South Sudan: Special Initiative Refugees Program (SIR) Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy


GIZ – SIR Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy (2015) identifies gender equality and female empowerment as universally recognized ‘core development objectives, fundamental for the realization of human rights, and key to effective and sustainable development outcomes.

Gender integration is the identification and subsequent addressing of gender inequalities during strategy and project design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. This is reinforced by ADS 205 as it addresses gender integration throughout the Program Cycle. The subsequent and required Mission Order outlines questions to be addressed during the development of strategic plans to ensure GIZ-SIR assistance makes the optimal contribution to gender equality in South Sudan; namely

a. How will the different roles and status of genders within the community, political sphere, workplace and household affect the work to be undertaken?

b. How will the anticipated results of the work affect genders differently?

Yet it is the degree to which GIZ – SIR implementing partners meet the demands of gender policies and strategies that will enhance gender equality and female empowerment. No matter how good the design and the policies, the delivery will be the measure of success.


The GIZ Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy of 2015 and the ensuing GIZ-SIR South Sudan Mission Order (14.4068.4-001.00) dictate that implementing partners are to integrate gender into projects. This action should include attention to the F9 Gender indicators that measure gender equality and female empowerment. These actions are to enable partners report to GIZ on results related to gender equality and female empowerment. These requirements are intended as a strategic approach critical in ensuring the achievement of gender equality commitments.


The purpose of this report is to highlight implementing partner activities in gender engagement within their GIZ-SIR funded projects and their compliance with policy. This report reviews existing mechanisms established by implementing partners to integrate gender throughout their projects and while identifying gaps and challenges that face partners, it also shares the experiences and innovative approached partners have used to promote the integration of gender.


Qualitative methods were used to collect, collate and analyse data for this review. The initial action was a desk review of the Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy (2015), ADS (Automated Directive System) 205 and the South Sudan National Gender Policy Strategy plan. These documents were supplemented by other gender literature extracted from gender studies conducted in South Sudan. Eight IPs (implementing partners) were selected for the purpose of the visit and prior to field visits secondary data from project reports and PMPs (Performance Monitoring plans) were examined. Subsequently seven of the eight partners identified were interviewed.

Key limitations at IP (Implementing Partners) level

Some projects visited had no gender focal persons thus the data was collected by other project staff.

 Time frame in which this review was conducted was not favorable to some gender focal persons, thus despite best efforts, other meetings were not timely possible.

 To ensure validity and comparison this report only represents the views of the gender focal persons met during the meetings.


The visits to IPs provided an overview of Gender engagement and existing mechanisms established by GIZ-SIR implementing partners to integrate gender and youth in GIZ funded projects. Further, this review outlined gender gaps and challenges.

Partners are making efforts to bridge gender disparities in implementing project activities. Despite the efforts exerted to bridge the gender gap and empower female beneficiaries, the fight is still far from being won. As much as efforts are made to recruit women, the challenge to get qualified and experience women candidates still remains across all sectors, whether female journalists for i-STREAM project, (Strengthening Free and Independent media in South Sudan Programme) qualified teachers for community schools or the promotion of women in leadership positions. While there is readiness to address gender issues, youth issues were legging behind or not planned from the initial design of the project making it difficult to integrate youth activities once implementation begins.

There are still several factors surrounding Female empowerment due to the high illiteracy rates among women in South Sudan. To this date many challenges facing girls and women are not addressed effectively. For example, there are still high rates of school dropout among girls. This seems to be resulting from early or forced marriages, heavy home chores assigned to women, and economic disparities. These factors directly affect the confidence of women to work outside home environment

and unless effectively addressed, female empowerment will still remain an issue in most communities in South Sudan. Among IPs visited, only few of the IPs (Implementing Partners) selected indicator from the F9 Gender indicators. This has negatively affected reporting on Gender integration results. Some IPs (implementing partners) seem unsure of what action or intervention to track and monitor apart from sex disaggregation

