DAVID MAJUR AWUOU
Women from all Greater Bor communities converge in the Jonglei Women’s Association center to officially launch and celebrate the 16 days of activism.
16 days of activism is an annual campaign which enlightens and raises awareness among the population on gender based violence. The United Nations and other international agencies working in Jonglei state are supporting the launch and commemorations in Bor.
Women are very happy to commemorate the 16 days of activism and to have peace dialogue among them in order to live a better life without war”. Says Rachel Akuach chairlady of Jonglei women association
Women strongly reject gender based violence, early marriages and forced marriages among school girls as the very contentious issue confronts the communities of greater Bor and greater Jonglei states in general.
“Both male and female must value each other in order to stop gender based violence and end to forced or early marriages in the society”. Says Yar Ayuen a girl student of Bor College High School.
Educated women in the state government of Jonglei are making all efforts and working to stop gender based violence as well discouraging forced and early marriages among school girls and boys.
“We strongly reject forced and early marriage among girls because it clauses gender based violence is an abuse of human rights”, says Fatma Musa Ajak, Director of Gender Equity and social change at the State Ministry of Education.
Strong cultural norms and customs amongst the Dinka tribe here have always denied equal opportunities and equal rights for women and girls to participate in public affairs and decision making.
However, with the increased access to education and modern civilization, such practices might change in the long run.
High payment of dowries through forced marriage is commonly practiced within many Nilotic groups in the country which strongly contributes to sexual and gender based violence within families.
The women in Jonglei state use the 16 days of activism as an opportunity to conduct mass campaigns on gender inequalities, gender based violence in order to gain respect and recognition by men.
The 16 days of activism was jointly launched and supported by the UNMISS Gender Unit, Human rights Division, and other UN agencies including international and local NGOs in Jonglei state.