JUBA, May 24 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank on Wednesday granted 70 million U.S. dollars to South Sudan to boost women's social and economic empowerment (SSWSEEP), an official said.
World Bank Country Manager for South Sudan Firas Raad said the grant is aimed at supporting female entrepreneurs in formalizing and scaling up their business activities and helping survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) access vital services that will enable them to recover and rebuild their lives.
Raad said the project focuses on women and youth to help reduce fragility, facilitate peacebuilding, and promote inclusive development. He said the project takes a holistic approach aiming to strengthen the public sector's capacity to engage more actively in the area of women's empowerment to ensure long-term benefits for future generations of South Sudanese women and girls.
"Survivors of gender-based violence require substantial support to recover from the physical and psychological trauma that they have endured. This project will help expand their access to vital health services and psychosocial support, and will work on strengthening the prevention of GBV," Raad told journalists in Juba, South Sudan`s capital.
He noted that the project will also help women to grow their businesses and improve their livelihoods by providing grants, training, and technical assistance.
The SSWSEEP comprises four components that aim at holistically addressing the specific challenges affecting the growth and development of women in South Sudan including community-based socioeconomic empowerment of women, establishing a women's entrepreneurial opportunity facility, providing services for survivors of GBV, and supporting institutional strengthening and project management.
Aya Benjamin Warile, minister for Gender, Child and Social Welfare, said women have supported their families and communities for generations by engaging in entrepreneurial activities, however, their progress has often been constrained by a mixture of prevailing social norms, institutional impediments, and insufficient access to education, training, business services, and financing.
"Empowering women to participate fully in civic and economic life will make South Sudan more prosperous and peaceful. With improved financial security, other areas of women's lives will also improve, as they can more easily afford health services, send their children to school, and are more likely to serve in leadership roles in their communities and become agents of change," Benjamin said. ■