On 17 October 2023, the FES-AU and FES Juba offices jointly organized the launch of the South Sudan Case study on “Breaking Barriers: Empowering Women in Peace Mediation” in October 2023, Juba.
FES-AU Cooperation Office conducts a series of case studies in sub-Saharan Africa exploring strategies to promote the inclusion of women in peace and mediation processes, taking stock of challenges faced and lessons learned from women's groups, and national, sub-regional, and regional organizations. Despite the disproportionate impact of violent conflict on women and girls and their vulnerability to physical and psychological violence, women are still grossly underrepresented in peace processes, particularly in Africa. Even when included, meaningful participation is often wanting. The case studies aim to contribute to policy discussions and actions around inclusive and meaningful participation of women in peace endeavors taking note that women's participation in peace processes increases the chances of reaching agreements and that broad-based inclusion significantly contributes to public support and sustainable peace agreements.
As part of this initiative, FES AU collaborated with the Life and Peace Institute (LPI) which undertook research in South Sudan on experiences from women's involvement in peace mediation for South Sudan. The case study has examined the role of women in the peace mediation processes of South Sudan, focusing on the challenges to their inclusive and meaningful participation. It also investigates strategies women employ to overcome barriers and evaluates the implementation of the peace agreements. It has put forward also some recommendations to reduce gender inequalities within South Sudan's Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda.
The launch event brought together women activists and groups from CSOs, academia, key governmental institutions, inter-governmental organs, and other stakeholders who have played a role in South Sudan's peace process and are interested in the WPS agenda. The discussion helped to unpack the barriers South Sudanese women encounter and the progress of women’s participation in peace processes and implementation of agreements. Participants also exchanged on the role of national, regional, and international actors in the delivery of inclusive approaches. The discussions also reconsidered women’s activism and strategies for women’s inclusion in political institutions and processes and generated recommendations for the enhancement of women’s meaningful participation in peace and mediation processes to achieve gender inclusivity and sustainable outcomes for lasting peace.