Meet Our Alumni: Alice Emasu Seruyange

Alice Emasu Seruyange is an outstanding journalist, media guru who is passionate about gender equality and social justice in Uganda. She is the founder of The Association for the Rehabilitation and Re-orientation of Women for Development (TERREWODE) a non-government organization with the vision of Empowered women and girls embracing the world with improved livelihoods and an Alumni of the Peace Centre’s feminist institute.

After her participation in the Feminist Institute, Alice continued with heightened commitment to support women affected by fistulae to promote social justice.  Obstetric fistula (incl. vesicovaginal and recto-vaginal fistula) is present in conflict settings but remains neglected due to its complicated and stigmatic nature. Moreover, fistulae are characteristic of war-torn areas like the Teso sub-region in Uganda, the region that TERREWODE serves.

Given the high need for fistulae repairs in the post-conflict Teso sub-region, TERREWODE under the leadership of Alice has grown in capacity with highly professional staffing, an Executive Board of Directors, with a team of committed medical professionals.  Today, TERREWODE has a model institutional infrastructure to continually support the health, psychological and economic needs of women affected by fistulae. Alice shared that attending the Institute training broadened her initial dream of contributing to the transformation of the health systems to deliver for vulnerable women and girls including those suffering from the neglected Obstetric Fistula.

TERREWODE has supported over 800 women and girls fistulae survivors.  Alice opened in 2019 the first hospital in Uganda and the third in Africa dedicated to women suffering from obstetric fistula. The hospital conducts 200 surgeries per year and treat and reintegrate 600 women per year;15,000 women and girls affected by fistula treated and reintegrated. The hospital is the first specialized in Uganda and  an expansion of TERREWODE, the NGO I founded way back in 1999.

Alice also participated in the development of a National Strategy for Reintegrating young obstetric fistula survivors by the Ministry of Health in Uganda.  With her outstanding work on hand, Alice has been recognized and celebrated with:

  • The prestigious award for her outstanding Reporting on Population and Development issues, and Economic and SRHR of rural women and girls (Dec. 2007).
  • Golden Jubilee Award- Women and Girl Child Empowerment, Government of Uganda (2020)

Alice observes that the experience she gained through the Institute enabled me to be more aware of the impact of SGBV that women and girls experienced suffer  in the sub Saharan Africa.

Regional Learning and Networking Exchange Visit on Peace, Security and Justice

Women’s International Peace Centre as a Just Future partner organized and hosted a 4-day Regional Learning and Networking Exchange for local partners from Burundi, DRC and South Sudan for 22 delegates. The Regional Exchange targeted 20 representatives 4 Burundi (Bujumbura), 7 DRC (Kinshasa, Bukavu and Goma), 5 South Sudan (Juba) CSO partners and 4 Peace Centre staff. The practical learning space provided participants with a first-hand account from similar organisations and interaction with experts on Post Conflict peace building, building strong networks, access to justice through legal clinics as well lessons on Security Sector Reform, Women Peace and Security in the Great lakes region and built relationships with civil society.

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Launch Of The 2020 Report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on the Implementation of the Women Peace and Security Agenda In Africa

The Peace Centre joined the launch and dissemination of the 2020 report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on the implementation of the Women Peace and Security Agenda in Africa. This was hosted virtually by the Office of the Special Envoy for Women, Peace, and Security and attended by the Member States and other stakeholders on 22nd and 23rd September 2021. This is the second report based on the progress reports from regional economic communities and member states, developed using the Continental Results Framework (CRF). The meeting also launched the process of writing the 2021 Presidency Report on Women, Peace and Security. The two-day launch, which was a follow-up to the December 2019 meeting in Dakar, Senegal, was attended by high-level representatives from the Member States, regional economic communities/mechanisms; the United Nations, civil society organizations, centres of excellence, and gender networks. Read More “Launch Of The 2020 Report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on the Implementation of the Women Peace and Security Agenda In Africa”

Youth Peace Ambassadors Shaping Peace Together Tweet-Chat

The Peace Centre’s trained Youth Peace ambassadors in commemoration of 2021’s World Peace Day hosted a Tweet-chat under the theme “Shaping Peace Together” with a belief that shaping peace is everyone’s responsibility.  The Tweet chat explored opportunities for youth participation in peacebuilding in their communities and aimed to transform youth perspectives towards shaping peace as we all have a role to play towards shaping and ensuring peace and security.

