Washington DC – IRI today announced that the recipient of the Rich Williamson Women of Peace Initiative in South Sudan and Sudan grant is the South Sudan Democratic Engagement, Monitoring and Observation Programme (SSuDEMOP), a nonpartisan consortium formed in 2009 that mobilizes and empowers “citizens of South Sudan to meaningfully contribute and participate in the democratization and transitional processes which serve as the basis and foundation for the nation.”
The announcement of SSuDEMOP receiving the Williamson Initiative grant was made as the world celebrates the anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, a landmark resolution that recognizes the important role women play in prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, and in post-conflict reconstruction.
“To strengthen peacebuilding efforts and bring an end to the conflict in South Sudan, the input of women must be expanded, and SSuDEMOP has an important role to play in engaging local women in the transition and peacebuilding process,” said Gretchen Birkle, director of IRI’s Africa programs. “Increasing dialogue among women and other stakeholders in the peace process will ensure that women can contribute to securing peace in their country.”
With the $25,000 award, SSuDEMOP will connect South Sudanese women in the areas most affected by the recent conflict to ongoing national, regional and international peace efforts. In conflict and post-conflict countries, women can play an instrumental role in encouraging peace and reconciliation processes. The women of Sudan and South Sudan have historically been recognized as agents of change with the ability to cross tribal, ethnic and religious lines, while promoting peace and inclusion. SSuDEMOP will draw on these strengths to organize focus group discussion and individual interviews with women from Awerial, Bor, Juba, Maridi, Mundri and Nimule.
The Williamson Initiative was created in 2014 in honor of the late Ambassador Richard S. Williamson, former U.S. special envoy to Sudan and a long-time member of IRI’s Board of Directors, serving as its vice-chairman from 2011-2013. It builds on IRI’s work around the world to strengthen the role women play in peace and security processes. Through its Women’s Democracy Network, IRI helps women gain a greater voice in peacebuilding initiatives, negotiations and reconciliation processes.
IRI has worked in South Sudan since 2004, focusing first on the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and later on political party development and legislative strengthening. Currently, IRI supports the Political Parties Resource Center, a neutral forum for political party discussion on issues of national importance.