South Sudan Receives $70 million to Support Women’s Social and Economic Empowerment and Strengthen Institutional Capacity

JUBA — The World Bank has approved a $70 million International Development Association (IDA*) grant to boost women’s social and economic empowerment in South Sudan. The South Sudan Women and Social and Economic Empowerment Project (SSWSEEP) aims to support female entrepreneurs in formalizing and scaling up their business activities and help survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) access vital services that will enable them to recover and rebuild their lives.

For generations, South Sudanese women have supported their families and communities 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 access to 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,” said Aya Benjamin Warile, Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare for South Sudan.

This project aligns with the World Bank’s Country Engagement Note (CEN) for South Sudan for FY21-FY23 which includes a cross-cutting focus on women and youth to help reduce fragility, facilitate peace-building and promote inclusive development in the country. The project takes a holistic approach aiming to also 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,” said Firas Raad, World Bank Country Manager for South Sudan. “It will also help women to grow their businesses and improve their livelihoods by providing grants, training, and technical assistance.”

This project will build on the World Bank’s country program in South Sudan and will complement the women’s empowerment activities implemented by other development partners in the country — specifically those undertaken by the Women Economic Community Centers (WECCs) established by UN Women with donor funding and in coordination with the Ministry of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare (MGCSW).

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 socio-economic empowerment of women; establishing a women’s entrepreneurial opportunity facility; providing services for survivors of GBV; and supporting institutional strengthening and project management.

The SSWSEEP is a four-year project that will be implemented by South Sudan’s Ministry of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare (MGCSW) with the support of UN Women. It will target 91,000 women and 5,200 adolescent girls, while indirectly reaching 673,400 people.

*The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 74 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has provided $458 billion to 114 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $29 billion over the last three years (FY19-FY21), with about 70 percent going to Africa. Learn more online: #IDAworks