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Community Based Peace Advocates and Mediators in Juba, Yei, Bor and Mundri Trained on Conflict Prevention And Resolution

The Peace Centre in partnership with the Centre for Inclusive Governance (CIGPJ), Peace and Justice conducted a three days training from 8th-10th September for  women and men in Mundri, Yei, Bor and Juba. The training was conducted to better prepare and equip community-based peace mediators with relevant skills and techniques, to localize conflict resolution skills within the community, to increase knowledge of why integrating a gender perspective is important and how it can strengthen peacebuilding and state building processes. Read More “Community Based Peace Advocates and Mediators in Juba, Yei, Bor and Mundri Trained on Conflict Prevention And Resolution”

International Day of Elimination of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

By Evelyn Birungi

Conflicts and wars remain gendered in their impact, having women mostly targeted and sexually violated. Sexual violence is defined as any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion. The United Nation General Assembly’s 2015 resolution proclaimed 19 June as a day to condemn and call for the end of conflict-related sexual violence, and honour victims, survivors and those fighting to end these most terrorizing and destructive of crimes. The date was deliberately chosen to commemorate UN Security Council Resolution 1820 (2008) which first recognized the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, rather than an unintended consequence of war.

Violence especially sexual violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, and the immediate and long-term physical, sexual, and mental consequences for women and girls can be devastating, including death. It negatively affects women’s general well-being and prevents women from fully participating in society. It impacts their families, their community, and the vital role of women in preventing conflict and helping to forge peace.

“Children conceived through wartime rape often struggle with issues of identity and belonging for decades after the guns have fallen silent. Their mothers may be marginalized and shunned by their own families and communities. On the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, we amplify the voices of these forgotten victims of war, who suffer stigma, shame and exclusion in societies polarized by armed conflict.”— UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

While there has been more international attention given to sexual violence in armed conflict, its still a problem that hasn’t gone away. This is because, it is used in war as power play. The male demand for female labor to perform female household chores persists during armed conflict. These patterns of social dominance and deeply engrained gender specific roles get violently expressed in wartime and women are sexually violated for the sins the perpetrators believe their communities have committed.

Secondly, outrage about rape in conflict have failed to translate into investigation and prosecution of perpetrators Over the past decade, estimates have been made that only 37% of reported rapes are prosecuted, and other research studies estimate that only 14-18% of reported sexual assaults of any kind lead to prosecution. Lastly, inadequate relief and recovery services for survivors of wartime sexual assault reflect official disregard for the harm women and girls suffer in the course of conflict and suggests a lack of commitment to facilitating rape survivors’ reintegration into society.

Collectively we can look and work towards a future free of conflict-related sexual violence by creating a world and culture where all are equal. Conflicts rarely happen abruptly, by monitoring and empowering women as peace builders, we can work towards a place where women are seen more than labor for household chores and keepers of the peace.

Governments and international systems of justice have the responsibility to put in place laws on prohibition and commit to investigations and punishment of these crimes. It definitely needs to go without saying that sexual violence, is a crime and cannot be justified. Sexual violence in armed conflicts must be subject to an absolute prohibition, the same status that the crime of torture currently enjoys.

 Governments committed to the recovery of sexual violence survivors must undertake efforts to improve women’s human rights in all aspects of their lives and eradicate discrimination against them. This includes incorporation and reaffirming its commitment to the continuing and full implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) . This would especially refer to the pillar on relief and recovery which calls for advancement of relief and recovery measures to address international crises through a gendered lens, including by respecting the civilian and humanitarian nature of refugee camps, and considering the needs of women and girls in the design of refugee camps and settlements.

