In Ibba, an UNMISS peace campaign encourages women’s participation in peacebuilding

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An UNMISS peace campaign in Ibba, Western Equatoria, brought together community members, activists and officials in support of durable peace. Photo by Denis Louro/UNMISS.

WESTERN EQUATORIA – Laughter, dances, and music resonated in Western Equatoria’s Ibba county, as comedians, traditional and modern dancers took the stage during a peace campaign hosted by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the State Ministry of Peacebuilding.

The event offered a platform for officials and community members, especially youth and women, to disseminate messages of sustainable peace as well as raise concerns.

“The government must recognize the suffering women had to endure during past civil wars,” opined Agness Michael, a women’s representative.

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“Being a mother myself, I believe that safety is vital for peace to take root. Sexual and gender-based violence needs to be eliminated and women entrepreneurs, encouraged, as they are breadwinners for their families,” she added passionately.

The state’s Acting Minister of Peacebuilding Isaac Mursal, who is also the Minister of Information and Communication, thanked the UN Peacekeeping mission for its ongoing efforts to help South Sudanese build a better tomorrow and called on partners to support the government in enhancing security across the state.

“We are stronger when we take collective actions and with our partners, we can galvanize momentum among concerned parties to fully implement the 2018 peace deal in our state, including the 35 per cent affirmative action for women,” stated Minister Mursal.

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For his part, UNMISS Protection, Transition and Reintegration Officer, Anthony Moudie, reiterated the mission’s commitment to help the world’s youngest nation to achieve a peaceful, prosperous future.

“As your partner for peace, UNMISS pledges to continue its best efforts to help the Government of South Sudan in achieving an enduring stability and ushering in development,” he stated.

Colourful performances by different traditional groups, stand-up comedy, a quiz session followed by an UNMISS mandate presentation were the attaractions of the day.

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The high note: A friendly football match that evening between elderly women and men at Ibba playground, where everyone was a joyful winner, irrespective of which team lifted the trophy.