three-day women engagement strategy workshop on peace and leadership organized by Peace Building Opportunities Fund (POF) kicked off in Hill View Hotel in Rumbek on Wednesday.
Speaking during the opening, the secretary-general of the defunct Western Lakes State, Martin Maciec Kuc, appreciated the role played by POF in organizing the workshop.
“I am always very happy with the peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts conducted by POF organization across cattle camps and villages in Lakes State.” Maciec Kuc said.
He said POF remains the only organization that finds the root causes and implements concrete solutions to the communal conflicts among the communities of Lakes State.
“We have made a follow-up of monitoring and evaluation toward POF activities as the government but we found that POF is doing more activities on peacebuilding than other organizations in the community and this is very important,” Maciec Kuc said. “Some other areas like Rumbek North County are not being reached by other peacebuilding partner organizations but POF has reached there to bring peace and reconciliation in the community.”
Maciec Kuc said POF has reached the level of forming peacebuilding committees at the grassroots in the community to create early warning systems and prevent conflicts caused by cattle raiding, “There is a stage now where the peacebuilding committees are able to apprehend suspects and those who want to cause communal conflicts in the community.”
He urged women participants in the women engagement strategy workshop to continue demanding their rights and affirmative action of 35% from the state governor.
“Such social gatherings always bring people together. If women are given the position of finance as they demand affirmative action of 35% from the governor, it will be very fair because women are honest people in the community,” Martin Maciec said.
Peacebuilding opportunities fund (POF) area adviser in Lakes State, Teresa Akon Tong, appealed to Lakes State governor, Makur Kulang Liei, to implement the 35% affirmative action for women by appointing a woman as the minister of finance.
“We are appealing to secretary-general here to pass on our message to the governor to appoint a woman as the minister of finance.” Akon Tong pleaded.
Akon Tong advised women to unite and work together as a team to demand affirmative action from Lakes State governor as per the peace agreement signed in September 2018.
Narjes Anthony Bol, a female participant in the workshop said she wants peace and stability in Lakes State, “the insecurity caused by inter-communal conflicts in Lakes State has mostly affected women in rural areas.”
She said young women and girls are victims of rape and killings in the State due to inter-communal violence and appealed to the national government to carry out comprehensive disarmament of the civil population so that people in the community able to cultivate. Narjes Anthony Bol advised community leaders such as chiefs to sensitize parents to stop early and forced marriages in Lakes State.
Julla Alajabo, the Director-General of the ministry of social development and child welfare told the participants that the unity of women brings peaceful coexistence and reconciliation.
The women engagement strategy workshop has over 40 women participants drawn from various women organizations in Lakes State.