As a springboard for the Stockholm International Conference on 1325, women from several corners of the world shared their personal struggles, setbacks and successes in their work for gender,
As a springboard for the Stockholm International Conference on 1325, women from several corners of the world shared their personal struggles, setbacks and successes in their work for gender, peace and security. We have named these experiences Stories from the Ground. On our web site we will publish several from now and in the next few days.
Rita Martin, Sudan: "Wow for 1325"
Rita Martin of EVE Organization, Sudan has met hopeful women when informing on resolution 1325. Photo: Anna Erlandson
Rita Martin works for EVE Organization in Sudan. EVE was first formed by Sudanese female students who felt frustrated about how difficult it is for women in Sudan to get an education on any level. When she in 2008 heard about 1325 for the first time she just said: "Wow".
The female students in EVE Organization felt fortunate about their own situation and wanted to help those who were less fortunate. EVE Organization focuses on education for women, so that the women of Sudan also can take part in democratic processes.
UN Resolution Strengthens Women
Rita Martin says that she herself was first overwhelmed when she heard about resolution 1325 and felt that she had to bring this information out to the women on the ground.
"First we just commented upon it with a big ´wow´. We did not know anything about it before. It was inspiring for us. We could be very strong if we were able to use it."
It is a big challenge in Sudan to communicate the information about 1325 to all different language groups all over the country. With her organisation Rita Martin has held meetings and workshops with the purpose of spreading the information among Sudanese women. She has noticed this to have a very positive effect on the women she has met.
Many Roles to Uphold for Sudanese Women
At the same time she describes the work with spreading the information as very difficult due to the basic day-to-day problems that Sudanese women have to struggle with. Besides suffering from war and the struggle of maintaining peace, most Sudanese women have to walk several miles, sometimes for hours, just to get water, support their families with food and take care of children.
There is basically no time for these women to engage in education and human rights matters. Therefore, involving women in peace processes and decision making is part of a much bigger issue. Rita Martin underlines that the women’s basic needs must be satisfied first. Only then can the women of Sudan be able to take part in any education.
"One important first step is to let women know about resolution 1325. They feel strengthened when they hear about it," Rita Martin says.