Make a donation to support our work
Socialise with us Online
Volunteer with Us
Deadline; 5th August 2020
Women’s International Peace Centre plans to conduct research in South Sudan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and a regional Great lake study. The research is aimed to deepen our understanding of what has worked for the peace and Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) movement in the East African region.
The year 2020 marks a significant anniversary of major women’s rights frameworks including The Beijing Platform for Action and The UNSCR1325 at the global level and the end of the African Women’s decade and supposedly the year of silencing the guns in Africa. Despite the progress
made towards achieving gender equality and sustainable peace more still needs to be done as conflict is changing forms with increasingly high incidences of conflict-related sexual violence. The women’s movement has been at the forefront of campaigning for peace and the end of sexual and gender-based violence. It is time to review the extent to which the women’s movement has contributed to peacebuilding and campaigns to end sexual violence using the case study method.
Request for Expression of Interest
The Peace Centre invites eligible and qualified individuals to indicate their interest to produce reflective research on “Peacebuilding and ending Gender-Based Violence Movement in the Great Lakes Region”. Interested country based consultants must provide information indicating their competency and indicate their budgetary expenses.
Specific Objectives of the research
i. To examine the evolution of the peace and SGBV movement and the factors that lead to its successes.
ii. To assess the role of philanthropy in supporting the movement.
iii. To understand how peace and SGBV movements increase strength and influence, survived in the face of attacks, and/or emerged to fuel resistance.
The researchers will be expected to propose a methodology that is suitable for the research subject.
Duties and Responsibilities:
i. Prepare inception report including research design, work plan and study tools.
ii. Prepare a draft research report.
iii. Present findings and analysis to The Peace Centre.
Required Skills and Experience:
i. Demonstrated experience in research on peace and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) movement in the East African region.
ii. Excellent written and oral communication skills.
iii. Researchers must be Bi-lingual
iv. Critical thinking and analysis
v. Time Management
vi. Experience in research on women & SGBV will be an added advantage.
Application Requirements: Application document, stating the method of work, research method and research questions. Curriculum Vitae, samples of past related research, proposed budget and schedule.
Please note; Applicants can submit as individual consultants, groups of consultants or as institutions for any of the countries specified and for the regional case study.
Expression of Interest clearly marked “Expression of Interest to conduct research on ‘Peacebuilding and ending Gender-Based Violence Movement in the Great Lakes can be submitted as a soft copy through email address email@example.com on or before 5 pm EAT on Wednesday 5th August 2020. Only shortlisted candidates shall be contacted.
From 19th to 25th June 2020, The Peace Centre facilitated the meeting of District Peace Committee meetings that had a total of 142 (42 females and 100 males) participants. The meetings provided platforms where women peace mediators presented women peace and security concerns including; the impact of COVID 19 on women, increasing conflicts in the project districts that called for the safety of women and girls, spaces for women’s participation in peacebuilding, peace meetings and complete disarmament, protection of the unprotected kraals, tracking and recovery of stolen animals, need to resume peace initiatives since the Warriors took advantage of the lockdown and conflicts escalated.
The meetings discussed and agreed on strategies of ensuring conflict early warning and early response system is functional at District level. As a result, increased realisation and collective action by District peace committees on women peace and security concerns were registered e.g. Yumbe District offered radio talk time for that the women peace mediators to used to voice women peace and security concern as well get hold duty bearers accountable. The disarmament process was initiated in Kotido.
The Women Mediators Networks (48 women) also met monthly during this period in Panyangara, Nakapelemoro, Rengen and Kotido Municipal within Kotido district and in Yumbe and Adjumani districts. They have been engaged in documenting and reporting violations associated with COVID-19 containment measures including sexual and physical violence by military personnel.
In June, women leaders who were trained by the Peace Centre, Karibu Jeunesse Nouvelle (KJN) and Association des Femmes des Medias (AFEM) on practical strategies to promote women’s participation in post-conflict governance in 2019 were interviewed to track their progress. The training aimed at strengthening the capacity of women leaders to engage in and influence post-conflict decision-making and governance as well as demand accountability from policymakers towards actualizing the meaningful inclusion of women in governance and decision making in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Since 2019 the trained women leaders, have held community awareness sessions and dialogues on the need for women’s participation at all decision-making levels; the rights and responsibilities for women and girls, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and also mitigated land conflicts. The awareness sessions also targeted schools and Universities, encouraging young women to join politics, to position themselves in leadership structures and the political system in preparation for the 2023 legislative elections. As a result, 5 young women joined the communication unit of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress Party (UDPS).
