Kuajok Town Mayor has banned financial support group meetings of women after men raised some complaints.
The women who are part of the village saving and loan associations known as ”sanduk sanduk” – an Arabic word for an informal financial sacco. It is a “merry-go-round” where members contribute a small sum of money on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and take turns to receive the saved amount.
According to the Mayor, the husbands of the women have raised concerns over what they consider as prolonged meetings by the association.
Mayor John Akol Akol said the women also spent more time participating in social dances and singing during the meetings.
He added that he issued the banned – effective on Tuesday this week – after the husbands claim the women are spending less time at home.
“First of all, the women dance in this party, they roll themselves on the ground – which we don’t even understand. Secondly, 2 women had miscarriages suspected to be from the dance. The women also spent the night in this dance places leaving children unattended to. Others take their children to the party in the cold weather which may result to pneumonia,” he narrated.
However, Josephina Agueer Wol, a member of the village saving Loan Association argued against the order. She denied the assumption by the men, saying that the association provide financial support to women members.
“These dances earn us some money because some women pay money out of excitement due to the song that praises her community. The money is given to the person who receives the money that day. So, if we stop the party, it will be losses,” she stated.
Aguer urged the Municipal Council to be lenient and not ban the gatherings.
“We are asking the government to set for us time for stopping the party and the rules to be follow during the party but not stopping it.”
Development agencies say women in South Sudan have no income, no jobs and no sources of livelihood. They cannot afford to provide a simple meal for their children. Most of the women in rely on the merry-go-round financial contributions to support their families.
The system promotes individual savings as the receiver gets the equal amount of money injected into the saving after a period of time. It is popular amongst business people, and employees in South Sudan.