The World Bank has granted 70 million dollars to South Sudan to boost women’s social and economic empowerment (SSWSEEP).
World Bank Country Manager for South Sudan, Firas Raad, said the grant was aimed at supporting female entrepreneurs in formalising and scaling up their business activities and helping survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) access vital services that would enable them to recover and rebuild their lives.
Raad said the project focused on women and youth to help reduce fragility, facilitate peace building, and promote inclusive development.
He said the project took a holistic approach aimed at strengthening the public sector’s capacity to engage more actively in the area of women’s empowerment to ensure long-term benefits for future generations of South Sudanese women and girls.
“Survivors of gender-based violence require substantial support to recover from the physical and psychological trauma that they have endured.
“This project will help expand their access to vital health services and psychosocial support, and will work on strengthening the prevention of GBV,” Raad told journalists in Juba, South Sudan’s capital.
The SSWSEEP comprises four components, aimed at holistically addressing the specific challenges affecting the growth and development of women in South Sudan.
These include community-based socio-economic empowerment of women, establishing a women’s entrepreneurial opportunity facility, providing services for survivors of GBV and supporting institutional strengthening and project management.
Minister for Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Aya Benjamin Warile, said women had supported their families and communities for generations by engaging in entrepreneurial activities.
She, however, said their progress had often been constrained by a mixture of prevailing social norms, institutional impediments, and insufficient access to education, training, business services, and financing.
“Empowering women to participate fully in civic and economic life will make South Sudan more prosperous and peaceful,” she said.
Warile added that with improved financial security, other areas of women’s lives would also improve, as they could more easily afford health services, send their children to school, and were more likely to serve in leadership roles in their communities and become agents of change,” Benjamin said.