In Sudan, young girls often face early marriage and are denied education and equal opportunities. This article explores the efforts of community activists in Sudan who are working towards empowering women through education and vocational training. By engaging men and shifting their mindsets, these activists aim to challenge gender norms and create a more inclusive society.
Empowering Women Through Education and Vocational Training
In traditional Sudanese communities, gender norms significant impact women’s social, economic, and political participation. A joint rapid gender analysis conducted by CARE, WFP, and FAO highlighted the challenges faced by Sudanese women, including a lack of available job opportunities, disproportionate responsibility for household tasks, and exposure to gender-based violence. These issues continue to hinder progress towards gender equality.
Recognizing the need for change, CARE started organizing trainings on gender-based violence in May 2023. The aim was to address the issues raised in the gender analysis while ensuring that the project did not exacerbate gender-based violence. Additionally, CARE recognized the importance of engaging men and boys in shifting their mindsets towards supporting women.
Engaging Men for Gender Equality
In traditional agricultural systems, women play critical roles in all production systems. They participate in land clearance, planting, weeding, harvesting, and transporting crops. However, control over financial resources and decision-making remains primarily in the hands of men. To combat gender-based violence and achieve gender equality, CARE conducted male engagement sessions in South Kordofan. The goal was to involve men and boys in discussions about women’s empowerment, their rights to education, work, health services, and political participation.
The Impact of Empowerment
Women’s empowerment trainings organized by CARE in Sudan have been eye-opening for women like Zainab and Hawa. They gained confidence to advocate for women’s rights within their communities, addressing the need to stop gender-based violence and promote women’s economic empowerment. They also established connections with the official Child and Family Protection Unit, referring gender-based violence cases that they couldn’t solve themselves.
Through the Promoting Economic Empowerment and Gender Equality through Strengthened Market Systems Project, CARE Sudan aims to empower women farmers by providing greater control over and access to agricultural resources and markets. By fostering economic opportunities and addressing harmful gender norms, the project strives to create a better environment for women’s participation in inclusive markets, ultimately improving food security at the community and household levels.
In Sudan, community activists are fighting to empower women by challenging gender norms through education, vocational training, and engagement with men and boys. By addressing gender-based violence and promoting women’s economic empowerment, they aim to create a society where women have equal opportunities and rights. The efforts of these activists, in collaboration with organizations like CARE, are essential for breaking the cycle of gender inequality and creating a better future for Sudanese women.