, the ‎power of unity and solidarity can bring hope and transformation.‎

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These activities are a part of our project with Solidarités International (SI) to support community resilience and nonviolent conflict management in conflict and flood-affected areas of Upper Nile and Jonglei States, South Sudan, which is funded by the European Union and supporters like you.

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