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Exploring the impact of women's organizations in peace building in Africa : a case study of women's organizations in South Sudan.

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At the center of the crisis within Africa’s war-affected countries and regions, are similar causes of war such as the desire to acquire power and secure resources for one group of elites or one ethno-national group at the expense of others. These are few examples; Côte d’Ivoire was virtually split in half with government and armed resistance movements on opposite sides, in Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army continues to abduct children and transform them into soldiers; in Sudan, ethnic militia violently confronted each other for about two decades, over resource allocations and other reasons as mentioned above. Regrettably, women and children suffer the most severe consequences of conflicts. In lieu of this, African women decided to take up the challenges by organizing groups that will not only focus on women empowerment at the grassroots but also on how to get women involved in decision making policies especially when it involves peace building. Literature is replete in the area of women’s organizations and peace building in Africa but as regards women’s organizations in peace building in South Sudan there is a paucity of studies and the few studies executed in this regard, were carried out among foreign based women’s organizations outside South Sudan because of the risks involved. But as far as women’s organizations in peace building in South Sudan are concerned, this study is the only work so far carried out among the local women’s organization and women at the grass roots within the four corners of Juba in South Sudan. With the Lederach Moral Imagination and Molyneux organizing theories, this study interrogates the strategies employed by women organizations in South Sudan in building peace. Based on the findings of the study, women’s organizations were able to strategize depending on each organization’s programs on how to help women by involving men and youths in the society. That is, looking at the society and the effect of patriarchy, and also knowing the power these men have on their women to hold them back from participating in trainings, women’s organizations were able to come up with a way out. With this way out they were directly or indirectly involving the society in the peace building role. This study also finds out that women were more involved in peace building at the grass roots than at the decision making level, which incapacitates the ‘bottom-up’ approach used by these women’s organizations in South Sudan. In the findings of this work it was realized that women’s organizations are working hard to get women involved in peace processes of their country but there are some constraints in the way of their success, some of which include high level of illiteracy among South Sudanese women, lack of infrastructure, and exclusion of women in decision making bodies, patriarchy, lack of funds and so on. These constraints hinder the success of women’s organizations in peace building in South Sudan. This study concludes that for women’s organizations to build peace successfully using the ‘bottom up’ approach in South Sudan, they must be effectively represented in decision making, peace processes and there must also be a kind of ‘top down’ effort corroborating their efforts.


Ph. D. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg 2015.


Peace-building--South Sudan., Women--South Sudan., Theses--Political science.