Women’s informal peace efforts: Grassroots activism in South Sudan

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South Sudanese women have been grossly under-represented in formal peace negotiations. However, they have been active in informal peacebuilding at the local level where peace means rebuilding society. Such informal peacebuilding is radically different to formal peace negotiations where male warlords and political leaders in new positions of power divide the spoils of war. This brief describes women’s informal peace work in South Sudan, and shows the extensive and valuable, but often unrecognized work that women’s organizations do. We also look at how women’s roles in formal processes are informed by women’s informal work.

Helen Kezie-Nwoha Juliet Were

Helen steers Isis-WICCE’s activities and team members in alignment with the organisation’s strategic direction – making sure each individual has the necessary support and conditions to work effectively and achieve set goals. She subscribes to the feminist approach to leadership, offering staff the freedom and support to exercise their agency.Helen also handles fundraising, keeping pace with partners and devising strategies to adapt to an ever-changing patriarchal context.

In her role, she is most energized by women and girls’ own efforts to challenge the status quo and transform their lives. Outside the office, Helen loves to dance, leisurely cook traditional Nigerian food, read and travel. She also collects badges and coins from each country she visits. If she weren’t at the helm of a feminist organisation, Helen would be a manufacturer.

Helen has a Masters in Gender and International Development (University of Warwick) and Master of Business Administration (Ahmadu Bello University).

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