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Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment in South Sudan

By Mia Zickerman-White

This International Women’s Day, CTG delivered a Female First Workshop to 38 young women in Juba. By teaching them key job-readiness skills, CTG hopes to assist them in laying foundations for strong future careers and to promote greater women’s economic empowerment across the country.

CTG aims to host more workshops throughout the rest of the year, and if you think your organisation may wish to contribute, collaborate, or take on any of our participants as interns, please get in touch with CTG’s Shared Value Manager, Mia at mia@ctg.org.

Female First Workshop for International Women’s Day

In celebration of 5 years’ since the launch of CTG’s gender-equality initiative Female First, we were delighted to be able to host a workshop in Juba, South Sudan, providing crucial job-readiness training to a cohort of young women. Originally, CTG planned to host only 20 women, but we received overwhelming interest in the event and were pleased to be able to accommodate almost double that number over the two days of the event.

This workshop hosted on the 7th and 8th March was guided by the Committed to Good Curriculum, a series of 7 educational modules expertly designed by key CTG stakeholders. Using an array of different activities, this curriculum was designed to be interactive, offering an engaging and fun experience for all those who take part. This curriculum is underpinned by the objective of equipping the women participants with the knowledge and skills they need to launch long and successful careers. 

Each module covers a range of important job-readiness skills including:

  • Overcoming challenges
  • Recognising your strengths and weaknesses
  • How to write a CV & Cover Letter
  • How to approach an interview
  • Utilising your network
women's economic empowerment

The workshop participants pledged to take action towards the Sustainable Development Goals in support of their country.

Inspiring Futures

While CTG was delivering the content, we were inspired by the young women who attended. Despite the challenges they have grown up amongst, their spirits were high and ambitions even more so.

‘There are women who are talented, but they feel shy and cannot show up due to lack of confidence. We want to gain that confidence in us so we can be in the position where we can impact other people around us.’ Koninee, Female First Workshop Participant

Workshop Participants, March 2022

From aspiring micro-biologists to climate activists, this cohort recognised their role in making their country a more gender-equal and safe place for future generations and we look forward to seeing what they achieve.

‘I pledge to carry out awareness in the community about the equality of men and women, regardless of their gender, towards work, responsibility and education.’ Mercy, Workshop Participant

90% of those who attended responded to our feedback survey stating that the workshop was excellent, with the other 10% stating it was a good experience. To show the curiosity and determination of these young women, it is also important to highlight that other feedback included the request for longer workshops of up to 5 days, and more frequent workshops.

 

Why do initiatives promoting women’s economic empowerment matter in South Sudan?

Women in South Sudan are impacted by gender inequality from the day they are born. This becomes especially apparent as soon as they begin school, with literacy rates for girls being only 40%, compared to boys who stand at 60%. This gap continues to grow as girls get older, with only 5 girls attending secondary school for every 10 boys

Gender Based Violence has also been cited by UNICEF as one of the most critical threats to the protection and wellbeing of women and children in the country. 1 in every 2 women is said to have suffered from intimate partner violence, with the majority of girls and women experiencing some form of .

‘I want to be inspirational to my community, I want to be a changemaker and impact others’ lives as a woman.’ Winnie, Female First Workshop Participant

Interview Practice

Two participants reading questions during interview practice.

As in many conflict situations across the world, women and girls are disproportionately affected, and these consequences are also felt once active conflict has ended. However, despite women being severely impacted by conflict, they are not proportionately represented in the aid and development sectors, especially in the delivery of programming. This can result in the prevention of successful programme delivery because male staff have a different experience of conflict than women, which results in their failure to recognise the needs and understand the priorities of female beneficiaries. Beyond this, women’s representation also continues to decline in leadership positions throughout the aid and development sectors and beyond.

Laying foundations for success

Last year in 2021, South Sudan marked its first ever decade as an independent country, following the end of over 40 years of civil war with Sudan in 2011. Despite this, South Sudan continues to be burdened by relative instability, violence and conflict, especially in regions outside the capital city, Juba. As with other countries on the African continent, South Sudan is grappling with many of the world’s global challenges but almost on an exacerbated scale. Inequalities and discrimination make up only one small component of the difficulties they endure on a day-to-day basis. While active conflict has come to an end, the nation is very much still finding its feet. That is why it is ever more important to do what we can now to help equip these young populations with the skills, knowledge and tools they need to lay foundations for making their country a safer and more thriving place.

 

empowering women juba south sudan

CTG Deputy Account Manager, Koliba gave the participants an inspiring speech on how to address challenges and stay motivated.

Female First & Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment

CTG launched its Female First initiative back on International Women’s Day in 2017 in order to help increase women’s representation in the aid and development sectors, and to more generally promote gender-equality in conflict-affected countries. This gender parity recruitment programme was underpinned by the decisive pledge to improve women’s access to decent work opportunities in the aid and development sectors, with the decisive goal that by 2030, 30% of our consultants would be represented by women.

Underpinning this commitment is CTG’s understanding of the transformative power of women’s economic empowerment – something that has also recently been recognised by Pramilla Patten and UN Action Against Sexual Violence In Conflict. Since, CTG’s Female First programme has grown to incorporate a number of different programmes such as our Job-Readiness Workshops and Women in Aid Internship Programme to provide a continuation of skills development and learning to those who are able to access our programmes.