A New Era for Women in Sudan: A Q&A with Yifat Susskind and Fatima Ahmed
Posted on: Monday, July 25, 2011
Earlier this month, South Sudan became the world’s newest country. To gather information about this historic occasion for MADRE members, and about what it means for women and their communities, MADRE’s Executive Director Yifat Susskind spoke with Fatima Ahmed, Director of our Sudanese partner organization, Zenab for Women in Development.
Yifat: When we last saw each other here in New York City, you were preparing to return to Sudan. Now that South Sudan has become a new country, I’ve been thinking about the work that Zenab for Women in Development has done to bolster women’s participation and peace in the referendum process that created South Sudan.
Fatima: Yes, we were at the forefront of raising public awareness and encouraging a peaceful and effective voting process during the referendum. We knew that it was important to include women’s perspectives. Through the years of war, women were displaced and traumatized, and they struggled to guarantee the survival of their families. We worked to give every woman the chance to have her voice heard and to help decide the future of her community.
We focused on giving women the knowledge of how to participate effectively. In the states of Kassala and Gadaref, we organized two training workshops – three days each – for women leaders in the area. In Gadaref, we also held 10 voter education workshops. In addition, we trained 40 women to monitor the polls and the process of counting votes. All this helped to ensure a peaceful process.
Yifat: What role do you hope for women to play in the coming months?
Fatima: In Sudan and around the world, women are pillars of their communities. They provide for their families, they care for the sick, and they pave the path to peace in times of conflict. In this pivotal time, Sudanese and South Sudanese women must work together to uphold peace on both sides of the border.
In Sudan, north of the new border, we are now drafting a new constitution. Zenab for Women in Development has joined with other Sudanese women’s groups to make sure that our new constitution protects gender equality. To do this, we need to open up the drafting process to include the perspectives of grassroots women, so that women’s human rights are integrated in the new constitution.
We are working together to present a list of recommendations to the constitutional drafters. Included are measures that will allow women to participate more fully in the coming months, such as workshops for women to voice their needs to policy-makers and to demand their human rights.
And of course, we continue to expand our work with the Women Farmers Union, giving them seeds and tools. We are very happy that we were able to recently buy a tractor, with the support of MADRE! Because of this, women will be able to plant faster and raise bigger harvests. Our hope is that together we can build prosperous and peaceful communities, and we work for this every day.
Archives"Press Room" Home July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
Haitian woman faces death threats for speaking out about violence against women (WBEZ Worldview, July 16, 2014)
Media Spotlight Turns Away from Iraq, as Concerns Mount Over Human Rights and Political Stalemate (Uprising Radio, July 11, 2014)
Iraq: The women left behind (Aljazeera, July 3, 2014)
Under Isis, Iraqi women again face an old nightmare: violence and repression (The Guardian, July 3, 2014)
How Can We Protect Women From A Sexual Jihad? (HuffPost Live, June 26, 2014)