In this year’s annual report, we share the highlights of our year and the wins we have registered in seeking to ensure that peace and security centers and benefits women in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nepal, South Sudan and Uganda. You are welcome to read about these achievements in this report and can find more details on our website.
Download: 2022 Annual Report
In April 2023 Sudan was plunged into armed conflict creating a devastating impact on the population, particularly women and girls, who are among the most vulnerable in conflict situations. Khartoum’s state was the epicentre of the conflict, that resulted in the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians, wanton destruction of infrastructure, an unprecedented dire humanitarian situation, and gross violations of International Humanitarian.
The Peace and Security Council at the African Union Heads of State and Government meeting developed and adopted a Roadmap for the Political Transition in Sudan, which aims at establishing mechanisms to coordinate support for Sudan, secure an immediate, permanent, inclusive, and unconditional cessation of hostilities, strengthen the humanitarian response, ensure the protection of civilians, infrastructure, and compliance with international humanitarian law, give impetus to the agency of neighbouring states, and
promote the resumption of an inclusive, fully representative political process.
2. Call for Expression of Interest
The Women’s International Peace Centre invites suitable candidates to conduct a gender analysis of the AU Roadmap for Political Transition in Sudan. The analysis is aimed at ensuring that the roadmap is gender-responsive to the unique needs of women, men, boys and girls in Sudan.
The objective of the consultancy is to conduct a gender analysis of the AU roadmap to ensure a gender responsive and transformative peace process in Sudan.
4. Scope of Work/Duties and Responsibilities
i. Review and analyse the African Union Roadmap for Political Transition in Sudan and identify gender gaps
ii. Provide recommendations for the identified gaps to inform policy engagement in each stage of the Roadmap.
iii. Develop a report and policy brief with suggested actions to ensure gender
responsive political processes.
i. Inception Meeting with WIPC
ii. Inception report on the data collection methodology
iii. Draft comprehensive analytical report
iv. Draft policy brief
v. Final report and policy brief.
6. Qualifications, Experience and Required Skills
The consultant should have post-graduate qualifications in gender, peace and security studies, human rights, or other social science areas.
She or he should also meet the following criteria:
i. Minimum five (5) years of professional research experience related to the African Union and Peacebuilding, women, peace and security, gender equality, women’s empowerment, women’s rights and human rights at the national, regional, and international level
ii. At least ten (10) years of experience working with or within the international,
regional human rights mechanism or academia.
iii. Excellent understanding of gender and women in conflict
iv. Excellent understanding of feminist peacebuilding.
v. Excellent understanding of regional and global legal frameworks and policy
normative documents on women’s human rights, peace and security, and gender
equality in general;
vi. Sound expertise in the analysis and use of gender-responsive data and analysis.
7. Language Requirements
Proficiency in English is mandatory.
8. Duration of The Assignment
This assignment is for fifteen (15) days.
9. Evaluation Criteria
For evaluation of the expressions of interest, the following criteria will be applied:
i. General Education Qualification and Relevant Training (20 points);
ii. Demonstrated Experience Related to the Assignment (30 points);
iii. Technical approach and methodology (20 points)
iv. Work plan and draft report outline (20 points)
v. Language (10 points)
10. Application Process
Interested consultants should submit their cover letter addressed to the “Executive Director, Women’s International Peace Centre”, together with technical and financial proposals and curriculum Vitae (CV) of all the team members zipped in one folder. The proposal should describe how the consultant intends to undertake this assignment.
Applicants should also explain how their professional experiences match the skills and qualifications listed above.
Expression of Interest marked “Expression of Interest to Conduct a Gender Analysis of the African Union Road Map” should be submitted as a soft copy through the email address:
firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 25th September 2023.
Due to large numbers of applications, WIPC is unable to respond to all applicants therefore, only shortlisted candidates shall be contacted.
Please note: Applicants can apply as a group, as an individual, institution or organisation.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been a land marred by decades of conflict, instability, and the devastating consequences of war. Among the countless stories of resilience and hope emerging from this region, one group stands out – the associations of victims of serious crimes and conflicts, along with the children born of rape, in someites of South Kivu.
Photo by : African Union
South Sudan’s President, H.E. Salva Kiir, signed the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), one of the most advanced treaties on the protection of women’s and girls’ rights anywhere in the world into law on 24th February 2023 which was later launched on 16 July 2023 in the country.
On 23rd February 2023, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) met with civil society organizations, think tanks and faith-based organizations (FBOs) in Juba, South Sudan, to discuss the socio-political, economic and security situation in the country. Prior to the meeting, women-led civil society organisations (CSOs) held a preparatory meeting where they agreed on key issues of concern and the role of women in the implementation of the newly announced Roadmap to a Peaceful and Democratic end of the Transitional Period for peace.
