South Sudan

UNMISS campaign to end violence against women and girls met with optimism in Juba

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MOSES PASI

Juba residents are currently being treated to important messages on the need to end violence against women. The public service announcements, recorded in several languages, are being aired by a promo truck cruising the streets of the capital.

To mark the ongoing 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender-based violence, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan has embarked on an eight-day-long awareness-raising tour throughout the capital Juba.

“My aim of working here is to save enough money for my daughter, Mary Gune, to complete her education,” says single mother Joy Kakule, as the UNMISS truck playing prerecorded message stopped at Gabbat market near Juba International Airport. “I am struggling to meet her needs, to avoid her being lured into early marriage.”

Under the theme “Keep the Promise: Invest, Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence” and covering large parts of Juba, the awareness-raising truck carries and plays a variety of wholesome and important messages on topics such as COVID-19 prevention, HIV, disability, how to reduce and respond to incidents of child marriages, human rights in general and the need to stop all violence against women and girls in particular.

To make sure that these words of wisdom are well received, they are aired not only in English but also in Arabic, Dinka, Nuer, Bari and other local languages.

“We are playing these public service announcements from our promo truck to cast a wider net and thus reach communities and individuals of all ages and genders, raising awareness on the importance to unite to end violence against women and girls,” said Shantal Persaud, a Public Information Officer serving with the peacekeeping mission.

Juan Annet, a vegetable vendor at the Konyo-Konyo market, was blessed with a full 20 minutes of quality information on repeat, as the truck stopped right outside her fine establishment. She could easily relate to the boisterous smorgasbord of messages on offer.

“Since I started supporting my husband to meet our monthly family expenditures, the misunderstandings we used to have at home have disappeared,” she shouted in a successful bid to make herself heard over the informative racket.

At Juba Teaching Hospital, the near-omnipresent truck came across Mohamad Saiad. He has volunteered to make sure that every person entering the healthcare facility washes their hands and puts on a face mask before entering the premises.

“My work here is a message to everyone that we, people suffering from any kind of disability, also deserve job opportunities. We are just as useful to society as anybody else,” Mr. Saiad said.