Key lessons learned

To implement effective gender mainstreaming and female empowerment depends on availability of qualified women who will meet a minimum requirement to fill staffing positions at the activity level. This will allow partner agencies to address gender disparities effectively. Gender mainstreaming requires central support through an enabling policy environment, adequate funding to fund gender specific activities taking affirmative action to drive female empowerment. In line with this, priority attention and specific techniques are needed to reach the girls and women and address gender inequities. While IPs work toward mainstreaming gender, strategic partnerships are needed to effectively marshal resources and target gender activities. Yet in many instances government capacity is also low to implement strategies that promotes gender Equality hence slow in joining with gender initiatives that Implementing Partners try to promote


While there is knowledge and expertise available about how to advance the agenda for gender mainstreaming and female empowerment, findings suggest there is a lack of strategic coordination. It is apparent that despite the efforts of IPs to implement gender policies, these are not recognized throughout the Mission. Hence recommendations examine implementation of Policy as the start point. Further suggested actions tackle projects and some of the barriers that were noted in talking with IPs.


The Mission re-enforced the requirements of the Gender and Female Empowerment Policy, noting ADS 205(Automated Directive System 205) and the south Sudan Mission Order on Gender. The Mission insisted on the mainstreaming of gender into the entire project cycle as a requirement for accessing funding. Further strict monitoring of project implementation has taken place to ensure that projects addresses the different needs and capacities of women, men and children

 Little has been documented about Gender integration by the implementing partners especially relative to the F9 Gender indicators that came to force late in 2015. Projects have been approved without reference to the F9 indicators. This should be addressed and in any future award, mandatory selection of F9 Gender indicators which are appropriate to the partners were be made in place

 As most of the IPs where not sure of what to track though they carry out gender monitoring. This came to existence therefore call for a development of gender and youth monitoring and evaluation frame-work including a gender/youth checklists to help inform and direct the IPs on what to monitor, track and report against the indicators.

 A standard training/orientation manual was developed with support from the Mission to be used across projects for trainings and awareness. This was encompass a holistic approach of gender


integration/mainstreaming for project staff training, thus creating a common responsibility and accountability across all projects.

 Gender needs and roles might have changed during the ongoing crisis, and projects may not be addressing the current gender needs. There is a requirement in place to conduct an in depth gender analysis highlighting the effects of the current conflict on changing demographic profiles, gender roles and relations, economic and security situation to inform the Mission on its strategic planning and program development


While advocacy for policy should be enhanced, it must involve community members and leaders who will advocate for equal opportunities for both boys and girls. This requires wide use of media to disseminate messages for promotion of social inclusivity in education, health and income generating activities. The use of “mothers and male champions’ advocacy” groups approach is recommended at the community level.

 It is recommended that every IP should at least appoint a dedicated staff and include his/her roles in the position description such that, this person is responsible to monitor implementation, report and follow up on gender integration issues in the project as a whole or component of the project’s activities.

 Partners need to conduct studies that analyze social institution norms and cultural values, traditional and religious practices in relationship to gender roles.

 Capacity building initiatives which target women’s participation should be supported through coaching and mentoring programs. The evidence from SUCCESS (System to Uphold the Credibility and Constitutionality of Elections in South Sudan) suggests these activities increase women participation in governance programs, informing women of their rights.

 A set of guiding recruitment policies geared towards equal recruitment opportunities and attraction of female staff was developed, including mentoring of women with low education and less experience

 IPs should also mainstream youth focused activities in projects to ensure youth involvement and inclusivity. Simple activities such as youth mobile cinema or theaters can be a center of discussion. Promotion of life skills trainings, income generating activities, startup capitals as the youth have all the energy to make development happen.


Efforts to increase women’s confidence can benefit through engaging role models who can share their success stories or life experience with young girls and women. This will increase women’s exposure to behavioral change experience.

 Partners should encourage lactating mother to come with their babies and baby sitters for trainings to attract more women participants, and increase involvement in the leadership and management trainings. Partners need to recognize the need to provide modest accommodation at field sites to offer females with reasonable protection


Presented by GIZ – SIR Program

Special Initiative Refugees Program (SIR)

Author: Waran Andrew Onni Wani ( &

Author: Ijjo Thomas James (

Date of Publication: December 4th, 2015

Implemented by: GIZ –SIR Special Initiative Refugees, (GIZ – SIR)


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