Women in South Sudan have been given ox ploughs to help tackle hunger and food insecurity in the Rumbek North region, as they resettle after having been uprooted due to conflict, according to UN News.
The ox ploughs will help the women work the land and grow food, improving their ability to return and resettle successfully.
“We realized that household food security is one of the key factors for return and reintegration to be sustainable,” Caroline Opok, a representative of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), told Relief Web.
“We have now distributed 300 [ox ploughs] to women’s groups in Rumbek North, because this is an area greatly affected by conflicts, displacements, and food insecurity,” Opok added.
The UN Refugee Agency considers food security to be vital for public health and the well-being of displaced persons.
“With these ox ploughs coming in, we shall cultivate bigger areas which will help us sustain our families throughout the long dry spell,” Mary Agor, a local women’s leader, told UN News. “We shall also have some surplus produce to sell at the market in Rumbek and thus make some money."
Ongoing conflict in the region, including cattle raids and armed ambushes, has left residents relying on external relief aid to get enough food.
“The challenge they reported was a lack of implements to increase their food production,” Samuel Owoko, a representative of Sans Frontieres Germany, the organization implementing the project, told UN News. “That’s how the ox plough idea was born."
Girls and women in these communities are traditionally responsible for feeding their families, according to UN News. However, Opok said that the women have begun encouraging the men to begin working with them to produce food upon resettling.
The civil war in South Sudan began in 2013, and since then over 4 million people have fled their homes, and nearly 200,000 are living in a total of six UN protection sites across the country, according to Human Rights Watch.
The Civil War began in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former vice president, Riek Machar, of organizing an attempted coup.