Eastern Equatoria State, South Sudan – An outreach took place from 1 – 10 December to seven of the eight counties of Eastern Equatoria State, in South Sudan: Torit, Imehececk, Ikotos, Budi, Kepoeta South, Kapoeta North and Kapoeta East. Five female Members of Parliament (MPs) from the State Legislative Assembly of Eastern Equatoria State, along with Kris Debref, AWEPA Programme Coordinator in South Sudan, met with local organisations throughout the seven counties. The eighth county, Magui, was visited earlier in the year, at the end of July, but the outreach was interrupted due to political events in Juba.
At each meeting, the local women began communal dialogue by expressing their disappointment to the MPs; the residents were disappointed that the MPs had not come earlier to see them. The constituents were elected two years ago, but since being elected, had not returned. As it was the first time that the MPs organised as a group to travel to the communities within Eastern Equatoria State, the outreach was unprecedented.
The residents and the MPs discussed multiple problematic scenarios. Residents spoke primarily of the following: tribal fighting, and more specifically of women who are killed by other tribes when they move away from their county headquarters; the lack of health facilities, doctors and midwives; the lack of schools and teachers; the poor conditions and inaccessible roads, especially during the rainy season; and men within the community who are armed with weapons. Through this open dialogue, it is hopeful that solutions will be realized. A request came to organize peace meetings in Eastern Equatoria State as a result of the outreach. AWEPA has made plans to carry out such meetings in February 2014.