This meeting was part of a series of events for women leaders from around the world organized by the Initiative for Inclusive Security and hosted by the Project. The panel included six women from across Sudan to discuss their work in promoting good governance in Sudan. Participants included representatives from NGOs, academics, and human rights practitioners. Sarah Martin from Refugees International moderated the discussion.
During the meeting, the women talked about their work in Sudan towards promoting good governance and improving the lives of Sudanese women by bringing them into society. The two major focus areas for their work were: 1) democracy and governance and 2) the effectiveness of government.
As women have been kept out of political life in Sudan, the new peace processes have become an opportunity for women to enter into the both the peace process and the political process. For this reason, there is great need for training and capacity building which would teach these women how to negotiate, state their demands and secure their rights. Progress has been made since the adoption of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which left the women’s issue unclear. In the Darfur Peace Agreement, the issue is at the forefront. However, women were not invited to participate until the 7th round of the talks. Women’s participation from the beginning is critical. It will be important to secure the inclusion of women in compensation programs as they have also suffered greatly in the conflicts.
Once women have been brought into the political process, their participation is necessary for the government to be effective. Poverty reduction programs are essential to improving the lives of Sudanese women. They need improved access to loans, special programs, and microfinance opportunities from the Sudanese government and other sources, such as the World Bank, Bank of South Sudan, and the Bank of Sudan.