To end famine and secure peace in South Sudan, women are vital

May 15, 2017

Nisaa Network – More than 3.5 million people have been displaced and 7.5 million need emergency aid as a result of South Sudan’s three-year-old civil conflict, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Oil revenues have declined, farming and business activities have halted in many areas, and inflation has soared.

The number of people classified as “severely food insecure” is expected to reach 5.5 million by July 2017, and more than 1 million children are acutely malnourished. The world’s youngest country is now on the brink of mass starvation.

Driving the conflict are deep-rooted communal mistrust, proliferation of small arms, disregard for rule of law, dearth of institutions to resolve disputes, and widespread economic deprivation. According to Elisabeth Ngor, regional director for the South Sudan Mother and Child Care Organization in the north-western region of Aweil, the most vulnerable people of all are women and children. But South Sudanese women are still supporting families and producing what little food is available – and they are already playing a key role in building peace, Ngor and other community members confirm.