Drawing on the discussions and recommendations put forward by the women-led CSOs during the engagement with the AU PSC, this information brief highlights key priorities for women in South Sudan’s peace and security agenda. It provides actionable recommendations for policymakers on how to strengthen the role of women-led CSOs in promoting gender equality and sustainable peace in South Sudan
CSO representatives nominated to present the identified issues to the Peace and Security Council were from Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice, Women’s International Peace Centre and the Young Women’s Christian Association.
Download the Information Brief : WIPC_Putting Women at the Centre of South Sudan’s Peace and Security Agenda 1
BEFORE AND AFTER UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1325
Democratic Republic of Congo- Reflections by Jolly Kamuntu
We live in conflict. It is the context in which we have evolved. The peculiarity of Eastern DRC is the battlefield, the rape capital of the world and a cemetery for journalists. Over the years the situation has taken different forms. Sexual violence before occurred during wars and was done by armed groups. Serial rapes were committed, women were buried alive and women were used as weapons of war. In reality, it was a message to the communities that if you do not surrender, if you don’t give in, women will be burned and buried alive.
Conflicts have set back the rights of women in DRC by 100 years. Conflicts made it possible for rapists to start trivializing sexual violence as more and more cases were reported and it was normalised. There is also lethargy at the national and international levels allowing leaders to not consider rape as an emergency.
This trivialization has tarnished the dignity of Congolese women. We must not be made to accept this into our culture. That is the fight we are taking on right now. I know there is rape and violence against women in other places, but not at the same rate and magnitude as in our case.
Women in DRC were the main victims of the different conflicts, the resulting insecurity. and the harmful effects of war despite not being consulted in the planning of armed violence.
We called for women to enjoy their right to security, especially in times of armed conflict. In such times, the protection of women and children must be given priority.
Before UNSCR 1325 our work as women’s rights defenders’ was challenged. People thought our demands and our plight were a joke. We had no clout. We did this because we were determined, and we are activists.
Even leaders would bring us down whenever we asked for backing. It was as if we were shouting in the desert and people were asking us where we had seen women participating in politics. They would tell us to leave decision making alone and concentrate on raising children.
However, when the UNSCR 1325 came in to support what we had been stressing, it was more acknowledged that women’s rights must be defended and recognised in conflict and post-conflict. Now we see that kind of disparaging language disappearing. When you quote frameworks like the UNSCR 1325, you can feel that they are afraid
Burundi- Reflections by Marie Louise Baricako
UNSCR 1325 emphasises prevention, protection, participation and reconstruction. Currently, the problem that women face in Burundi is mainly being excluded from all processes.
Women are not formally involved in prevention and neither are they systematically involved in protection. In Burundi, we see more women active in civil society and fewer in public institutions.
Violence intimidates women and prevents them from participating. Women are going to tell you that they don’t want to take part in politics because politics is dirty, politics is full of lies, corruption and violence. All this discourages women.
There is no serene or safe space for the participation of women, and I believe that this is the main reason as to why they do not participate.
Generally speaking, and I say this because I am convinced of it and I would like it to change, you will see that in Burundi there exist symbolic women’s appointments: what matters is the number. Whether they participate or not, whether they are capable or not, that’s not the problem. It’s that kind of thinking – we were asked to get 30% and we are going to get 30%. Even if in parliament they don’t discuss issues, either they don’t understand, or they’re not interested… what matters, we’re going to put them there so that no one will accuse us of not
Major Milestones Over the Past Twenty Years
There have been improvements in terms of legislation. Key legal provisions have been put in place, in particular, the law that reprimands rape and sexual violence, the family law and the law on parity or representation of women, which has improved both local governance and decentralisation. This law provides
for 30 percent representation of women in government institutions.
In the DRC, women are increasingly becoming aware of and demanding respect of their rights. More women have started to report abuses committed by men. For example, in eastern DRC, after a series of awareness-raising campaigns on rape and sexual violence, many women broke the silence and talked about the challenges they encounter, and they exposed their tormentors without fear
of being arrested. As a result, certain practices that discriminate against women are being scaled back.
Inheritance or land ownership rights in favour of women are increasingly discussed within families. This was not the case prior to the UNSCR 1325. This change explains to some extent the shift in mind-sets that is gradually permeating behavioural patterns in the Burundian and Congolese societies.
Various campaigns launched in favour of women’s education have enabled many girls to attend school in large numbers. In terms of economic empowerment, women are already taking on some responsibilities through local economic structures such as MUSOs (Mutual Solidarity Associations) and AVECs (Village Savings and Credit Associations), which enable women’s groups to gain access
to financial power through group and rotational loans.
