The three stories, despite created as narratives for the purpose of this paper, are incorporating truth elements taken from the stories of different South-Sudanese people. Father Ben represents an autocrat parish priest, the stereotype of the hegemonic masculinity. His military background and authoritative attitude are the exemplification of a patriarchal society with a dominant position of men.
Margaret is a lone widow, internally displaced and HIV positive. Having lost everything and being relocated on another place, she firstly relies on safety nets and then she starts to overcome from her vulnerability and uses the agriculture as steppingstone to improve her livelihoods.
Lastly, Sunday represents a woman in a complete subordinate position to her husband. Being in a potential wealthier condition compared to Margaret, she suffers of intra-household distribution of resources, with her husband who does not share with her his revenues and, moreover, uses to collect part of her revenues. Consequently, Sunday is taking care alone of her children, experiencing several burdens and she is on the brink of poverty.
While critically analysing the characters, it is notable to highlight that all the three are experiencing different constraints. Father Ben, while undertaking his military service, experience an inferior position from his superiors through a patriarchist hegemonic practice of power over (Cornwall, Edström and Greig, 2011). This attitude is then adopted vice-versa when Father Ben is becoming parish priest and he operates in a dominant position compared to the more vulnerable people of his parish.
Margaret is facing the outcomes of the crisis’ exacerbation that, commonly, affect more seriously vulnerable and marginalised groups (Quisumbing et al., 2008). Due to her vulnerability, Margaret is forced to leave her hometown and losing the few assets she was holding while living with his husband and sons. In Isohe, she is farming on lands given by Father Ben, who impose the varieties of crops to be cultivated. Moreover, Margaret is reflecting the weak position that women plays during conflicts, where sexual abuse is used as a war-weapon (Oxfam, 2017).
Sunday is suffering of several burdens being married with a husband not prone to support the family and being the one justifying him if he uses to physically abuse her. Together with the children, they are then suffering of the “secondary poverty” and intra-household resource distribution (Chant, 2007), where the husband does not share with them his revenues and, moreover, he use to collect part of hers for his expenditures. This situation depicts a clear disproportion of bargaining power (Seebens, 2011). Lastly, Sunday says that during the school breaks she sacrifices her diet to sustain the feedings of her children and then playing an important role for the food security of her family (Quisumbing et al., 2008).
It is notable to acknowledge that, while talking about gender and agriculture, women play a crucial role in agriculture despite all the burdens they are subjected to (Quisumbing et al., 2014). According to The State of Food and Agriculture 2018, women are accounting for the 50% of the total agriculture labour force in Sub-Saharan Africa and the feminisation of agriculture is an increasing phenomenon (FAO, 2018). Ikwoto county, specifically, is a location where 80% of the households are practicing farming (Costantino, Shiferaw and Bonifácio, 2018) and 60% are highly depending on it (AVSI Foundation, 2018).
Aiming at analysing the opportunities for the different stakeholders, Father Ben uses his bargaining power to maximise his interests and produce over the lands of the parish. Moreover, his hegemony is seen not only against weak stakeholders but also on other institutional actors that operate in the same geographical area.
Margaret is likely to be eligible for the Food-For-Work and APFS programmes because she is a lone old woman. Moreover, while cash programmes are more attractive to men, these agriculture and food programmes, together with her late and non-reproductive age giving her the chance to recover from her vulnerability and not getting disturbed by men in the neighbourhood (Quisumbing et al., 2008).
While looking at Sunday, it’s clear how, despite a possible wealthier condition given by the affluence of the husband, she is the character facing the highest burdens. The only relieves are coming from the support that the children are giving her while farming and the own selection of planting crops. This, is accepted because part of the crops are used to make local brews that is culturally recognised as a women business (AVSI Foundation, 2018). Moreover, considering her dropout from school due to the early marriage, it can be assumed that she might be supporting the education of her children till the end of the secondary school.