Sustainable Independent Media Activity marks International Women’s Day in South Sudan

To mark International Women’s Day, Sustainable Independent Media Activity hosted a commemorative event in Juba, South Sudan, under the theme “Invest in Women and Accelerate Progress: Utilizing media-tech to amplify inclusion of women and to foster cross-border synergies”. 

The event which brought together media practitioners, human rights activists as well as civil society organisations, was led by Sonke Gender Justice in partnership with Female Journalists Network, Association for Media Women in South Sudan, IREX South Sudan, and the USAID. 

The gathering saw a panel discussion in which women rights and media organizations in South Sudan discussed how media-technology can be supported and used to amplify women’s civic participation in South Sudan and to strengthen cross-border partnerships between South Sudanese women-led media organizations and their counterparts in other countries. 

Each of the participating organisations presented on various topics. Jackline Nasiwa from the Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace, and Justice presented on the Implications of Gender Inequalities on Women’s Participation in National Decision-making Processes, while MenEngage Africa South Sudan Secretariat’s Stephen Oryema focused on working with Men and boys to amplify women’s voices and equal participation in National issues.

In her reflections South Sudan Democratic Engagement Monitoring and Observation Programme’s Merekaje Lorna Nanija said women in South Sudan have made strides in the political space and urged media to amplify such stories‘’ women in this country have made significant progress in joining high positions such as sovereign ministries, the media should be used to promote such stories about women’s participation, but also create awareness about opportunities that exists for women and create a space in programming to highlight women’s political achievement and showcase their political prowess’’. 

The gathering was also an opportunity to reflect on SIMA’s work in South Sudan, highlighting the impacts that had been achieved in the previous year on promoting gender equality and social inclusion for women journalists in the country. 

Sustainable Independent Media Activity is a USAID funded project, aimed at improving access to credible, accurate, and reliable information for South Sudanese citizens by promoting the sustainability of high-quality, independent radio operations. This is a program by Civil Society and Media – Strengthened Together and Advancing in New Directions (CSM-STAND) program, implemented by a consortium of global partners co-led by Pact and IREX. 

USAID South Sudan’s Director of Office of Democracy and Governance Dareen Manning, spoke about the United States government’s long-standing support for independent media in South Sudan and the importance of media in the country’s gender equality and women empowerment agenda. 

‘’Independent media is essential to protect human rights, drive democratic progress and to promote government accountability and transparency. Media has power to influence gender equality and women’s empowerment in South Sudan as well as the ability to drive attention to human rights abuse issues taking place in the country. As such, USAID is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights in South Sudan’’ he concludes.