Women ‘donate themselves’ to help find peace in South Sudan campaigner tells UN meeting

How women are leading the way to peace and reconciliation.

[L-R] Harriet Baka Nathan & Joy Kwaje Eluzai
Photo Credit: ACNS

Originally Posted on: March 16, 2017 3:28 PM by Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS)

Related Categories on ACNS: apjn, iawn, Other News, South Sudan, Sudan, UN, UNCSW

Begin quoteKey Anglican campaigners for peace and justice in war-torn South Sudan have told a meeting at the United Nations in New York about the vital role women and the church have been playing in peace building and supporting the victims of conflict.

Harriet Baka Nathan, from the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Mothers’ Union, and Joy Kwaje Eluzai, a member of the country’s national assembly, were speaking to a packed meeting at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

“Women have become an example to the community,” Harriet told them. “The church has become a role model as we wait for a bigger peace – reconciliation. The women never waited, the Mothers’ Union never waited, the Church never waited. We are donors of ourselves – when the conflict comes, we call a meeting and we give whatever we have.”

Harriet described how the conflict had devastated the country, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. The absence of people to work the land had led to widespread hunger and now there was a famine. She told the meeting how on one occasion, she had been part of a convoy taking aid to displaced people who had fled into the bush.

“God gave me courage to escort 25 tons (of aid) into a camp which was in the bush. This was very dangerous – I could have been raped or killed. But I did not have that fear at all because I was dressed with a spirit of boldness.

“She described how extreme hunger had left many women in the camp bedridden. But once a distribution centre was set up, the atmosphere began to change.

“In a short time there was smoke (around the camp) – people began to make porridge on small fires. Hope came back and then life came back.”

Harriet gave the meeting snapshots of various projects where women were working to bring peace to South Sudan.  She said they had initially been left out of negotiations but were now monitoring the implementation of peace agreements and lobbying hard for the agreements to be honoured.

In one example, she explained the vital role women had played in the diocese of Bor, the scene of some of the fiercest fighting. She had realised that bringing peace – and food – among the women would be a uniting factor.

“Because once you unite the women… where are the husbands who will not follow their wives and their children?  So as the women (from different tribes) got united – their families began to benefit and slowly these fighting men, who were not coming together, slowly they came in too.

“So the project provided food and united these fighting tribes. Now Bor is a role model for the Church. It has really created hope and it has created peace.”

Harriet also described how thousands of women had benefited from projects in literacy, numeracy and income generation and how better education had given them confidence to participate more fully in society. She said they felt inspired and economically empowered.

She thanked Christians around the world for their ongoing support.

“We are not alone with the Anglican Communion behind us,” she said. “If we were all alone, I don’t think we could make it”.Joy Kwaje Eluzai urged the audience to do more.“We are looking for shoulders to help us,” she said. “How can we reach your governments to make sure that peace is reached in South Sudan? How do we get your support and your strength to tell your governments that we are tired of the war?”

Noting that the theme of UNCSW61 is the economic empowerment of women, she said this had been eroded by the conflict in South Sudan. But she said the country had the desire, energy and the capacity to achieve the goals that had been set out by the UNCSW on the opening day.“t is only with peace that we can put the economic empowerment of women into perspective,” she said. “Economic empowerment of women benefits society. If a woman is empowered, that family is empowered…  and her children will never go uneducated.”

The meeting had to be hastily rescheduled by the Anglican Communion team at the UN after a snowstorm hit New York. The UN building was one of many in the city which was forced to stay closed because of the bad weather. Transport was also badly hit. But despite the difficulties, around 60 delegates attended the briefing by Harriet and Joy.

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Source: Women ‘donate themselves’ to help find peace in South Sudan campaigner tells UN meeting

Anglican Women gather in New York to consider Communion’s advocacy efforts

Posted On : January 19, 2012 1:40 PM | Posted By : Anglican News Service
By Rachel Chardon, at the Anglican United Nations Office

Quote . . .Twenty Anglican women from countries1 including Australia, Bangladesh, Uganda and India are visiting the Anglican United Nations Office AUNO next month to engage with the UN’s 56th Commission on the Status of Women, which this year has ‘empowerment of rural women’ as its priority theme2.

Read the entire post: Anglican Communion News Service: Anglican Women gather in New York to consider Communions advocacy efforts.

I offer this as an invitation to continue in study, prayer, and action. During Advent and Christmas our Sunday Morning Forum offered several windows into the important work being done on behalf of women.

The article (I encourage you to read the whole post) mentions the need for clean water as a way to empower rural women. Again, our Opportunity Calendar can lead you to more information and your prayers will lead you to action.

