Economic Crisis Pushing Women Of Aweil To The Edge

Women in villages in Aweil who cut Ncema grass to make mats for sell say that they have no customers since the economic crises hit the country.

Economic Crisis Pushing Women Of Aweil To The Edge
Women displaying locally made mats for sale in Aweil [Photo by Agoth Abraham]

By Agoth Abraham

AWEIL, 19 February 2016 [Gurtong]-
The women say that this has left the vulnerable as some of them are bread winners in their homes.

Some even fear that if the situation continues to deteriorate they fear that they may starve this year.

A 3-metre long mat costs 20 South Sudanese Pounds. This 20 SSP can afford them 1kg of Sorghum.

Akech Achuoth, a widow and a mother of four children who is stranded with a bundle/heap of grass has been looking for a buyer but in vain. She said that she has gone for three days without food in her home.

“My living condition is bad! it is very hard to survive this year as you can see this is what I sell to survive on but only if there is a customer who can buy, but there is no customer. I came yesterday with this bundle of grass which a customer said she would buy at 5 SSP but I couldn’t agree on that. I do not have cows or goats and the father of my children is dead” she said.

Awien Koch Ayat, a 78-year old woman who sells local mats says lack of customers has seen her run out of food in her house as she cannot afford to buy any more food.

“The local mat is 15-20 SSP. My life is very bad because a sack of sorghum is becoming expensive, I am worried of this season, will we really survive this year. The mats are here but nobody takes one” she said.

Amiir Madhieu another seller of local mats says it is all she does to earn a living.

“My life has become hopeless. I go home empty handed and hear my children crying for food. Mostly this forces us to sleep without food and the father of my children is a blind man. I am the only bread winner. I cultivate but there has been no good harvest.”

The economic crisis in the country has seen a significant increase in the prices of food commodities country-wide.

Recently World Food Organisation [WFP] together with the Food Agriculture Organisation [FAO] jointly released a report revealing that South Sudan will have 80% of its population experiencing hunger threat between January and April this year. Culturally, hunger months begin in May to August each year but this year’s hunger will be double.


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