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SOUTH SUDAN - 26 May 2023

Women's social and economic empowerment project launched in Juba

South Sudan’s Ministry of Gender and the World Bank on Wednesday launched a 70 million US dollars project to support female entrepreneurs in formalizing and scaling up their business activities and help survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) access vital services that will enable them to recover and rebuild their lives. 

Speaking during the launch of the project, the Minister for Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Aya Benjamin Warile, said women in South Sudan have been supporting their families and communities by engaging in entrepreneurial activities but their progress has often been constrained.

She said the women`s activities have mainly been affected by a range of prevailing social norms, institutional impediments, and insufficient access to education, training, business services and access to financing.

“Empowering women to participate fully in civic and economic life will make South Sudan more prosperous and peaceful. With improved financial security, other areas of women’s lives will also improve, as they can more easily afford health services, send their children to school, and are more likely to serve in leadership roles in their communities and become agents of change,” Benjamin said.

For his part, Ousmane  Dione, the World Bank Country Director for Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan, said the project focuses on women and youth to help reduce fragility, facilitate peace-building and promote inclusive development and it takes a holistic approach aiming to strengthen the public sector's capacity to engage more actively in the area of women’s empowerment to ensure long-term benefits for future generations of South Sudanese women and girls. 

“Survivors of gender-based violence require substantial support to recover from the physical and psychological trauma that they have endured. This project will help expand their access to vital health services and psychosocial support and will work on strengthening the prevention of GBV,” Dione said.

He noted that the project will also help women to grow their businesses and improve their livelihoods by providing grants, training, and technical assistance. 

The project will build on the World Bank's country program in South Sudan and will complement the women’s empowerment activities implemented by other development partners in the country, specifically those undertaken by the Women Economic Community Centres (WECCs) established by UN Women with donor funding and in coordination with the Ministry of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare.

The  South Sudan Women's Social and Economic Empowerment Project (SSWSEEP)comprises four components that aim at holistically addressing the specific challenges affecting the growth and development of women in South Sudan, including community-based socioeconomic empowerment of women, establishing a women’s entrepreneurial opportunity facility, providing services for survivors of GBV, and supporting institutional strengthening and project management. 

The SSWSEEP is a four-year project that will be implemented by South Sudan’s Ministry of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare with the support of UN Women. It will target 91,000 women and 5,200 adolescent girls while indirectly reaching 673,400 people. 

Reacting to the launch of the project, Nyanbol Nyok, a resident of Juba, welcomed the project but cautioned against corrupt practices in implementing the project.

“Our problem in South Sudan is corruption, we can come up with a good strategy and initiative like this, but reaching other stages, we spoil it because of corruption, so we need people who are going to implement this project to be transparent so that women of South Sudan benefit from this,” she stressed.