Thanks to Bukavu’s training, I feel very equipped and reassured. When my UDPS Party was coming to implant up in my community, I used all the strategies learnt to position myself. I grab a strategic position in this party, I am now the President of the party’s women’s league in my locality. Now it is me who will be identifying and recruiting other women to join and advocate for their interests. Bora – Elysée
Although women constitute the highest statistic demographically compared to men (52%), this has not been influential in terms of their political participation. Several factors justify this including; traditional and cultural barriers with their consequences on women’s perceptions and self-esteem
and gender-based violence; poverty and illiteracy, insufficient resources allocated to women’s leadership structures and weak coordination of
women’s organizations, Persistent discrimination against women in the legal framework and non-compliance, instability, political tensions and the existence of conflict zones (Kasai, Tanganyika, South Kivu, North Kivu, Ituri). In light of this situation, the training contributed to the awareness of women leaders in South Kivu on this situation and build their capacities and skills to improve on their representation.
The women leaders at the June 2019 training institute not only learnt more about transformation leadership, women’s political leadership and UNSCR 1325 but they also shared their experiences as women’s rights activists, the lessons from their work in their communities as well the benefit of their leadership experiences both good and bad. During this institute, they strengthened their network of women leaders in the province.
The Peace Centre, Karibu Jeunesse Nouvelle (KJN) and Association des Femmes des Medias (AFEM) work in partnership to strengthen women’s capacity as change agents in peace building and post-conflict governance in South Kivu, Eastern D.R.C. On 29th May an online meeting was held for partners (4 women) to assess the current situation as impacted by COVID-19, understand the implications for planned activities and agree on a way forward. With a steep increase in gender-based violence, women’s exclusion from decision-making on COVID-19 response and limited access to information on preventive measure, the partners agreed to prioritise addressing these issues. As a result, the meeting defined future activities to include, translating key messages on COVD-19 prevention into local languages, radio talk shows and community meetings by women peace builders to sensitise the public on COVID-19. The Peace Centre also committed to conduct a training webinar on wellness and self-care to support the wellbeing and work of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in Bukavu.
On 16th June, the Peace Centre and National Alliance for Women Human Rights Defenders (NAWHRD) Nepal (5 women) also held an online meeting to discuss the current COVID-19 dynamics and prepare for the upcoming training of Deputy Mayors and District Vice Chairpersons in Kathmandu on gender budgeting, gender-responsive district planning and wellness under the theme Transformed Leadership for Transformation. The partners agreed on a timeline and methodology for the planned profiling of the work and impact of the institute’s alumnae in Nepal since 2007 including the previously trained Deputy Mayors and District Vice-Chairpersons.
By Helen Kezie-Nwoha
2020 marks the sixth global annual International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. This year has been particularly challenging for the entire world with the COVID-19 pandemic but much more for women and girls’ refugees, who are already living in very difficult circumstances with limited access to social services and livelihood options. COVID-19 and the measures put in place by governments to curb its spread has led to increased human rights violations and particularly painfully, to sexual violence against refugee women and girls’. Despite the March 23, 2020, global call for ceasefire by the UN Secretary-General, conflicts have continued in many countries exposing women and girls to displacements and increased risk of sexual violence. This is not to say that it is absent in so-called peaceful countries; in fact, sexual violence has increased globally due to COVID-19. This blog discusses sexual violence against refugees women and girls in the time of COVID-19.
Globally the extent of conflict-related sexual violence is not known as a result of underreporting associated with stigma and intimidation of survivors, lack of adequate response mechanisms for survivors and reporting barriers particularly for refugee women and girls. The United Nations Secretary General’s report on conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) indicates that both state and non-state actors are responsible for sexual violence, which has been used to displace communities. We see examples across conflict-affected Africa. In South Sudan, allied militia raped women and girls as part of a campaign to drive opponents out of southern Unity State. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Twa and Luba militia used sexual violence as a means of repression, terror and control. In Burundi, armed actors gang-raped and sexually humiliated detainees perceived as political opponents. In Nigeria, sexual violence has been used as a tactic of terrorism as women and girls have been targeted for abduction and sexual abuse by extremist groups.
Women and girls forcibly displaced by conflict and seeking refuge from violence remain at risk. In refugee situations data on the true prevalence of sexual and gender based violence during COVID-19 is lacking. However, preliminary data obtained from the Women’s International Peace Centre-trained Women Peace Mediators provides the nature, causes and responses to sexual violence against women and girls in refugee contexts in West Nile, northern Uganda. The most prevalent cases include defilement, early and forced marriages, survival sex and domestic violence.
Defilement: in the month of April and May, Women Peace Mediators reported seven (7) defilement cases involving girls aged 14 to 17 years in Zones 1, 3 & 5 in Yumbe and Maaji refugee camps in Adjumani. Two of the perpetrators were arrested, one ran away and the other is negotiating to marry the victim. There has been no follow up with the cases as the police is more concerned with ensuring that the population adhere to COVID-19 lockdown rules. Some parents due to shame and stigma prefer to negotiate with the perpetrator to marry the victim and earn money from bridal dowry. In some cases, parents falsify the age of their daughters by increasing it to 18 years or above so she is forced to marry the perpetrator.
