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We the women of South Sudan - willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible, for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing. – Karak Mayik, Women for Women International Country Director for South Sudan.

Hearing Karak speak at the Gala in London in May 2011, on the eve of South Sudan’s independence, it was impossible not to feel moved by her sense of excitement and opportunity. Through 40 years of “swimming in a river of blood”, the women of South Sudan had displayed unbelievable reserves of energy, resilience and bravery. Now they were determined to play an active role in building a peaceful and prosperous future for their new nation, which they knew would not be an easy task. I made a commitment there and then to support these women. Witnessing so many of you make that same commitment by pledging over £200,000 to Women for Women International’s programme in South Sudan was incredibly inspiring and uplifting. This was not only an amazing amount raised, which enabled over 4,000 women to enrol in the programme last year, it was also a powerful demonstration of solidarity with the women of South Sudan and of hope for their fledgling country which has already been through so much adversity.


On 9th July 2011, South Sudan officially became an independent state. After years of exploitation and neglect from central government, the people of South Sudan hoped that if they gained control over their own resources, then they would finally have accessible roads, electricity, clean water to drink, medical clinics and schools for their children– basic services that are desperately lacking in this region. An overwhelming 98.5% of southerners voted for independence in the January 2011 referendum, and celebrated the end of their ‘Long Walk to Freedom’.

Yet, South Sudan still has a long way to go before its people’s dreams of peace, stability and development are realised. Despite taking control of 75% of Sudan’s rich oil reserves, and having some of the region’s most fertile farmland, it is one of the poorest and least developed nations on earth. Decades of conflict have destroyed the country’s infrastructure, eroded its economy, and caused unimaginable suffering and trauma.

By giving women the tools to stand on their own feet in all areas of life – by enabling them to sustain an income, protect their health and their rights, and contribute fully to society, Women for Women International’s holistic programme is laying the foundations for a better future for South Sudan. On behalf of all the women who graduated from the programme this past year because of the funds you pledged at the Gala 2011, thank you so much for your support.

Today, chronic food shortages combined with rising violence and insecurity are making life a daily struggle. Violence and instability have been on the rise since last July, particularly in the contested border states of Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Over 105,000 people have fled to South Sudan, where refugee camps are overwhelmed. In addition to aerial bombardment from northern troops, civilians inside South Sudan are being caught up in militia violence as rebels fight government troops and wrestle for power. Meanwhile, tribal and ethnic feuds have intensified, fuelled by increasing pressure on resources and the proliferation of small arms. Ongoing fighting and population displacement, combined with poor weather and harvest failures, mean that the number of food-insecure people in South Sudan has soared from 3.3 million in 2011 to 4.7 million in 2012.

Deborah David Chair, Board of Trustees, Women for Women International UK

As South Sudan takes its first steps as a nation, it finds itself at the tail end of economic development and facing innumerable challenges. Yet at the same time the opportunities for creating real and lasting change are unprecedented. For the first time, the people of South Sudan are able to determine their own future, and the post-war reconstruction process gives them a unique opportunity to do so.




Today in South Sudan: • Only 27% of girls attend primary school and 84% of women over 15 are illiterate. • 1 in 7 pregnant women dies in childbirth. • 1 in 10 children dies before their first birthday. • 90% live on less than 65p a day. • Nearly 40% of the population need food aid to survive. Among Women for Women International-South Sudan Participants: • 98% have had no formal education. • 71% have lost a family member due to conflict or war. • 99% have no electricity or running water in their homes.



This time of change is particularly important for the women of South Sudan, who have been marginalised and excluded for so long. Since 1993, Women for Women International has learned that immediately after conflict there is a window of opportunity for change. This is why Women for Women International invests in women through our one year programme of rights awareness and vocational skills training. Through this programme we enable women to rebuild their lives and be a part in re-building of their communities and ultimately their nations. This is no different in South Sudan, where independence is an important symbol of peace, equality and the opportunity for men and women alike to determine their own destiny. In the words of Women for Women International’s Country Director for South Sudan, Karak Mayik, “Without women, we would never have achieved peace, or independence. Without the voice of women, there would be no South Sudan.” Women have been a tremendous force for peace and active architects of the new republic. 52% of the voters during the referendum were women, and many women returned to the South after years of displacement to take part in the historic vote. 60% of the families that returned to South Sudan to vote in the referendum were led by a single woman. Moving forward, the Constitution states that 25% of the seats in the legislature must be held by women, and as of December 2011, 26.5% of the South Sudanese Parliamentary seats are held by women. “Security, development and education are the top priorities for women of South Sudan now,” says Karak Mayik. “And for us to achieve a democratic South Sudan, this requires women’s active participation in all community and national matters.”



Women for Women International in South Sudan offers our core programme of direct aid, rights awareness and life skills, emotional support and job training. The programme curriculum promotes lasting social and economic change for women and their communities, through achieving 4 main outcomes:

• Women earn an income • Women are well • Women have social networks and safety nets • Women are decision-makers

In 2011, a total of 4,649 women successfully completed Women for Women International’s programme in South Sudan.




