Nov 1, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — In South Sudan, where most women and girls still bear the brunt of doing household chores with little participation in leadership positions as men run almost everything, the case of Jebel Kheir where women are runing a huge IOM-funded water project becomes exemplary.
In Jebel Kheir, a village in the outskirts of Wau of Western Barh el Ghazal State, women are defying all the odds by taking charge of a water management committee.
The Committee is responsible for the management of three communal water points in Jebel Kheir.
Together with four men, these women share key roles such as the Chairperson and the Deputy, Treasurer and Caretaker.
Speaking on behalf of the Water Management Committee, the deputy Chairperson, Veronica Raphael Yor, a forty-six-year-old mother of five, acknowledged that it is the first time for such committee to be formed in the area.
“We were the first committee made up of mostly women in our area, and I know there was skepticism on whether we would rise to the occasion”, says the deputy Chairperson of the Water Management Committee, Veronica Raphael Yor, said.
Before she was elected to the committee, Veronica says she was very shy and could not bear the thought of speaking before a crowd.
“I would hunch down while talking, counting my fingers,” she recalls.
Exuding a touch of confidence in her voice, Veronica says that now, with the training she received from IOM, she can “stand in front of hundreds of people and speak without being afraid.”
Not long after assuming the leadership role, the Committee began offering improvements.
The committee used contributions collected from community members for the upkeeps to build a shelter to house the water points to safeguard them from misuse or vandalism.
“This is something that the previous Committee did not achieve,” says Veronica.
“What the women-led Water Management Committed has achieved encouraged other women in our community to realize that women have the ability to lead and make a difference.” She added.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has more women in leadership structures such as water management committees.
It encourages processes that take into consideration the concerns of women and marginalized individuals while also empowering their voices in their communities.
The IOM has constructed the water points the Management Committee oversees that benefit over 4,500 individuals living in the vicinity through provision of safe drinking water as a result.