Forced marriages: Six (6) cases of young girls forced to marry during COVID-19 have been reported in Nyumanzi refugee resettlement. Many parents who cannot afford to take care of their families are forcing young girls to marry and limiting their opportunity to finish school. Another reported case of forced marriage is of a 17-year-old girl who was raped by a 23-year-old man, and has been forced to marry the perpetrator. This situation is made worse by limited access to health care services in the refugee settlements. The Women Peace Mediators were able to refer the survivor for emergency post-rape medical care and counselling. The social norms and practices impede access to justice for these young women rape survivors by pushing for marriages to the perpetrator
In April 2020 the World Food Programme announced reduction in food ration for over 1.4million refugees in Uganda, South Sudan DRC and Burundi due to COVID-19. This has led to increased domestic violence among refugees in northern Uganda as food rations have been reduced from 12kg to 8kg which is barely enough for families. Due to restricted movement many cannot go out to work and earn additional money to provide for the family, the lack of enough food is leading to tensions within the household and domestic violence against women from men demanding for food or who sell off the ration received to supplement for other household needs. In Bidibidi settlement in Yumbe District, the Women Peace Mediators recorded thirty-six (36) domestic violence cases in April and forty-two (42) cases in May 2020.
Survival sex: Many young women have fallen prey to older men who are offering money for items such as sanitary pads, food and panties. This is because a lot of families cannot afford these basic items due to high poverty levels particularly among refugees who do not have access to paid work or diverse livelihood sources. In addition, with the lockdown and limited movement opportunities to earn a living are squashed even further. Young women who get pregnant often engage in unsafe abortions, as there is limited access to reproductive health services, thus exposing them to further reproductive health risks and in some cases, or death.
The main challenges from the forgoing are that COVID-19 is increasing poverty and vulnerabilities of refugee women and girls to sexual and gender based violence. Yet, little attention is paid to this horrendous impact of COVID-19. Most of the resources for COVID-19 are being used to ensure security, thus replicating responses in traditional conflict or crisis setting where attention is paid to securing the borders and amassing tools to enforce state security at the expense of human security.
As we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict all stakeholders must ensure women and girls refugees are safe and live in dignity. To achieve this, it is important that humanitarian response ensure enough food is available for refugees. Interventions working to reduce and eliminate sexual violence need to be scaled up to ensure deterrence and end impunity, perpetrators must be apprehended and penalised to ensure justice for victims. Responses by all actors should take a holistic approach that addresses the socio economic needs of refugee women and girls . In addition, all COVID-19 committees at all levels should include refugees women and girls to ensure their needs and concerns are taken into account in all decision-making and implementation of the response including post COVID-19 planning.
 UNSG 2018 Annual Report on Conflict Related Sexual Violence. https://www.un.org/sexualviolenceinconflict/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/report/s-2019-280/Annual-report-2018.pdf
 UNSG 2018 Annual Report on Conflict Related Sexual Violence. Pg. 5
 Food rations to 1.4 million refugees cut in Uganda due to funding shortfall. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/apr/14/food-rations-to-14-million-refugees-cut-in-uganda-due-to-funding-shortfall-coronavirus-world-food-programme
Between 6th and 10th June, The Peace Centre partnered with District Local Governments of Lira, Soroti, Gulu, Arua, Kotido and civil society partners (Teso Women’s Peace Activists (TEWPA) in Tubur, Soroti, Nakere Rural Women Activists (NARWOA) in Panyangar, Kotido, Refugee Law Project in Awach-Paibona, Gulu, African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) in Ogur, Lira and Uganda Victims Foundation in Dadamu, Arua to conduct 5 community dialogues at sub-county level on Transitional Justice. These gathered 75 local leaders and community members (especially women and victims’ representatives) to raise awareness of the Transitional Justice policy, reflect on the radio poll questions, discuss key post-conflict concerns and make specifics recommendations to leaders.
These community dialogues provided an opportunity for off-air discussions with community members whose voices were typically excluded from radio discussions and responses to polls, which required access to mobile phones, radio, and time away from domestic tasks occurring during radio prime time. Specifically, the dialogues sought to engage, capture and amplify the
voices of victims/survivors at the grassroots level, including typically excluded such as women and persons with disability to discuss their post-conflict concerns and engage their leaders to take action.
