Vice President James Wani Igga Calls for Women’s Participation in Building Peace During a Peace Marathon in South Sudan
With support from the government of Germany, Japan and Sweden, UN Women in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Grand Debaters Association, the UN Country Team and the private sector, MTN, organized a Grand Peace Marathon under the theme “Running for Women’s Participation in Peacebuilding.”
The event, whose aim is to promote peace and advocate for active women’s participation in peacebuilding, brought together 4,410 participants from diverse political affiliations, gender and ethnic backgrounds to compete in 5km and 10km races.
Speaking during the awards ceremony, H.E. James Wani Igga, the Vice President of Republic of South Sudan, commended UN Women and partners for supporting sports as a vehicle for promoting peace and social cohesion. Sports overcomes mistrust, reduces tension and unites conflicting parties to rally around common purpose, Vice President Igga noted. He also said, “Peace is a concern for all of us and giving women the space for active participation will be meaningful in rebuilding peace in South Sudan.”
On her part, the Country Representative of UN Women, Ms. Funmi Balogun, indicated that women’s leadership and participation in peacebuilding is one of UN Women’s core mandate. She said, the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security highlights clearly the need for the UN, governments and development partners to support women’s leadership and their active participation in building peace and security, and helping their countries to recover from conflict.
“We have heard too many stories of women being the most affected by conflict, and while this is true, our intent here is to change that narrative of South Sudanese women as victims but as active participants in the affairs of their country,” Ms. Balogun added.
Hon. Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Dr. Nadia Arop Dudi, in her a brief remarks indicated that sports is a powerful tool for promoting peace, and urged UN Women and partners to extend similar interventions in the counties to create awareness of the tremendous role women can play in building peace in South Sudan.
The Founder and CEO of Grand Debaters Association, Philip Malaak Chol, noted that women’s leadership and active participation in peacebuilding, including in the upcoming national dialogue is not only a smart idea but also the right thing to do to accelerate and sustain peace in South Sudan.
Susana Luka from Wau, who won the 5km race said “I am proud to lead the 5 km race. I hope more competitions would be organized in other parts of the country to give women and girls the opportunity to participate and identify their talents both in sports and peacebuilding.”