Meet our Grassroots Partner- Nakere Rural Women Activists (NARWOA)

Nakere Rural Women Activists (NARWOA) is an umbrella Community-Based Organization for women groups that started out in November 2002. The group converged for meetings under a tree locally called ‘Ekere’ thus the name Nakere Rural Women Activists. It was established as a community response to the humanitarian crisis in Karamoja, to address cross border and inter-ethnic political instability, the rise of warlords, high domestic violence, and discrimination of women in the society and overall adverse poverty. Read More “Meet our Grassroots Partner- Nakere Rural Women Activists (NARWOA)”

Training Workshop on Understanding the AU, RECs/RM for Advocacy on Security, Justice and Peace

As a member of the Just Future alliance, The Peace Centre hosted a training workshop focused on understanding the African Union and Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms from 31 May to 4 June 2021 for the Just Future Partners. The Training was planned as an initial activity to contribute to strengthening the local and national CSOs in Burundi, DRC, and South Sudan to better influence security, justice and governance policies and practices in their countries and in the region.

30 representatives of CSO partners from Burundi (Bujumbura), DRC (Kinshasa, Bukavu and Goma), South Sudan (Juba) and Peace Centre staff in each of the countries with minimal exposure to or experience with regional advocacy participated in the training. The training was planned as an initial activity to contribute to strengthening the capacity /meeting the learning needs of local/national CSOs in Burundi, DRC and South Sudan to better influence security, justice and governance policies and practices: Lobby and advocate at regional level in support of the national processes by advocating for more people-centred practices: holding regional partners of state duty-bearers to account, and ensuring accountability towards the most excluded constituencies. 

Each day of the training covered particular themes such as understanding the global governance architecture and the space of multilateralism, the AU’s key policy priorities, including the continental blueprint, Agenda 2063, the Regional Economic Communities/ Regional Mechanisms (RECs/ RMs): their history, background, various structures and main legal and policy frameworks. The session on gender and inclusivity in the AU and RECs identified opportunities for strengthening women and youth participation in AU and RECs/ RMs structures and processes, and finally, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on CSOs work, particularly their lobbying and advocacy work.

The training also involved country team discussions to deepen sharing, learning, connectedness and work towards developing an advocacy plan and other practical training tools.  While the training was conducted online, participants gathered in physical locations in each city (Juba, Bujumbura, Bukavu and Kinshasa) to facilitate exchanges with colleagues from partner CSOs. 

By the end of the 5days training, participants were exposed to the entry points and opportunities for policy engagement, lobbying and advocacy, especially structures that they could collaborate with for an effective advocacy strategy including working more closely with the AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, the AU Youth Envoy, the AU Women, Gender and Development Directorate as well as the AU Youth Division. They also developed draft Joint Advocacy Strategies to address cross-cutting issues in Burundi, DRC and South Sudan.

Additionally, the training workshop provided a platform for peer-to-peer exchange and enabled deeper reflection issues facing CSOs in conflict and post-conflict countries.  This creation of platforms and spaces for CSOS to meet, exchange, reflect and strategize, and investment in fostering intergenerational dialogue is important. The Just Future Programme has an opportunity to continue bringing CSOs from select countries to share experiences and realities and discuss agendas and strategies.

 

Creating a Movement of Women Peace Builders and Mediators, Meet Noella

Noella Kabale Kalu is a Gender Equality Activist, Social Entrepreneur, Peace Mediator in the Congolese refugee community in Kampala and an alumna of our 2020 Feminist Leadership Institute. Following her training, Noella has been able to share the knowledge acquired within her community, create intensive awareness around peacebuilding and conflict resolution, and mediate conflict amongst community members at the household and community level using the feminist ideology of promoting love, empathy, and unity.

Read More “Creating a Movement of Women Peace Builders and Mediators, Meet Noella”

Launch of the Research on 20 Years of Implementing UNSCR1325 in South Sudan

The month of June kicked off with the official launch of our research report on 20 years of implementing the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in South Sudan with support from the Forum for Women and Development (FOKUS) and in partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare (MoGCSW) in Juba. The launch was attended by 43 participants comprising of representatives from ministries including the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Ministry of mining, MoGCSW, Ministry of East African Community Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Embassy of Sweden in Juba, development partners and CSOs.

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