The Kotido Resident District Commissioner, Chief Accounting Officer and Regional Police Inspector provided an update on compensation cases, acknowledged challenges in the justice system and committed to following up on documented violations such as cattle raids, domestic violence and gender-based violence to ensure action or provide updates. In Lira, the Community Development Officer and LC 3 Chair committed to engage cultural leaders and Parish Chiefs to follow up on the cases of evicted formerly abducted women and children in Ogur sub-county and ensure their return to the land.
The Peace Centre on 12th June joined the African Union Youth Envoy, the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN), Zimbabwe Young Women’s Network for Peace Building and ACCORD South Africa to discuss conflict prevention and mitigation as well as the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the strategies and work of women and young women peacebuilders. The online conversation included reflections on how the women, peace and security and youth peace and security frameworks can be used to tackle the impact of COVID-19.
COVID-19 has taught us to rethink the Youth Peace and Security Agenda to the Youth, Peace and Development agenda. Exclusion of youth has not worked and we need to move the narrative from youth as perpetrators of violence to youth as agents of Peace.- Aya Chebbi, AU Youth Envoy
It is time we change the approach to peacebuilding; we need to make sure that there is a deliberate and conscious effort that Women Peace and Security is equal to the Youth Peace and Security agenda. We must not replicate the discrimination against women to young women.- Helen Kezie-Nwoha, Executive Director, Women’s International Peace Centre
The only way that we will be able to deliver on the Youth Peace and Security agenda and the Women Peace and Security agenda is when we come together. But this will require Africa’s Governments to help us overcome divides created by weak infrastructure. – Verlaine-Diane Soobroydoo, Policy Advisor on Women Peace and Security Focal Person, African Women Leaders Network.
We need to be inclusive and understand the unique challenges and opportunities for grassroots organising- Pravina Makan-Lakha,, General Manager Operations, ACCORD.
The need to engage more of the grassroots community youth mediators especially young women to build sustainable peace is the way to go.- Natasha Mutuwa, Coordinator, Young Women’s Network for Peace.
The Peace Centre shared from the experience of on-going work with women peacebuilders and Women Mediators Networks in refugee settlements and hosting districts in Uganda. Participants in the dialogue also discussed the impact of the pandemic on the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and explored opportunities to develop resilience and move the WPS agenda forward.
Uganda currently hosts over 1.4million refugees and asylum seekers under her open-door policy according to Uganda Comprehensive Refugee Portal. and 82% of them are women and children and approximately 61.8% of all refugees are from South Sudan. COVID-19 has forced a lot of changes to the world we live in. Refugees already far away from home, are having to cope with lockdown restrictions, food reductions amidst the pandemic. They face immense and unique challenges that make some communities more vulnerable to infectious diseases – from living in close quarters to lack of clean water for handwashing. This pandemic, therefore, presents a worrying situation for the refugees in Uganda as the country is under lockdown; social distancing is almost impossible, food distribution and access to necessities such as health care are curtailed by the movement restrictions resulting from the lockdown and evening curfews hence worsening the pre-existing challenges in settlements.
“Covid 19 lockdowns and quarantines seem to be reducing crime rates outside. But inside- at home- increased rates of domestic abuse are a reminder of another kind of global pandemic; violence against women and children. “ Mona Elthaway
As COVID-19 threatens refugee settlements around the world, it is becoming more urgent to listen to the voices of women to better understand their needs and coping strategies during this period. Listen to our mini-podcast series that gives you a brief look in the world of the refugee women coping and surviving COVID-19 in Nyumanzi and Bidibidi settlements in Uganda here
Martine Kaliza Mirindi is a civil society actor promoting women’s and girls’ rights and advocating for peaceful resolution of conflicts in North Kivu province. She is the founder of an organization called Women for Democracy and Fight against Violence (WDFV). Martine holds an Advanced Degree in Law, specializing in Private and Judicial law from Université Ouverte/CIDP-Nord –Kivu completed in 2007 Martine KALIZA MIRINDI is very passionate about serving and is motivated in her work to defend the most vulnerable. She is also ambitious to join the political life so that she may bring in her innovative ideas for the common good of the people of the DRC. She is passionate about a number of things including love, nature, music, drama, dance.
Martine chose to take part in the Leadership Institute in order to enhance her leadership skills and to understand what others are doing but also to have that experience. Her expectations with the institute included; the need to gain sufficient knowledge on leadership, getting the necessary tools from the training, and following the program adapting the training content to specific audiences. I am passionate about feminist leadership and often I think for me it was inborn because even in our family, there is no decision that can be taken without my say. Even without considering my family, this applies to my work, in all the associations and groups where I belong, I am always chosen as a leader. I believed that the institute would help me to; gain sufficient knowledge on leadership, get the necessary tools from the training and following the program enable me to adapt the training content to the audience.
