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Girls takeover: VP Nyandeng hands power to little girl for 1hour

Girls takeover: VP Nyandeng hands power to little girl for 1hour
Vice president Rebecca Nyandeng welcome 15-year-old Lona Juma and handed over the seat to her. |Credit| Daniel Garang Deng|TRC

The South Sudan vice president in charge of Youth and gender cluster, Rebecca Nyandeng handed over the power and her seat to a 15-year-old girl on Tuesday for a period of one hour on a program named Girls Take over on Internation Day of the Girl.

A 15-year-old girl, Lona Juma, was driven to the office in a V8 vehicle and received on a red carpet by the executive director, security, protocol and the support staff of the vice president office.

she was then escorted to the office where she was received and handed the power and seat by the vice president Rebecca Nyandeng.

After taking the position, Lona was briefed about her day calendar of meetings by the executive director in the office of the vice president. She then had her first meeting in the office with the country representative of the UN women on girl’s empowerment.

After the meeting, her excellency Lona briefed the media about her advocacy for the amendment of customary laws to give girls equal opportunity with boys.

“We came to get space to proof the 35% that has been given to us. It is not really hard, but people think because of the cultural norms that we have. Today, I also discuss [with UN women] about the equality that is supposed to be taken in the country and I believe that girls are going to be equal with boys. Girls are going to proof the 35%,” Lona told the reporters.

“Most of the cultural norms that we see in South Sudan, they don’t allow girls to go to schools but today, I’m going to proof to all the citizens of South Sudan that girls are going to go to school, and I will address the issue of early and force marriage. I have planned a strategy for that. Through my office, there will be laws that will be implemented to stop this practice to allow girls go to school and become leaders.”

Lona expressed her happiness and thanked Rebecca Nyandeng for giving her opportunity for one hour and plan International for organizing such an opportunity.

“I’m very grateful for this day today,” she said.

David Dau Acuoth, executive director in the office of the vice president, said the exercise is an action of mentorship to empower and prepare girls for future leadership.

“The whole idea is to set the expectation of our children for the future of South Sudan. These are the generation that we all work for to prepare them to take pattern in leading this country in the future and women of South Sudan especially the young girls must be given equal opportunity so that they can participate in leading this country and participate in being productive members of this society,” Dau stated.

Girls Takeover is a program by Plan International that celebrates the power of girls on International Day of the girl where girls and young women take over leadership positions in business, politics, or media to champion gender equality, better representation, and the potential of girls but this initiative has never been done in South Sudan before.

An official from Plan International said this request to take over leadership positions for one hour took them about six months discussion with the leadership of various institutions to accept.

Similar take over will take place in other government and diplomatic institutions in the coming days as the world celebrate the international day of the girl child. The next institutions will include the office of the vice president in charge of service cluster, the national assembly and the UK embassy among others.

International Day of the Girl Child is observed annually on 11 October. The day was adopted by the United Nations 2012 and aims to raise awareness of gender inequality, child marriage, education deprivation and other sensitive issues faced by girls due to their gender.

This year’s theme: “Our time is now—our rights, our future.”