Christina Pita Luduku
Attorney – Co-founder of an independent law firm
Apply leadership skills to empower women professionals
Juba, South Sudan – Cycle 2015. Christina is a hardworking woman and a leader in her professional field. She holds a law degree with a degree in human rights and is passionate about women’s rights. She decided to focus her research on women’s rights in conflict, complex and post-conflict situations. She has worked as a paralegal for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, a consultant for UNITAR, and is currently a co-owner of a law firm that primarily, but not exclusively, provides legal services to NGOs. Christina also provides free legal advice to NGOs and small initiatives which she believes will help develop their community and improve their professional skills.
Prior to joining the program, Christina worked for the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and was either the only woman or, at times, one of the very few women in the ministry. At the time of the program, she had no experience in entrepreneurship or leadership, but was interested in the subject because she believed that implementing high quality projects can make real change, contrary to what has sometimes happened in the legal field. where changing the legal framework to bring about change can take much more time.
Christina was very involved during the program and was selected as a coach for the next editions. During her work as a coach from 2016 to 2019, Christina transferred the skills acquired during the scholarship to new scholarship holders of the program. The coaching work was very demanding, as she had to help moderate the training during the day and support the fellow’s project proposals (e.g. assessment, advice) in the evening. Still, she thinks the experience is very rewarding as the experience has also improved her skills, especially her leadership skills. Christina says the scholarship program helped her develop her self-confidence by improving her communication and presentation skills, which she passed on to the scholars, especially the women.
Christina remembers a situation in which one of the women she coached had an excellent project proposal but had difficulty with presentation techniques. Christina was dedicated to helping her and coaching her every day using her own advancements and personal techniques as an example. In subsequent presentations, Christina was able to follow the trainees’ progress in communicating their ideas. Christina also uses the leadership skills she has learned in her work as a lawyer. She is a member of an association for women’s advocates and has observed that women’s opinions are sometimes less valued or recognized than those of men. Then she always reminds them and helps them express their ideas, incorporate leadership skills and appreciate their work.
In addition to leadership skills, Christina also used hard skills when writing project proposals. At the request of her colleagues in the group and in her work in the law firm, she accompanied these processes in the women’s lawyers’ association. Her tasks in the office include the preparation of project proposals, statutes for NGOs and contracts in which she can directly apply the knowledge from the program. She also uses the monitoring tools and techniques to support the implementation of her clients’ projects. Christina recognizes this as an advantage of the scholarship and finds that her colleagues do not have the same knowledge of monitoring tools.
The knowledge from the peacebuilding program also helped Christina in her daily work. She sees the program as a contribution to broadening perspectives on interpersonal relationships, especially in post-conflict contexts such as in South Sudan. She now sees that there is no point in getting angry with someone because of a disagreement, but that it is better to leave things aside and focus on what is on the table and be more careful in your relationships with others to be so as not to damage ties with their colleagues.
Another factor from the program that has contributed to the application of knowledge is networking. Christina is still in contact with other fellows and they occasionally share time. This connection enables them to find out more about their individual projects and to exchange work opportunities among themselves. Christina’s law firm, for example, supports NGOs in developing project proposals, and when she sees that someone needs a specialized service, she connects them with some of her colleagues from the UNITAR program.
Although Christina was able to apply the knowledge from her studies in her work as a lawyer (and in training), she faced some challenges in the implementation of her individual project. Christina’s project was linked to her work at the ministry and consisted of providing legal aid to female inmates of Juba Prison. Unfortunately, she was struggling to get information from the prison administration and adequate support from her manager at work, and she did not have the money to continue the project on her own.
Christina is very grateful for her participation in the UNITAR scholarship program and hopes it can continue. She also wants many of her former fellows’ projects to be implemented and hopes that there could be a mechanism to facilitate the initial start-up funding for the projects.