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First Ever Gender Based Violence Training Program in South Sudan

IsraAID Delegation of Israeli Experts Set to Fly to Juba
By: Daniel Horowitz
Published: February 28th, 2012 in News » World
IsraAID in South Sudan
On Thursday March 2, an IsraAID delegation of Israeli experts will fly to Juba, South Sudan, with the support of a private family foundation and the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and in cooperation with FIRST and the Israel-based NGO Operation Blessing Israel, to conduct the first ever Gender Based Violence (GBV) training program for social workers in the newest African nation.

During the workshop, 30 South Sudanese social workers - who will be spread around the Central Equatoria state (Juba region) - will receive intensive training on the delivery of social work, gender-based violence (GBV) and post-trauma assistance by three highly-skilled and experienced Israeli therapists.

The South Sudanese social workers who will participate in the program work with the most vulnerable communities in Juba - especially women and girls who are victims (or at risk) of sexual abuse and other forms of gender-based violence. IsraAID's team will train the entire staff of the leading local NGO Confident Children out of Conflict, as well as the newly-hired social workers of the Ministry of Social Development of Central Equatoria State. The objective of the program is to enable the local social workers to develop a solid understanding of GBV and acquire the skills they need to address the numerous cases of sexual abuse and GBV in Juba.

The organization Confident Children out of Conflict (CCC) provides a safe house for abused or at-risk girls who come from the absolute slums of Juba. The program enables the girls to receive three meals a day and have access to counseling. The Center provides protection from sexual predators and allows the girls to attend school. Over the past five years, the CCC has gained tremendous respect and influence within the Juba community. The training workshop will enable the CCC staff to acquire the skills necessary to help more than 400 kids - especially girls - at risk.

The local civil society as well as state-level institutions in Central Equatoria State identified GBV as one of the most important challenges facing the region of Juba. Violence against women in Southern Sudan has been exacerbated by decades of war and cultural practices that undermine women's rights, such as polygamy, wife beating, payment of high bride price, forced and early marriages, abduction of girls and the culture of silence and stigma related to sexual violence.

Local stakeholders however deplore the lack of awareness, knowledge and capacity on GBV in South Sudan. They recognize the urgent need for sensitization and training of communities on women's rights, women empowerment and GBV to reduce levels of violence against women and girls and improve their security and protection. The Director of the NGO Confident Children out of Conflict admitted that the organization's staff, while dealing with rape cases every day, does not have the skills and knowledge to efficiently help and guide the girls.

"There exists a significant gap between, on the one hand, the needs caused by the high number of women and girls' abuses in Juba and, on the other hand, the lack of personnel - both at the governmental and NGO levels - who possess the psycho-social skills to address GBV cases and provide the victims with the necessary support" says Shachar Zahavi, Executive Director of IsraAID. Hence, he continues: "there is a clear need for capacity-building and guidance on GBV, post-trauma assistance and psycho-social services for social workers and community leaders."

Ultimately, IsraAID's capacity-building programs in South Sudan seek to engage Israeli expertise and know-how to support the local population in its efforts to acquire and master the tools and skills necessary for them to build strong foundations for their new nation.

On July 9, 2011 South Sudan declared its independence, thus becoming Africa's 54th nation. Israel immediately recognized the new State and opened diplomatic relationships with Juba. Throughout the past decades, Israel significantly contributed to the new nation's independence and built a relationship of trust and cooperation with Southern Sudan. This long-standing relationship offers unique and promising opportunities for partnerships between both nations.

In the aftermath of South Sudan's independence in August 2011, IsraAID, in partnership with FIRST and the Israel-based NGO Operation Blessing Israel sent a relief team to distribute vital relief items to assist South Sudanese communities in the outskirts of Juba who were fleeing the ongoing tensions and violence in the Northern provinces of the new state.

More than six months after the independence, the challenges facing South Sudan remain colossal. While ongoing tensions with the Sudan in the Northern provinces of the new state and internal violence threaten its stability, the country has to build its institutions, and address the pressing development needs of its population. South Sudan remains one of the most underdeveloped countries of the world.

"IsraAID recognizes the dramatic opportunity for the organization - as well as for Israel as a whole - to contribute to nation-building and development in South Sudan through the transfer of Israeli expertise" says Zahavi. "Israel benefits from unique 'know-how' and technologies in a wide range of areas, and is therefore capable of organizing rich and impact-oriented training programs in response to the local needs, while respecting and promoting local ownership."
Related articles: IsraAID, Israel, Juba, South Sudan, UJA, FIRST, NGO Operation Blessig Israel, GBV, Gender Based Violence, Conflict,
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Leap year only comes around once every four years. Make the most of it.

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Gift Supports Jewish Agency’s Youth Futures Program

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IsraAID Delegation of Israeli Experts Set to Fly to Juba

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