-ARYS STORY “Life was desperate before I decided to join Women for Women International” says Mary Yar Makoi. A mother of five, she ran a small tea-making business and struggled to make ends meet.

Vocational skills training gives women the tools to sustain an income, which is the key to being independent and self-sufficient. On average, women who go through our programme earn over three times as much after graduation compared to when they first join.

“The most valuable skills I learnt were the various ways you can save money, and how to compete effectively on the market. My creativity has increased since going through the programme. I was lacking a lot of managerial skills which I have gained through the business training.

Women develop their skills through projects such as: • Commercial Integrated Farming Initiative (CIFI) The CIFI agribusiness project addresses South Sudan’s chronic hunger and poverty, by teaching women to earn an income with farming for commercial production. In 2011, women participants received training in co-operative development and governance as well as learning to cultivate crops including kale, tomatoes and aubergines for sale at local markets. 97% of CIFI graduates have reported an increase in income, with an average monthly income of £19.80.

Now I have expanded my business, I sell local bread and have a tea-shop in Rumbek, where I have employed another woman to help me.” WOMEN PARTICIPANTS IN THE COMMERCIAL INTEGRATED FARMING INITIATIVE (CIFI)

The popularity of Mary's shop with customers has attracted other small businesses to set up nearby, selling different commodities. “I am very comfortable with my business now, and am able to send my three boys to school without the help of my husband. I have bought 4 goats of my own and now we never run out of food for the family. With all these achievements, my husband is now fully convinced about the Women for Women International programme and he is very happy for me. It is a privilege to extend my sincere gratitude to Women for Women for the opportunities they brought to my life.”

• Bread-making One of our vocational skills tracks in 2011 was bread-making. Socially excluded women learnt baking skills, along with food hygiene for commercial production, enabling them to produce baked goods for sale on the local market.

• Small Business Management Business training gives women the skills they need to operate and sustain a healthy enterprise. This includes classes on small business and the market economy, entrepreneurship, planning, selling, bookkeeping and business financing. The concept of saving is reinforced as an essential tool in alleviating poverty and achieving economic self-sufficiency.



Mary urges Women for Women International to keep extending their services to the women of South Sudan, and also made an appeal to her fellow countrywomen: “Now is the time for us to hunt for skills, to better our lives and be ready for change.”







The goal of the health and wellness training is to educate women on basic health issues, while giving them the foundation for good personal health practices for themselves and their families. Classes cover a variety of topics including nutrition, personal hygiene, safe water supply, disease prevention, and sexual and reproductive health.




“My name is Monica Aluel Anan. I was married for 8 years and have 4 children. After one year of marriage, my husband started mistreating me. He frequently hit me and even broke my arm. I still have trouble lifting things because of the injury. Finally I realised that the violence was beyond my control, so I decided to divorce him and bring up my children on my own. I enrolled in the Women for Women International programme in February 2011.

Social networks are often the most valuable assets to the women we work with in South Sudan. Each training class serves as a support group, where women come together to share ideas and resources, solve problems, build businesses, and give each other an emotional lifeline.

The knowledge that I gained from the health and wellness classes has had a positive impact on my family's life. I learnt about the importance of hygiene, and now I make sure to keep my home and workplace clean, and I bathe my children every day. My health has improved and I am providing a safer environment for my children.

“Thanks goes to Women for Women international for the opportunities they have brought to our lives. I myself have learnt many things. PHOTO: JENN WARREN

I used some of the sponsorship money to buy a mattress, bed and cooking utensils for my home. I also invested some of it to start a small commercial brewing business. The business skills taught me how to plan and budget for my business, so I can generate a steady income.


I want to thank my sponsor, trainer and the whole Women for Women International programme for opening my eyes. I no longer feel dominated by traditional norms. I have big plans for the future - I hope to earn enough money to build a better house, and give my children a better life.”

The classes taught us how to generate income effectively by working together. With the help of my co-operative group members, I am now able to produce more than 150 SSP (£34) each day from my restaurant business -- in this village where before we were unable to produce a pound! In my business group we have also learnt the concept of saving money. Now that we are earning more collectively, we are each able to put some money aside for the future – when we need it for food, medical treatment or tuition for the family.” – Rebecca Akech Rapina, Women for Women programme participant, Barpakeny, 2011



"A police band led the way as we marched, sang and danced our way to the Kubur William Bridge. The bridge divides two Dinka tribes, Agar and Gaak, who continue to feud."

2012 ‘Join me on the Bridge’ campaign - Raising the voices of women in South Sudan Women for Women International’s one year programme takes a rights-based approach to development and teaches women their legal rights and how to fight against basic rights violations. This module focuses on supporting women to become active decision-makers in their homes and communities. Through our experience we have learnt that it is crucial to raise women’s awareness about their contributions to society and their political and social rights. Women’s experiences need to be included and consulted if South Sudan is to build a stable new nation and the 'Join me on the Bridge' campaign was just one element highlighting their desire for lasting change. Now in its third year, the 2012 'Join me on the Bridge' campaign hosted 215 events in 59 countries to highlight International Women’s Day on the 8th March and the needs of women across the world. As part of the campaign all 8 of Women for Women International’s country offices used the day to celebrate their achievements and to focus on raising awareness at a local and national level about the issues that are directly affecting women in countries affected by conflict.