These mechanisms have enabled poor women excluded from the conventional banking system to gain economic power and engage in income-generating activities.
In Burundi, progress on the status of women can also be seen in the decline of the negative attitude that society has always had about women. It is mainly the negative stereotypes and prejudices that stigmatise women. However, just like in the DRC, the involvement of women in civil society structures and political parties has had a great impact in changing attitudes and mindsets.
The UNSCR 1325 brought forward women not only as beneficiaries of the peace process in terms
of improving peace and security but also brought about a paradigm shift by presenting women
themselves as agents of peace.
Note: This article is an extract from our Women’s World Issue 51
By: Pauline Kahuubire
Election periods often confirm how deeply sexist countries are and also provide proof that discrimination against women and marginalised groups continue to exist.
In Uganda’s case, matters of concern to women were notably absent during the 2021 presidential campaigns. How is it that political issues were addressed but
the needs and demands of half of the country’s population were not taken into consideration?
There are some bright spots. Imagine if women were included in every phase of the electoral cycle, including maintaining peace during the process by interrogating patriarchal norms and other structural inequalities that are usually at the heart of disputes and conflict.
Imagine a mechanism that allowed women to participate in the political sphere from a peacebuilding perspective, and not just as a mere boxticking exercise but one that promoted and valued the power of their agency in fragile, conflict and post-conflict settings. A place where women’s participation in mediation and conflict resolution was not based on perceived gender roles but on their ability to be valuable agents of change and where they were at the helm of peacebuilding
efforts during electoral processes.
Enter the Women’s Situation Room (WSR) Uganda, whose aim is to promote the full and active participation of women and youth in ensuring peaceful elections in Uganda through a model of peace for and by everyone. The WSR was first established in Liberia in 2011 by the Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) and has since then been replicated in Guinea-Bissau in 2014, Kenya and Mali in 2013, Nigeria 2015, Senegal and Sierra Leone in 2012, Ghana in 2020 and Uganda in 2016 and recently 2020/21.
This is a women-led early warning and rapid response mechanism to electoral violence in Africa that has been recognised by both the UN Security Council and at the African Union as a best practice for prevention of violence through constructive dialogue with stakeholders and peace advocacy.
This article describes the role of the WSR Uganda 2021 in promoting peace before, during and after the recently held general elections
It is not news that women are less likely than men to participate in politics in Uganda. Since colonial times, a gap has existed and is gradually thinning but not as fast as women would like it to. It is difficult for some women to attend community meetings, contact elected officials, join men in raising public issues, and express partisan preferences or even vote.
When they choose to participate actively on the political scene and contest for office, some of their campaigns are marked by harassment and violence directed towards them and in many cases, the majority opt out because of the fear of the impact of this violence, beyond physical harm.
A good example is the case of a woman who contested for the Bushenyi Woman Member of Parliament seat in the recent (2021) elections but later dropped out after being intimidated by her family members.
Even with the same level of education as men, work experience, age and level of interest in political affairs, women’s participation in electoral processes is still limited. There is no better example of this than the deliberate exclusion of women from public discussions on political and electoral issues in the mainstream media of the country.
This is considered exhaustive lists of women who can engage in such discussions have been supplied but are ignored repeatedly. When attempts are made to include women in the conversation, it is the same speakers or thought leaders who are recycled and while all this may seem trivial, this gap has severe consequences on the representation of diverse women’s priorities.
As such elected officials and voters are less likely to be well appraised of different women’s concerns, which should inform policies due to the absence of more representative and inclusive voices.
Landmark frameworks such as the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 affirm the important role that women play in the prevention and resolution of conflicts.
The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa also known as the Maputo Protocol that was ratified by Uganda in 2010 underscores women’s contribution to peace and security processes.
The instruments recognise that women are gravely affected by conflict, and to address this, women should play a key role in achieving lasting peace after conflict by participating in decision-making processes. They acknowledge the relationships between women, fragility and the struggle for peace.
Similarly, WSR Uganda acknowledges that instability during elections has unique impacts on women and girls and that their contributions are central to building peace and security during the electoral processes.
Even though elections were primarily conceived to allow a country’s citizens to make collective decisions about their leaders, too often, force is employed by different actors to influence the electoral process and its outcomes.
The outbreaks of physical violence that occur can undermine the legitimacy of the process and have lasting impacts on the population especially vulnerable groups such as women and children.
In Uganda, general elections have previously been marred by reports of voter intimidation, violence and gross violations of rights to assembly, association and expression.
