In the press
Standing up and speaking out
Sudan: Stefanie Franke (Germany) is a former UN Volunteer with the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) Return, Reintegration and Recovery (RRR) unit. She was seconded to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) where she worked with the Sudan Information Campaign for Returnees (SICR).
The SICR worked in camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) around Khartoum/North Sudan and South Darfur. It provided a space for these communities to enter into a dialogue with the Governments and the international community on the organized return to South Sudan. Many of the IDPs were rural women from South Sudan, and the SICR provided them with information and facilitated their participation in the decision-making processes of their communities.
For Stefanie, the most enriching achievement was to see IDP women standing up and speaking out at community sessions. This dialogue allowed them to raise their voices and express their hopes for a possible return to South Sudan.
Women who usually kept quiet as expected from them by custom, stood up and talked about the challenges of their everyday lives in the camps, including poverty, poor health/hygiene, violence and police raids. They also referred to various challenges they expected upon their return, including very limited job and income opportunities, the lack of financial resources and agricultural inputs, or the limited access to land and property. Many requested the governments of North and South Sudan as well as the international community to continue to provide protection and support beyond the return process, by ensuring a peaceful resettlement and supporting the economic recovery of South Sudan.
Currently, Stefanie is a Programme Analyst with the Economic Empowerment Section of UN Women in New York where she supports the development of gender sensitive policies which promote decent work, social protection and employment, and sustainable and rural development, while taking into account challenges such as climate change or the economic and food crises.
To read more about Stefanie, and her work as a UN Volunteer, go to
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