South Sudan launches new women’s social and economic empowerment project


Group photo at the launch of the SSWSEEP project
Dignitaries pose for a group photo at the launch of the SSWSEEP project in Juba, South Sudan. (Photo: UN Women/Sarah Nyibak Chaat)

Women in 10 states and 2 administrative areas in South Sudan will have their livelihoods enhanced following the launch of the World Bank funded South Sudan Women Social Economic Empowerment Project (SSWSEEP) that will be implemented by UN Women. The Project aims to empower 261, 000 women including adolescent girls and youth.

Negative social norms and practices have historically hindered the progress of women and young girls in South Sudan, and they are currently undergoing challenges due to climate change and inadequate opportunities for empowerment. The 4years SSWSEEP project will give women and girls access to livelihood through the construction of five Women Economic Empowerment Centers that will be a space for livelihood and life skills training, including literacy, support to value chain development and second chance education. Speaking at the launch event in Juba, the UN Women Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Dr Maxime Houinato said, “In South Sudan, women own 63% of the SMEs and only 5% have access to credit and loans which remains a key barrier to the growth and development of women- led enterprises”. The project builds on and aims at scaling up the gains already made by South Sudan women with the support of UN Women and its partners. The flagship nature of this project and its design will complement UN Women’s efforts to support South Sudan in tackling vulnerabilities experienced by women and girls across the country.

The SSWSEEP project will offer small grants to 200 women, and extensive training to 1,000 women entrepreneurs to help boost their contribution to economic growth and livelihood. The project also aims at supporting survivors of Gender Based Violence through the construction of a safe house that will shelter up to 2,100 GBV survivors, offer livelihood training and link the survivors to various economic empowerment activities within the 10 states. Abuk Makuach, the chair of Chamber of women entrepreneurs expressed her excitement on the sidelines of the launch event saying, “Now there is hope for the women of South Sudan, it’s the first time ever to have centers dedicated to women where women will gain skills for livelihood”.

About 400 to 450 Social Workers will be trained under the project to strengthen their capacity to provide services within the community and to deliver on the mandate of promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. Her excellency Mama Rebecca de Mabior, Vice President Gender and Youth cluster speaking during the launch said, “We will work together, and continue to work together. Even if am not in this position I will continue to monitor the work of women and girls and the youth in general, thank you very much world Bank for making this day wonderful for the women of south Sudan, I want to see tangible things from this project, since the formation of the government of South Sudan the ministry of gender has not had any office and yet women are 58% of the population, Thanks to this project women will have their own office”.