With the recent increase in water levels not only from the Nile River but also due to the heavy down pours, program operations for Smile Again Africa Development Organization has been brought to standstill as avenues to ensure activity continuity are being instantaneously coordinated.
The Women and Girls Friendly Space (WGFS) is one of the SAADO`s ONE-STOP CENTER after Malakal is located in
Northing-08:229.33 and Easting-031:08661 positioned at an Altitude 4516m above sea level, which to this nature of geographically low laying area is susceptible to hazards and catastrophes being brought by not only Floods but Water Hyacinth as well.
This Friendly spaces for women and girls are crucial part of the strategy of protection and empowerment of women and girls in South Sudan. In South Sudan discriminatory social norms and power inequalities between men and women affect all aspects of social, economic and political life. Moreover, communities have experienced decades of conflict and displacement and women and girls lack opportunities to move freely and safely, partly because areas of South Sudan are still threatened by insecurity and partly because public spaces culturally and traditionally belong to men. There are few opportunities for women and girls to gather together and support one another.
Whilst South Sudan has a history of women’s associations, which have provided opportunities for women to meet and share the issues affecting them, many such associations have collapsed due to conflict and displacement. Opportunities to generate income have reduced as the economic situation has become more difficult in South Sudan coupling with the current economic crisis, which has further increased the vulnerability of women and girls. Some women whose husbands have been killed or who are away from home have had to take up new roles as breadwinners, without the necessary skills to take them on. Many women and girls have experienced physical and/or sexual assault during the conflict, as well as the loss of loved ones, property and homes, resulting in high levels of distress.
WGFS was thus established not only in Malakal but also in Mogok and Ayod is to provide women and girls with a safe place to gather in order to access services and information and much needed psychosocial and peer support. Safe gathering points offer them an opportunity to engage with each other, exchange information, and rebuild community networks and empower women and girls to be able to identify solutions and strategies to address concerns and to act and advocate for themselves.
SAADO with support from UNFPA established this spaces with tactical objectives of creating and empowering an inclusive environment where women and girls attending feel safe, supported, connected, empowered and better informed about their rights and opportunities as well as reducing emotional distress, through psychosocial support, recreational activities and peer support and finally to develop and strengthen women’s and girls’ social networks, build relationships and create opportunities for experience sharing.
As of today over 10,000 dignity kids have been distributed to promote the dignity of the Women and Girls in these areas of Mogok and Jiech. Thanks to UNFPA South Sudan for the support