Anisia Achieng

11 October 2005
I was born in the South Sudan, an orphan of civil war. I am married with 2 children; a girl and a boy. But because of the war situation, I separated from my husband. After 3 years he decided to get married and I have decided to live as a single mother activist. I hold a Degree in Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) based in Nairobi-Kenya. I took a diploma in Women Leadership from Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation – Pan Africa Institute based in Kitwe Zambia, and I qualified as a community and rural development officer. At the beginning of 21 years of civil war in 1983, my life circumstances suddenly changed. I will never forget my flight to safety. I still have nightmares about a flock of displaced women and children camped outside Juba town. I recall it was a rainy week, which was suddenly cut short by a volley of bullets cracking through the dark. In 1993, I decided to take refuge in Nairobi-Kenya from the terrible violence of the war in the Sudan.

From Nairobi, I helped found the SUDANESE WOMEN’S VOICE FOR PEACE (SWVP), which currently I chair. SWVP set out to end the silence of the victims in this war of aggression that ravaged the Sudan, where millions of innocent lives have been lost and ten of thousands made homeless or forced to live in camps for displaced persons. The women and children went through such suffering - destitution, intimidation, harassment, hunger, famine, malnutrition and disease - with no redress. SWV is a registered non-government organization both in Kenya and South Sudan where we advocate that every person (woman or man) has the right to freedom and security. No person may be deprived of her/ his freedom except for reasons and in accordance with procedures specified by laws. SWVP promoted the evolution of a common peace agenda amongst women in particular. We mainstream gender within civil society groups engaged in peace building. The aim was to enable them share their wider experience and knowledge so that they could challenge certain trends in the peace agreement.

Over the ten years of my practical experience in peace-building and the advocacy of  women’s rights, I have engaged myself in community mobilization for peace and reconciliation, trauma counselling and also the documentation of women’s life stories in Violence Against Women campaigns. I have also been involved in conflict analysis, and the training of trainers. SWVP has over 50 members working as peace-builders in their respective communities, and a regular newsletter called ‘New Voice’, together with a magazine called ‘Images’. Women can raise people’s hopes and build confidence in grass roots peace-makers.
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