The Institute lived up to all my expectations. There are many things that I leant from the Institute which continue to make a difference in my work. I will mention just a few:
-Who is a leader;
-How does one become a leader;
-Characteristics of a leader;
-Ways of overcoming challenges;
Following the training, Martine was able to work out different strategies in order to succeed even in small things that she often neglected yet they are very important for the community. She was able to raise awareness among women who did not go very far with studies, to get them involved at their level and develop their leadership skills for the benefit of the community.
The facilitators positively impacted my time with the institute.We always had to give feedback about what we had learnt during the training and mine was always positive feedback. It was quite a good interface! It strengthened both the young women and senior members of civil society organizations in the training and we were they asked for replicate such experiences.
Despite her passion and drive, Martine talks about the challenges faced in her line of work asdemoralization on the side of the women, their lack of meaningful involvement in the fight for the promotion of women’s rights, fear, stigma and some men who do not want to be part of the common cause for women empowerment.
“In order to overcome these challenges, we have been organizing meetings among women themselves as well as those with men in order to discuss and share knowledge on themes about women’s rights advancement. It has helped a lot in bringing cohesion and harmony as well as leading to some men to be part of the women’s cause.”
Martine has there are several plans and prospects lined up for African women. For instance, giving them the opportunity to submit projects in order to meet the needs of vulnerable people. I have attended several training sessions at the National level in Kinshasa, on the provincial level in Nord Kivu and South Kivu as well as on the international level in Burundi, Rwanda, Thailand and Uganda. The trainings focused on advocacy, electoral process, election observation, environmental and cross-border education, gender-based violence, UNSCR 1325, civic education, gender and elections, restorative justice, classroom practice, gender and protection, leadership, gender mainstreaming in programs/projects, parenting skills, etc. I hope to use these in the efficient startup and
Her advice to young women who are aspiring to be leaders is firstly encouraging them to attend to undergo this training.
In order to learn from experience, to fight for the advancement of their rights and more importantly to be able to participate in the decision making process them to join non-violent movements, women groups or political parties and to especially engage in entrepreneurship so as to empower yourselves as young leaders, consider this institute.
And lastly,sisterhood (solidarity among women) is very important because it promotes equality in our professional life as well as in our simple daily deeds. For the sake of sisterhood, we are not giving up. On the professional level, sisterhood brings about more equality. And I agree with this quote from the Washington post:” If a woman comes up with an idea that is later not taken in, another woman will take it up and will credit her colleague for having brought it up”
What’s your name and what do you do at Women’s International Peace Centre ?
My name is Racheal Juan. I’m a Project Assistant and Focal Point for South Sudan at Women’s International Peace Centre. It is an exciting job. I engage with many people that share our vision as an organization. The young enthusiastic women are the most exciting because we have mutual dreams and goals for the women and girls of South Sudan.
I’m the “go-to person” for news updates on South Sudan especially those in line with Women, Peace and Security. Also, I love to help in any situation.
What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on?
I am working on building my conflict resolution and peacebuilding skills. My aim is to be an addition to experts and strategists seeking to realize lasting global peace.
What’s your go-to productivity trick?
I watch documentaries related to the work I do this ignites my motivation. Because of the long time conflicts in South Sudan, these are usually sad documentaries on conflict and post-conflict situations. This reminds me of the urgency and need to get the work done now. Music is also helpful especially preparing a playlist to match the work I’m about to do. In addition to that, I inform those around me about the work that I need to do so that they hold me accountable for what is not done. These have been quite helpful and I’d recommend that we explore what works for us to be productive at all times. Oh, the snacks! Let’s not forget the in-between 5-10 minute breaks with fruits and nuts.
What led you to this career?
I grew up in a foreign country and never got experience from my country, South Sudan. I listened to grievances of my people and this was motivation enough for me to build myself to be of influence to humanitarian intervention, policy formulation and implementation. I have also read a number of books and articles urging young people to pay attention to politics and policies. This is the only way our livelihoods will not be legislated out of existence. This is why I chose Governance and International Relations.
How has COVID-19 affected you or what have you learnt about the importance of our work during this time?
From anxiety to panic to acceptance. The Corona Virus Disease has affected my personal and work routines. It is exhausting to believe that 2020 was going to be a great year not only for me but women working for peace and security. With the closure of borders and restrictions put in place, there has been a negative impact on sources of livelihood and other existential activities. Sexual violence and gender-based violence continues to prevail even through the pandemic. This is a lesson learnt for feminist organisations. We must continue to strive to provide physiological needs, protection and legal services to women and girls across the world.
What energizes you at work?
Believe it or not, I like organizing materials. A new set of pens, notebooks, stick notes always renew my motivation to do my work. In addition to this, I like collective or communal work where we have to work together to achieve an objective. It is always exciting to get ideas from colleagues. The happy hour that prioritizes wellness at The Centre is another powerful energizer that encourages us to relax and have discussions that are not work-related. This helps us to relax and resume work with fresh and optimistic minds.
