Challenges to sustainable re-integration in conflict situations in South Sudan: Gender perspective.
Kony, Jane Lanyero
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This study set out to investigate the challenges of sustainable reintegration in post-conflict situations using a gender perspective and focusing on the South Sudan experience. The study objectives were: (i) to establish the problems of economic empowerment of women and how these can limit the sustainability of refugee reintegration; (ii) to examine how access to land and its ownership pose challenges to the sustainability of refugee reintegration; (iii) to analyse how marginalisation of women limits the sustainability of refugee reintegration; and (iv) to elucidate how lack of social rehabilitation limits the sustainability of refugee reintegration. Review of literature on post-South Sudan war reintegration challenges in the context of gender perspective was done in accordance with the study objectives. The study used both qualitative and quantitative approaches and the main tools of data collection were respondents’ questionnaire, interviews with key informants, and focus group discussions. The study covered a total sample of 170 respondents. The study found out that social economic empowerment profile of the women returnees is a set of intertwined, counter-reinforcing issues that places them at a disadvantage right from the outset yet reintegration programmes do not adequately address these vulnerabilities. There is widespread lack of access/ownership to land by women due to gender, cultural discrimination, but most importantly due to the peculiar post-war circumstances. Moreover, there is fluidity in land policy and administration between the different levels of government, which separates the ‘gender and land’ issues from the national policy discourse. There is gender-blind, supply driven approach to reintegration by the government and aid agencies, which is worsening the above vulnerabilities. The study recommends practical solutions for empowerment of women such as establishment of micro credit, skills training/capacity building; land reforms in order to address the postconflict land challenge that women find themselves in. At the policy level, there is need for aggressive gender mainstreaming with specific target to women in governments. In addition, government should have an affirmative girl-child education to promote female gender participation (or representation) in leadership positions among others.