"We selected Kubur William Bridge because it is between two tribes who don't get along. We women can help bring them together."

"It [the campaign] is important because men are involved. They can realise the rights of women. It brings together all organisations working in Lakes State. The women sit together in front of them and show their strength."

In South Sudan 1,500 men, women and children joined the campaign. For women in South Sudan, who rarely see the issues that they face on a daily basis raised in the community, this was an opportunity to be heard. During the decision-making module women participants identified two themes that they felt were most important to their lives and in relation to their rights. "Marriage can wait; girls’ education first!" and "Women are peace makers, involve them” were chosen to highlight the importance they place on raising their children equally and giving their daughters the chance to gain an education and build a future. We also heard how important it was for women’s voices to be included in the peace-building process.

"The women get to express themselves in song and dance, to give their messages to everyone.” PHOTOS: BRIAN SOKOL



#REATE LASTING CHANGE We surveyed all the women who participated in our South Sudan programme in 2011- once at enrolment, and again after graduation. The results show a dramatic impact across a range of key indicators used to measure women’s holistic welfare. Indicator



Average daily income



Saving a portion of income



Knowledge of nutrition



Knowledge of stress managment



Knowledge of rights



Voted in local or national elections



Participate in community activities



Participate in a social network





Our deepest thanks go to all our supporters who donated to South Sudan at our 2011 Gala, including: Maria Andrews, Jan and Sandra Ankarcrona, Vanessa Arelle, Molly Ashford, Celia Atkin, Ruth Barinstein, Akmaral Batalova, Carolyn Benaroya, Roger and Sally Bilboul, Gael and Francesco Boglione, Sharon Bowen, Clare Bradwell, Barbara Broccoli, Marc Brown, Emma Bucknall, Caroline Burstein, Simon Burstein, Georgia Byng and Marc Quinn, Caroline Campbell, Beatriz Carrillo, Frances Chambers, Deborah and Manish Chande, Karen and Greg Conway, Ricki and Bob Conway, Katrina and Keith Craig, Hugh Crossley, Maryam D’Abo, Tess Daly, Jeannine Daniel, Deborah David, Amanda Delew, Sylviane and Frank Destribats, Lisa and Ian Edwards, Helen Esmonde, Charles Farmer, Anne Fass, Sophie and Patrick Fauchier, Brita Fernandez Schmidt, Rohini Finch, Stephanie and Mauro Gabriele, Ulrik Garde Due, Fiona Garland, Catherine Giraud, Sir Jeremy and Lady Anne Greenstock, Kirsten and Mark Grenside, Gagan Grewal, Amanda Haddon-Cave, Sir John and Lady Penelope Holmes, Maureen and Ferdinand Hooft Graaftland, Patrick Hopkirk, Kerry Hugh Jones, Gill Hurst, Frances Hutchinson, Michael Jacobson, Heather Jones, Kenny King, Craig Leavitt, Annie Lennox, Dominique and Dominque Lesourd, Celine and John Lowrey, Angela Lucas, Elizabeth Macfarlane, Fatima and Eskander Maleki, Sofia and Claude Marion, Becky Mayer, Debra and Andrew McQuin, Pradeep and Beena Menon, Lulette Monbiot, Keith Morgan, Melissa Murdoch, Diane Ofner, Jacqueline O’Leary, Emma Osbaldeston, Katya Osipova, Jocasta Pana, Peter Rice and Sani Muliaumaseali'I, Olivia and Luigi Rizzo, Andrea Roberts, Frederic Rochat, Amy and Troy Rohrbaugh, Emmanuel and Barrie Roman, Anne Rosen, Charles Roxburgh, Jill and Paul Ruddock, Ruth Runberg, Jennifer Ryan, Diana Saghi, Frédéric and Chrystel Saillard, Rob Schulze, Alison Sola, James Stevens, Laura and Andrew Sukawaty, Nadja Swarovski, Tina and Ian Taylor, Mark and Beth Thompson, Sophie Turner Laing, Jolana and Petri Vainio, Natalia Vodianova, Mark Wadhwa, Barbara Whipp, Belinda White, Fiona Williams, Hopewell Wood, Chris Wronski, Natalia Yakunina, Lucy Yeomans, Nat and Sara Zilkha. 

Women for Women International 32 – 36 Loman Street, London SE1 0EH T: +44 (0)20 7922 7765 F: +44 (0)20 7922 7706 E: UK Registered charity number: 1115109 Company registration number: 05650155

We operate in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Sudan.

South Sudan Update April 2012  

Update on Women for Women International's work in South Sudan