In 2016 there were reports of threats and antagonistic rhetoric from politicians and a tense environment in fear of the aftermath if voting results were
contested. The 2021 elections were no different.
Some might argue that the situation was considerably worse when compared with past elections, as outbreaks of violence against candidates and voters were observed and reported.
Until the establishment of the Women’s Situation Room in 2016, concerted efforts to ensure that all stages of the election cycle were free of violence were minimal. Whereas some interventions existed, there was a void in terms of understanding the dynamics around electoral violence and consequently, the development of comprehensive strategies to ensure that peace is advanced during the process.
For instance, some focused on the period during and after but not the period of phase before the elections. Further, the existing mechanisms did not galvanise the wider role women play in electoral processes beyond just participating as voters and candidates.
The WSR goes beyond including women as the community’s less threatening nurturers who are more inclined to engage in dialogue compared to men who are often at the head of a conflict.
The WSR reinforces the role of women as key components of strong coalitions for peace. The WSR also affirms that women in Uganda are a peacebuilding force deserving of an equal space across all sectors of peacebuilding.
The WSR Uganda recognises that the causes of election violence are both systemic and structural and that election violence in Uganda usually manifests in the forms of physical, emotional or psychological and sexual violence, all of which impact individuals differently.
Sexual and gender based violence has been observed to escalate during elections due to different political views among men and women which is compounded by unequal power at the household and community level.
The WSR, therefore, acknowledges that there are no quick fixes to averting violence during elections because the causes of such violence are deeply ingrained issues that need to be interrogated continuously, as well.
As such, prevention of electoral violence is a long-term initiative that requires a comprehensive approach to ensure that such violence is minimised and that citizens peacefully perform their civic duty.
The Women’s Situation Room Uganda approach and activities are steered by a group of non-partisan, neutral and well respected women, referred to as the
Eminent Women, who advocate for peace, intervene and mediate to avert electoral conflict and violence.
The Eminent Women also engage with electoral stakeholders including the Electoral Commission, political parties, the police, the army the Uganda Human Rights Commission and the InterParty Organization for Dialogue to ensure that they each play their role in conducting peaceful elections.
During the 2021 presidential and parliamentary elections, the Eminent Women hosted four ‘physical rooms’ in four different regions across the country, namely, Gulu, Soroti, Mbarara and Kampala, where they received and dealt with 2,038 calls reporting violent incidents through the WSR call centres.
In many cases their response, stopped violence and threats of violence, thus contributing to generally peaceful elections in the country.
The Eminent Women-led stakeholders through the process of pledging to pursue peace by encouraging them to sign the ‘WSR Peace Cloth’ as a sign of their commitment to work for peace irrespective of the outcome of the election.
Closely working with the Eminent Women, and guiding the activities of the WSR is a 15-member Steering Committee comprised of women’s rights organisations representing women from diverse backgrounds and working on a spectrum of issues such as good governance, women’s leadership, violence against women and peacebuilding, under the leadership of Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), with the Women’s International Peace Centre (The Peace Centre) serving as the WSR Secretariat.
The establishment of the Steering Committee guaranteed the broader engagement of diverse women represented in civil society in ensuring that elections were conducted peacefully by as many stakeholders as possible.
Before the elections, the organisations of the members of the Steering Committee conducted Assessment Missions in 30 districts to establish electoral processes, the status of preparation, and the potential for violence. The findings of the assessment guided the planning for the different activities of the WSR in the build-up to the general elections.
Secondly, WSR Uganda also provided an opportunity for women and youth, including persons with disabilities, to monitor peace and the polling process as peace advocates and election observers within their communities.
In the last quarter of 2020, about 1,500 women and 1,500 youth leaders were trained in conflict resolution and peace-building and equipped with skills to promote peace and de-escalate tensions that might have resulted in violence in their communities.
An additional 1,500 women were trained as election observers to observe the polling process and report any anomalies to the WSR toll-free lines, in each of the four physical rooms, for action by the Eminent Women.
In an election where young people played a remarkable role in political mobilisation, the involvement of youth by the WSR drew on their potential to positively contribute to their communities, not just for peace and security, but also for sustainable development if they are to be recognised as political actors.
To quash the use of hate speech and other actions that could have ultimately led to violence, peace messaging was adopted by the WSR through a multimedia campaign that encompassed both traditional and modern media. Messages aimed at encouraging citizens to prioritise peace and avoid any situations that may threaten that peace, the Eminent Women and influential leaders from religious institutions and the informal sector, to mention but a few, were broadcast on television, radio and social media platforms.
The WSR engaged and trained the journalists and media practitioners to leverage the power of the media to promote peace through responsible and gender sensitive reporting.
