July 11, 2021 — The South Sudanese Women Intellectuals Forum (SSWI) has on Thursday 8th awarded over 20 Women in various categories of the South Sudanese Women Awards for Peace (SSWAP) which has been initiated to recognize the achievements of South Sudanese women that have impact on Community and ensure progress of women while promoting peace.
The Award Ceremony held at Freedom Hall in Juba and broadcast online live brought together several representatives from the government of South Sudan, members of the diplomatic corps, national and international non-governmental organizations, and the public.
The 20 (twenty) final winners of the SSWAP are: Hon. Betty Achan Ogwaro (Excellence in Leadership Award); Hon. Rebecca Joshua Okwaci (Lifetime of Service Award); Hon. Phillister Baya Lawiri (Civil Service Award); Norah Edward Zangabeyo ( Activism Award); Ms. Pita Juba “Mama Zahrah” (Business and Entrepreneurship Award); Grace Bismark ( Excellence in Healthcare Award); Ms. Sarah Akuot Dut (Youth Award); Ms. lbasi Patricia Tobs (Journalism Award); Ms. Jackline Nasiwa (Human Rights Award); Ms. Christine Joseph Ngbaazande (Gender Award); Ms. Lina Sara Matthew (Science, Technology and Research Award); Nyamach Hoth Mai (Environmental Award); Prof. Julia A. Duany (Higher Education Award); Ms. Nagomoro Bridget (General Education Award); Ms. Modi Enosa Mbaraza (Humanitarian Service Award); Ms. Abul Oyai (Innovation and Creative Arts Award ); Ms. Micklina Peter Kenyi (Diaspora Contribution Award); Ms. Amy Ropani Lasu (Sports for Peace Award in South Sudan); Ms. Sarah Chan (Sports for Peace Award in the Diaspora). Hon Aya Benjamin Warille was awarded Overall Peace Award.
The SSWI also awarded certificates to several women and Medals to “Unsung Heros” in the States.
Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior in her speech read by the Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare Aya Benjamin Warille applauded the recipients of the SSWAP for their resilience, hard work and commitment to nation-building and peace building.
South Sudan Women Intellectuals Forum presenting awards to nominees in the capital, Juba(Photo credit: courtesy image)
“As men waged war against our aspirations, the women of South Sudan continue to stand as the pillars that keep South Sudan standing. If we are a strong nation today, it is because women choose to take the path of peace and dialogue. Some of you contributed directly and indirectly to the peace processes inside South Sudan and in the region mediation while others kept our economy strong by selling in the market, saving lives as doctors and nurses, teachers, farmers, to mention but a few,” Nyandeng said.
Addressing the ceremony, the Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs Angelina Teny urged women to raise their boys the same way they raise their girls so that the next generation of women “may not have to struggle so hard fighting” for gender equality.
She expressed her joy for the women who have been acknowledged for their sacrifices and challenged the women of South Sudan to think of what is next for them beyond acknowledgement and the 35 (Thirty-Five) percent affirmative action for women in South Sudan, pointing out that “the African Union talk of 50-50 for us to achieve equal opportunity.” “I also want us to think and deal with it beyond our borders, in this global environment, the world has become one, what do we have to do… (to be able) to give to humanity?” Teny asked.
For her part, the Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare Aya Benjamin Warille congratulated and appreciated SSWI for making the Awards a reality.
Warille added that the government of South Sudan “is convinced that development cannot be equitable without the full participation of women, men, girls and boys.”
Speaking on behalf SSWI, Dr Anne Pita Lomole said the Forum has more than 5,000 (Five Thousand) members, 15,000 (Fifteen Thousand) online subscribers and reached up to above 100, 000 (One Hundred Thousand) South Sudanese women across the globe.
The Forum, she said, was initiated to provide a platform for South Sudanese women to gain and share knowledge, provide mentor-ship and have access to information and connections that will enable the Women of South Sudan to participate in the reconstruction of South Sudan.
“Since its inception, the South Sudanese Women Intellectuals Forum has conducted Weekly debates and special sessions that have talked about 80 topics on issues including peace, governance, education, sexual and gender-based violence, development and many more,” stated Pita.
The SSWAP, Pita said, is intended to recognize “women who have achieved great things in leadership, women who have influenced decisions, who have influenced policies and legislation, who have improved service delivery and fostered economic boost and have promoted sustainable peace,” adding that, “we hope that these awards will motivate South Sudanese women increase their performance, productivity and morale, and to promote accountable governance and inspire our youth to excellence.”
Representing the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative to South Sudan and UNMISS, Unaisi Vuniwaqa, the Police Commissioner for UNMISS, congratulated the South Sudanese Women Intellectuals Forum for organizing the event to acknowledge women “who have achieved excellence in their various fields and who collectively promote the progress of women and durable peace.”
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Awate, a representative of UN Women, applauded the South Sudanese Women Intellectuals Forum and challenged them to “keep being at forefront of discussions for the building of South Sudan.” Awate said they recognize the SSWAP “as a critical step in acknowledging the efforts of South Sudanese women who have often been at the forefront of peace efforts but have often gone unrecognized for their contributions.” She added: “We hope that this will not be a one-time event…” but an initiative that “will create a culture of recognizing and celebrating the ambassadors of change in our society.”
Some members of the South Sudanese Women Intellectuals Forum participated in the Ceremony online via video conferencing from different locations in the diaspora.
Angeth A. De Dut, who spoke on behalf of the SSWI in the Diaspora, commended SSWI Forum for organizing the Awards Ceremony to appreciate various contributions of women.
Paying tribute to Commander Ager Gum, politician Mary Nora, Victoria Yar Alor Kacuol, and other women who participated in the struggle, De Dut emphasized that women had been involved actively throughout the liberation struggle for South Sudan’s Independence.
“They were never bystanders or onlookers but participated fully in all stages of the liberation struggle. Some took up arms while others fought the war through other means,” De Dut asserted. “Our collective solidarity and collective struggle irrespective of ethnicity or gender helped us attain our Independence. We were all in it together.”
Roger Alfred Yoron Modi, is a South Sudanese journalist, Producer and Host of The Weekly Review: Making Sense of Relevant Topics and News, at Sawa Sawa Network; Author of the book FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION & Media Laws in South Sudan ( also available on Amazon); former Editor-in-Chief of Radio Bakhita and former Managing Editor of Juba Monitor Newspaper. He can be reached through email at email@example.com.