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New gender minister rolls out 100 days action Plan

By Bullen Bala Alexander

The new Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare has rolled out a 100 days plan, a month after taking over the office.

Days after taking over, the civil society urged the new cabinet to develop a 100 days’ work plan to show the public what their various ministries were planning to do.

Ayaa Benjamin Warille said her first assignment in the office was to make sure that the action plan for the ministry were realized within 100 days.

In the plan, Ayaa said she would make sure that all the Ministry’s policies were reviewed in accordance with its policy within the 100 days.

“Reviewing and updating the Ministry’s strategic plan, establishing new and fostering existing partnerships, conducting gender analysis in all institutions, and reviewing the national action plan (NAP) on implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution UNSCR 1325, as well as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5),” she said.

She mentioned that the mandate of the Ministry of Gender Child and Social Welfare was tackling and addressing issues relating to Men, women, children and people with disabilities.

“I would work tirelessly with my team to formulate policy, programmes, strategies and plans to that effect. Most importantly, and as enshrined in the R-ACRSS, I would incorporate the reform agenda in all the policies, programmes, strategies and plans of the Ministry.”

She said it was her strong conviction that no matter how competent or skillful she might be, working together was more important to achieve the objectives and goals of the ministry.

“I will work with teams in the ministry, and I will establish and nurture partnership with all the United Nations (UN) agencies, International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), National Non-Governmental Organizations (NNGOs), Embassies and civil society organizations, among others, through close cooperation and collaborations,” she explained.

She added that she would also build strong linkages and working relationship with the Ministry of Gender in the 10 states and the three administrative areas.

She further pointed out that since the conflict erupted in 2013, conflict related sexual violence has been rampant and widespread, targeting women and girls mostly.

Ayaa said women and girls living in the Protection of Civilians site (PoC) faced threat of rape, when leaving the PoC sites to conduct daily activities.

“I therefore in collaboration with UN women, International Rescue Committee (IRC) and other stakeholders would put considerable effort, to minimize incidents of sexual violence and gender based violence.”

She said it could be minimised through sensitization and awareness raising and more importantly treatment and counseling of the victims and survivors of sexual and Gender Based Violence.

The minister said although the transitional constitution provides for gender equality and equal rights for women, there were still deep cultural prejudices that resulted in deep discrimination against women.

“High illiteracy rates impeded women’s ability to understand and defend their rights, as well as communities often followed customary laws and traditional practices that discriminated against women,”

However, she said women experience discrimination in employment, education, housing, inheritance and ownership and management of businesses or land.

Despite the fact that, women have the rights to own property and land under the transitional constitution, community leaders often sought to prevent women from exercising these rights, because they contradict customary practices.

“I therefore will work tirelessly and lobby in order to correct those discriminative malpractices that hinder women emancipation.”

She highlighted that during the past 6 years of the conflict, a considerable number of children were recruited within the ranks and files of the warring parties.

However, following signing of R-ARCSS, “I will work very closely with the Disarmament Demobilization (DDR) commission and UNICEF to ensure that, child soldiers were demobilized, reintegrated and offered quality education in fulfillment of sustainable development goal.”

To date, there are numerous cases of discrimination against people with physical, sensory, intellectual and mental disabilities, in employment, education and provision of other government services.

However, so far, there are very few trained teachers to address needs of children with disabilities and very few schools are able to provide favorable learning environment for children with disabilities.

She said it would be her responsibility to advocate and lobby for opening of more schools and training of adequate teachers for children with disabilities.

In all honesty and sincerity, women played significant role in bring about the prevailing peace in the country, she said.

The terms of R-ARCSS stipulate that 35% female participation should be at all levels of the government.

 “Having said this, women have not got their rightful share in terms of national ministerial portfolios allotted to them, as their representation amounts regrettably to less than 35 percent.”

“Therefore I urge and exhort the presidency to compensate for the fault, at the lower tiers of the government.”

Much as women thus far, made gains in the legislature and the executive, yet they are marginalized, in the judiciary, and among the traditional leaders, so I hope the presidency would address this concern as well.

In addition some communities and families subject persons with disabilities to discrimination. The transitional constitution and 2012 education act stipulates primary education be provided to children with disabilities without discrimination.

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