The one thing that surprised me about working at the centre was wide-ranging nature of Women, peace and security(WPS). Before I joined the Peace Centre, I never imagined how broad the WPS agenda is. I am learning and I love it. It has created a community of women that I can rely on to increase my knowledge and skills and further transform my attitude as a young woman professional.
What’s a work-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of?
Being able to take the lead in sourcing and creating a platform for 20 South Sudanese young women has been a bonus in my “work-related accomplishments” collection. This group that is called Young Women Leading for Peace is has got enthusiastic brave and talented young women that are working to contribute to sustainable peace in South Sudan.
If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be?
I’d really love to be an expert in conflict resolution, building peace and leading a country with accountability and legitimacy. This is driven from the passion I have to exist and live peacefully with others in a nurturing and fair environment. Imagine having robust skills, attitude and knowledge to bring sustainable peace in the world. Actually I should snap my fingers now because we need more of this expertise more than ever now.
What energizes you outside of work?
Shopping; be it clothes, tiny necklaces, home décor, perfumes!! and food for my myself and loved ones. Music is another powerful energizer. I don’t want to see a world without music. If I have tones of errands and chores waiting for me, I usually lose the interest to do it but with music, anything is possible.
What’s one book/ moment that changed you, and why?
Here, I’ll choose the book because the moments are multiple. Evening primrose by Kopana Matlwa. From the beginning of the book, I knew it was going to change me. It highlighted the vital role of love and acceptance of oneself and others. I’d recommend it to everyone in a heartbeat.
What’s one of your favorite memories from the past year?
Definitely my graduation day. I felt many things. I was nervous but mostly excited. I finally saw myself a step closer, step closer to becoming Dr. Juan, for the thrill of it and because Dr. looks great on my name. I had obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Governance and International Relations with honours. You can hear the honours sound to it. Bliss! I think the best gift to give every child is education. Education coupled with life skills nurture us, build us and expose us to all that life offers.
What advice would you give to women interested in the WPS agenda?
I’d advise them to be as committed and consistent as possible. Read and build intellect. Also, self-care is important. You have to take care of yourself so that you take care of others. It is a great field and we should all be part of it. I guess that’s enough.
Due to the pandemic, the event, known as #SheInspiresMe, will be entirely virtual this year, with a packed schedule of live sessions with well-known, successful and inspiring women from across the globe.
United Nations, Indian Army Major Suman Gawani, honoured with the prestigious UN gender advocate award, has underscored the importance of female peacekeepers in the front ranks, saying it helps bring a “sense of security” among the survivors of a conflict.
This week, the Permanent Missions of the United Arab Emirates and Ireland to the United Nations and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, GIWPS, hosted a high-level virtual panel discussion on advancing women’s role in economic recovery and climate resilience in post-conflict settings.
United Nations, UNSG Antonio Guterres honoured peacekeepers Major Suman Gawani from India and Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo from Brazil with the 2019 UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award, saying their “inspiring work” promotes equality in the forces.
Amid COVID-19, strong multilateral system key to delivering for world’s most vulnerable, European Union Foreign Policy Chief tells Security Council.
Pakistan’s women peacekeepers; With nearly 4,462 uniformed personnel serving in some of the most dangerous UN missions, such as in the Central African Republic and Mali, Pakistan is the sixth largest contributor to UN peace operations.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on the account of International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers Reiterates To Wage Peace And Build Better Future.
With more COVID-19 cases being reported in neighbouring South Sudan and DRC, refugees crossing the porous Uganda borders and more conflict incidences reported by Women Mediators Networks, The Peace Centre extended support to the district COVID-19 response taskforces of Yumbe, Adjumani and Kotido to scale up prevention and response measures. Fuel was provided which enabled the task force to coordinate emergency response activities including the provision of health care services, awareness-raising campaign on preventive measures and individual case management of other emergencies. The Peace Centre is now a member of the Districts COVID 19 response taskforces and participates in the decision-making and coordination structures.
Between 19th and 25th May, The Peace Centre team checked on the progress of women leaders in Arua, Kassanda and Kapelebyong who were trained on participation in decision-making processes, early warning and early response, electoral processes, conflict monitoring and reporting. The exercise also sought to identify any challenges and capacity support needs.
Some of the key achievements reported include;
Women’s International Peace Centre organized a series of webinars with Women Human Rights Defenders and young women leaders from South Sudan on promoting self-care and healing through rituals. The objective of the webinar was to help women to reconnect with each other and learn how to take care of themselves before they take care of others, especially for those that engage in defending human rights and advocating for young women representation and participation in peace processes in South Sudan.
