GENDER JUSTICE South Sudan Council of Churches’ National Women’s Program

“I do advocacy on issues to do with gender-based violence and inclusion of women and youth in peace and governance, and also advocacy on climate change which has become a big issue as thousands of South Sudanese are affected by floods with no access to food and safe drinking water. This has been challenging as these areas are inaccessible and they lie within the scope of our work on conflict resolution. This is because there is no sufficient early warning system and also because mobility has become a challenge.”

Juan Rachael Roberto, Advocacy Coordinator, South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC), South Sudan.

South Sudan Council of Churches logoJuan Rachel Michael Roberto is the Advocacy Coordinator for SSCC. The SSCC is a  partner in KAIROS’ Women, Peace and Security program active in the emerging work on climate, conflict and gender.

Juan Rachael works to analyze peace processes, in particular, the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), while informing policies and decision-making of the church and the government on peacebuilding and climate change. She is engaged in contextualizing and implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in South Sudan  and continues to advocate for the inclusion of women and youth in peacebuilding, governance, and climate change.

South Sudan is the world’s youngest country and one of its most fragile. The cycle of war stretches back to the 1950s, with briefs periods of peace. The most promising cease fire lasted from 2005 to 2013. In 2011, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan amid great hope for peace. However, peace was short-lived and the country plunged into violence again in 2013, resulting in nearly four hundred thousand people killed during the five years of war, and nearly four million people internally displaced or fleeing the country.

Women and girls are particularly vulnerable as they face both gender-based violence and a lack of opportunity to advocate for their rights. KAIROS’ partner, the South Sudan Council of Churches’ National Women’s Program (SSCC-NWP), is deeply respected across the country and well positioned to build bridges between the warring sides. As an ecumenical body of Catholic and Protestant churches, it works to diffuse violence and lay the groundwork for lasting peace, and at the same time, empower women and girls and address gender injustice.  The SSCC-NWP works with men and boys to help them understand the importance of gender justice and equity for their society and the need to help make it a reality.  It runs programs that discourage early marriage and promote education for girls, highlighting the benefits to families and wider communities.

SSCC – WomenLink members

KAIROS has been working with SSCC since its foundation in 2013. Before that KAIROS and the ecumenical coalitions that preceded it had partnered with the Sudan Council of Churches since the early 1970’s.