This week I am in Sudan with Isis-WICCE documenting women’s experiences in the referendum and looking at their needs and challenges ahead of the July 9 independence day. Forty women’s leaders from different states are meeting in Juba to take part in this meeting on the need to strengthen local Sudanese women to demand for their rights and fully participate in nation building.

Here are some of the quotes from the women. I leave as anonymous.

“We need to document our contributions, reflections and the whole (referendum) process otherwise we shall be forgotten.”

“We fought for this country; men might tell us our place belongs to the kitchen just like it happened to women of Eritrea. We must fight for our place right from the start.” —member of Central Equatoria State Legislative Assembly.

Madelena Ladu Gumat from Central Equatorio

“I come from Eastern Equatoria where the first bullet of liberation was fired in Torit near the border with Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda fifty years ago. The struggle started in my home and people in my state ensured that we vote 100 percent for separation because we have been suffering for the last 50 years. Women were mobilized and most them voted. But we have to start to figure out where our place will be once a new country comes.”

Martha Angwar from the Upper Nile State

 

“Women constitute 65 percent of the population in Sudan. If women were not to turn up, South Sudan wouldn’t have achieved independence so in a new setting we have the numbers and the experience. We will not be left behind.”

Former Uganda Minister for Ethics Miria Matembe talking to South Sudan women leaders on positioning women in post conflict Sudan.