The webinar also shared tips which encompassed both personal and organisational healing practices with the aim of supporting women human rights defenders and the women they support so that they can apprehend wholeness, be whole, and create wholeness.
The webinars were cohosted by Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice (CIGPJ), Crown the Woman both based in Juba, South Sudan and Women Human Rights Defenders Network-Uganda.
The sessions included Self-care and healing tips like;
How do you start your day in such a way that you are rooted, grounded, disciplined, and motivated? How do you ensure that the children and other household members know that you are working and respect that? How do you keep to the working routines?
Without grounding, we are unstable; we lose our centre and spend our days day-dreaming when in actual fact we are supposed to be working. Through grounding, we gain nourishment, power, stability, and growth. When we are grounded we enjoy our work, even if we are working at home and on our own. We can embrace stillness, solidity, inner security and clarity. We can also ground out stresses of everyday life and increase our vitality. We are rooted and that which has roots will endure.
Being part of a strong and dependable community strengthens one’s individuality by supporting the expression of enjoyment of one’s unique gifts and talents. An authentic community wants to see all its members flourish and function at optimum potential. Create a community within the workspace that follows rituals. It gives a sense of belonging. Sense of belonging is a form of security, a safety net.
Art is universal language and what better medicine for global pandemic than a global language? There is no eART without art. . Art may involve, painting, designing dress music, poetry, dancing, making your dining table beautiful, decorating your kitchen etc. Art is universal language and what better medicine for global pandemic than a global language? There is no eART without art. . Art may involve, painting, designing dress music, poetry, dancing, making your dining table beautiful, decorating your kitchen etc.
The increased burden of tasks, often undertaken with reduced access to food, medicines and recreational facilities, can be physically, emotionally and psychologically draining. It can reduce your fire;the rising force that makes us do, see, feel, love, and hate. If individuals are to keep up energy during this difficult time, it is the fire of their WILL that will that they liberate themselves from fixed patterns and create new behaviour; steering them from the path of least resistance, hate addictive habit or the expectations of others.
The nourishment and support of the nature grants us the feeling of belonging that allows us to expand and grow because we feel strong. Our well-being depends on this feeling of belonging; walking barefoot, the fresh smell from the trees, the scenery can be really helpful in handling stress and workload.
• Physical exercises a way of releasing all the toxins. It is good for your body and mind.
• Communication. It is important that we communicate and effectively. Try to listen and learn to say no when need be. Often times we are afraid to reject for fear of being looked as negligent or unserious with work.
“This is all about sisterhood and valuing our wellbeing. this session is to give us tips on how to ground, love and center ourselves as Women Human Rights Defenders who can transform communities but starting with ourselves.” Juliet Were, Deputy Executive Director at The Peace Centre
The Executive Director of Crown the Women, Riya Yudaya expressed her joy in having the conversation on self-care and healing and emphasized the importance of its inclusion at both personal and organisational level.
Jackline Nasiwa, Executive Director, CIGPJ also appreciated the presence of the South Sudanese participants in the space. ‘Sisterhood and inclusion in this session of selfcare is critical at this time when we are prone to burn out” She said.
Following violent conflict between South Sudanese Nuer and Dinka youth, including kidnapping, maiming, death and interruption of government’s distribution of learning materials, The Peace Centre hosted a mediation session on 22nd May, including the Adjumani Women Mediators Network in partnership with UNHCR, Office of the Prime Minister and Adjumani District Local Government. 72 leaders (55 men and 17 women) discussed the conflict situation, identified the triggers and agreed to report conflict indicators to duty bearers before they turn into violence. Both Nuer and Dinka leaders (except for one) were remorseful, pledged to actively prevent violent conflict and to engage the youth to stop fighting. The leaders have since held dialogues with the youth as agreed during the mediation and district leadership reported improved relationship among the leaders of the different South Sudanese refugee communities.
The Peace Centre in partnership with International Center for Transitional Justice -Uganda hosted a tweet chat on Transitional Justice in the Face of COVID-19.
A new campaign led by women with strong professional qualifications and global experience in more than 50 organizations plans to change the mind-set on feminist foreign policies in the United States.
As Africa braces for its first recession in 25 years, one group of global experts will gather to consider ways in which coordinated policy support can help economies recover more quickly.
In observance of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, on 29th May, Secretary-General António Guterres will lay a wreath to pay tribute to all the UN blue helmets who have lost their lives since 1948.
Rights group West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) said in a report that the upsurge in sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) owing to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was a concern in The Gambia.
Within the framework of joint efforts the Public Security Directorate (PSD) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) have strengthened their partnership to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
UN Deputy Secretary-General Warns against Shifting Resources from Gender-Equality Initiatives, in Remarks to ‘Women’s Participation in Peacebuilding’ Event.