Let’s keep learning, praying, and working to extend God’s reign and share God’s Peace, God’s Shalom. ~dan

Seventh Day of Christmas: EWC and AWE and girls’ rights

Episcopal Women’s Caucus (EWC) and
Anglican Women’s Empowerment (AWE)

For centuries Mary, the Mother of God, has been remembered, celebrated, and adored. In art and music, prayers and meditations, Mary has become the model of faith. Within the glow of Christmas let us pause and recall that Mary’s journey began as an unwed, pregnant, teenager. Her story could easily have ended in destitution, estrangement, abuse, violence, and desperation. Her child, if born at all, would likely have died in infancy; Mary herself may have died in childbirth. Not the Christmas picture we want to contemplate.

Our scripture tells us, and we have come to trust its testimony, that Mary was delivered from this grim future by God’s grace, mediated by God’s angels, including Joseph and Elizabeth. How many young girls today, some of them pregnant and unwed, could use an angel (like you perhaps) to initiate a different, a better, future?

Within the Episcopal Church members (both male and female) of EWC and AWE find inspiration and direction for their work in the story of Mary, in the teaching and ministry of her son, Jesus, and in the grace of the Holy Spirit within community. Today, God’s angels look a lot like you and me.   ~dan rondeau

Quote . . .The Episcopal Women’s Caucus (EWC) is a justice organization dedicated to Gospel values of equality and liberation and committed to the incarnation of God’s unconditional love. (EWC Mission Statement)

Anglican Women’s Empowerment (AWE) is a membership movement of Episcopal/Anglican women and girls with a broad diversity of backgrounds, interests and skills.We work for gender equity and social justice around the world. (AWE Mission Statement)

About EWC | Home Page

About AWE | History

The Twelve Days of Christmas Calendar in one place
About the Twelve Days of Christmas Calendar

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For further reflection

Working Group on Girls Empowering the Women of Tomorrow!

by Beth Adamson

AWE has consistently held a seat at the Working Group on Girls. Board member Beth Adamson, is co-convener of WGG.

Put yourself in the shoes of Linea, a young girl whose mother has HIV/ AIDS, a disease she contracted from your father before it took his life. Because you are the oldest daughter, you are the person expected to care for your two older brothers (when they show up) and your three younger siblings. National laws have given no property rights to women, so you live day to day in fear that your father’s family will take your house and your goat, the only source of income. You have never been to school because even when your parents were well, you took the long walk to the river to procure fresh water and wash clothes for the family. You are not even registered in a national registry.

These are the issues that face girls across the globe, and the purview of the Working Group on Girls, a coalition of over 80 NGO’s who are deeply interested in the fate of the girl child. Like AWE, which has a seat at the table, these NGO’s are aware that the empowered girls of today are the empowered women of tomorrow – but it takes vigilance to bring this empowerment to life.

Thus, WGG is committed to assuring that policies are in place via the legislative bodies and working entities of the United Nations. We follow each session of the General Assembly as well as several commissions from the Status of Women to Social Development to A World Fit for Children. Whenever possible, we provide Parallel Events sponsored by 2 or more of our member organizations and develop Fact Sheets on girl-specific topics such as: the Right to Health, Protection from Trafficking, or the Right to Education. WGG sponsors a strong Advocacy Committee that makes a point to visit Missions of member states of the Commission on the Status of Women, providing specific talking points on the Priority & Review Themes of the CSW.

Beyond that, the WGG is privileged to have 80+ NGO’s that are “on the ground” in many countries around the globe, giving an opportunity to support governments and civil society in enacting the UN policies on site. A Missionary in Malawi might use guidelines on Education for Girls to support her cause on creating a private restroom for girls, thus allowing a better chance that they can attend schools. Or an international representative in Brazil can use Fact Sheets from the WGG web-site to advocate on behalf of young women and girls who are the victims of human trafficking.

But the Working Group on Girls also makes every effort to work alongside girls by providing opportunities for girls (age 14 and above) to be involved as delegates in events at the UN that pertain to them. Girl Advocates are involved in our general meetings and as well as Mission Visits. We rely on our coalition of NGO’s to bring girls to Commissions

For instance, AWE’s own Caroline Christie, granddaughter of Marge, was a Girl Delegate in 2007 and 2011, has been on various mission visits, and was the presenter of the Girls Statement to CSW 55 in March, 2011. She continues to serve as an active WGG Girl Advocate.Please view our website www.girlsrights.org and look at our quarterly Newsletter “Action for Girls”!

Source: AWE Journal Nov 2011

MORE? Read the story of Lungowe Mufungulwa a young girl from Zambia who was a girl delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women meeting in 2011

Acronyms and links for more information

AWE – Anglican Women’s Empowerment

CSW – United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

EWC – Episcopal Women’s Caucus

NGO – Non Governmental Organization. NGO Global Network: “This site is the home page for our global NGO community (Non-governmental organizations associated with the United Nations). Its aim is to help promote collaborations between NGOs throughout the world, so that together we can more effectively partner with the United Nations and each other to create a more peaceful, just, equitable and sustainable world for this and future generations.”

WGGWorking Group on Girls an NGO Committee working at the United Nations