The Ugandan ministry of Gender, labour and social development has reported that over 106 billion shillings has been distributed to various women groups under Uganda Women Entrepreneurship programme.
The June 2019 National Transitional Justice Policy provides a framework to guide formal and informal justice processes that address the justice, accountability and reconciliation needs in post-conflict situations with the aim of promoting national reconciliation, peace and justice. Through a 6-month radio campaign, WIPC and partners ICTJ-Uganda, AYINET, RLP, FIDA-Uganda have partnered with TracFM to collect real-time data from citizens using polls on the themes of the transitional justice policy. Through radio talk shows, citizens will discuss their conflict experiences, the lingering impact of human rights violations, efforts of different actors and appropriate measures for recovery, reconciliation and redress for victims and war-affected communities moving forward. This will be structured to align with the strategic priorities and key crosscutting issues in the policy. by pace centre and track fm.
As part of the ongoing campaign, on the 27th of May, 2020, Women’s International Peace Centre working with the ICT and Track Fm organized a tweet chat to examine the impact of the #COVID19UG outbreak, response & containment measures on Transitional Justice efforts as well as how it affects the lives of victims & survivors primarily in Northern Uganda. In hopes of answering the question; What happens to justice, particularly transitional justice in the face of a pandemic?
The tweetchat was moderated by Rosebell Kagumire, @RosebellK, a Pan African Feminist, and Editor AfriFeminists, a platform that documents narratives and experiences of African women on the continent and the diaspora.
With a panel of Transitional Justice experts including Teddy Apunyo, a Researcher with more than 15 years’ experience working as a practitioner and researcher in humanitarian emergencies and post conflict settings. Bako Patricia, a Lawyer by training who is enthusiastic about criminal justice with an international and national perspective, human rights and international Law. Sarah Kihika Kasande is the Head of Office -Uganda, International Center for Transitional Justice and an Advocate of Courts of Judicature in Uganda. Nicholas Opiyo a Human Rights Lawyer and the Executive Director of chapterfourug a civil rights organization that provides research, advocacy and outreach services to influence laws, policies and practices in the interest of civil liberties and human rights. And Juliet Were, Deputy Executive Director, The Peace Centre and a Feminist Researcher who has conceptualized & coordinated studies on Governance, Peace and Security; Women’s Health issues in DRC, Liberia, Sierra Leonne, Burundi & Nepal.
The tweet chat was a great way to create awareness about the campaign, share different views and involve more people in the discussion about transitional Justice with as more than 7,000 social media users were able to interact with the hashtag. Incase you missed this timely discussion you can look it up under #TransitionalJusticeUg
There is now a major concern that COVID-19 and its impact will push back fragile progress on gender equality, the implementation of existing legislation and broader progress needed to achieving justice for all.
“Voices of Peace Corps COVID-19 Evacuees,” highlights the need for extending existing benefits and programming that supports them during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We cannot speak of sustainable peace if we do not include women in the process.” Clare Hutchinson, NATO’s High Representative for Women, Peace and Security.
Here are five immediate actions individuals and governments can take to protect women and girls in the most vulnerable situations throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
In 2000, the UN Security Council unanimously recognized that the key to peace and security lies in the equal participation of women in civil society; We must listen to women’s warnings about the Middle East.
The Transformation Leadership Panel (TLP), an initiative of the Africa Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), will meet to review COVID-19 interventions in Africa.Women peacekeepers from Brazil and India share UN military gender award
KUNO in cooperation with partners, introduced the KUNO Covid Café. In a bid to discuss Covid-19 crisis and the challenge its posing to the world in unprecedented ways and how it’s influencing our daily lives they looked at the consequences of the Covid-crisis in the Global South.
The speakers in this episode were:
Helen Kezie-Nwoha, Executive Director of Women’s International Peace Centre, who gave a feminist perspective on the Covid crisis in Sub-Sahara Africa.
Hassiba Hadj-Sahraoui, MSF Amsterdam, gave a view on the impact of Covid 19 on the MSF operations in the Mediterranean Sea and in the detention centers for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Libya.
Samah Hadid, Oxfam in Yemen, on the preexisting humanitarian situation and the Covid crisis in Yemen
Women’s International Peace Centre joined members of the Gender Is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) Network to draft a statement issued on 15th May 2020 in Addis Ababa to the African Union Commission and AU member states, on the national level and regional responses to COVID-19, the need to mitigate increasing consequences on women and girls and prevent amplification of existing vulnerabilities. The Peace Centre included the case of women in conflict and conflict-affected settings and called for prioritization of targeted measures and resources to ensure the participation of refugee and internally displaced women and girls in COVID-19 decision-making structures and post-COVID-19 recovery and resilience programming that includes access to justice following the increased levels of sexual violence.