These are simply a few of the approaches that the WSR used to ensure that Ugandans went to and participated in non-violent polls in 2021.
The Women’s Situation Room mechanism has demonstrated that the mitigation of electoral violence plays a large role in generally maintaining the peace before, during and after the elections.
An Uphill Climb
It has not all been a bed of roses. Community peacebuilding during conflict-prone elections, with women at the centre of the process, remains a daunting task.
A key challenge faced during the period is that women are often not perceived to have the skills, knowledge or social status needed to bring about change in conflict environments. Women are still seen as victims of conflict as opposed to change agents.
Changing this requires a shift in how the role of women is viewed by all electoral stakeholders and the general public. Emphasis must be placed on the quality of women’s involvement and their ability to create transformation both in peace making and peacebuilding and their impact recognised.
Women must be engaged right at the very beginning of peace processes for lasting impact.
The Face of Conflict Transformation is Female
Some may be inclined to think that the peace work of women and youth of the WSR mechanism is not transformative but reports indicate that the peace advocacy work was empowering and also helped transform community dynamics for the better.
Throughout the process, new issues for reconciliation have been raised such as conflicts between the young and the old, those living in urban areas and those in
rural areas, and so many more. The efforts of community peace advocates were without doubt, essential to peacebuilding in the communities where they occurred and critical to the broader goal of contributing to peaceful elections in Uganda.
Step by step, they are building blocks to strengthening democracy and good governance in the country
The last election season demonstrated that elections can provide the best possible opportunity to ensure women’s voices are heard, their concerns are addressed, and their potential contributions to peace and democracy are
That said, for WSR Uganda, peacebuilding does not stop with the end of elections, the women of Uganda will continue to promote peace between elections.
The implementation of the Women’s Situation Room in Uganda in 2021 confirms that women in collaboration with the youth are determined to take into their own hands the task of ensuring that elections in Uganda are peaceful for the citizens, to benefit maximally from the democratic process for sustainable peace and development
This article is an extract from our Women’s World Magazine 52
The 67th UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) took place from the 6th to 17th March , 2023 under the theme “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”
Women’s International Peace Centre Peace hosted a parallel event on feminist peace & movement building in the digital age on 10th March.
The event brought together Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) and peacebuilders from Burundi, South Sudan, Uganda and Nepal to share their experiences with access to and use of digital technologies to advance women’s leadership and feminist peace.
Discussions highlighted the specific cases of young women, refugee women, women in rural areas and women in advocating for peace in contexts with shrinking civic space, limited digital infrastructure and challenges of access to and safe use of digital platforms.
For instance, in South Sudan, women used digital platforms to advocate for inclusive peace processes. They organized and held virtual meetings, discussed transitional justice issues, drafted statements and shared them using social media to decision makers for action.
Digital technologies also enhanced women’s power to share their experiences on social media, to discuss violations and call for action in real life
For many women and girls, the prospects/opportunities of digitalization are limitless with so many benefits which include access to information and knowledge sharing, the ability to build movements and fostering connections with others. However, the same is true for the dangers associated with it.
Women peacebuilders and vocal women are oftentimes threatened, face online trolls, backlash and are forced to endure character assassinations and online sneak campaigns. These pose great challenges that hinder women’s empowerment in digital skills.
By end of the meeting, women’s innovations, good practices and recommendations for ensuring diverse conflict-affected women are included in efforts to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in the context of innovation and technological change in the digital age were spotlighted.
Find more videos of women peace builders here;
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism of the Human Rights Council (HRC) designed to prompt, support, and expand the promotion and protection of human rights in all countries.
South Sudan had its 3rd cycle of the review in January 2022 and recommendations of the outcome report were adopted in July 2022 by the Human Rights Council for implementation.
Recommendations of the report to be implemented included; activities linked to the Road Map for implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, 2018 mainly focusing on Transitional Justice, judicial reforms, elections and accountability for conflict related sexual violence and sexual and gender based violence. However, implementation of these recommendations has been slow.
With this background therefore, the Peace Centre in partnership with CORDAID supported South Sudan Law Society and Vision for Generation Organisation in organising a two day workshop, attended by 42 people on strengthening civil society engagement in the Universal Review Process on 28th and 29th March, 2023 in Juba.
The meeting aimed at strengthening civil society engagement in the process of holding key actors accountable to the implementation of the UPR .It also created an opportunity for building strong networks, coalitions and partnerships among members that can make constructive engagement and advocacy for recommendations
Specific objectives were then to;- Develop a clear action plan for monitoring and influencing the implementation of the recommendations of the third cycle of the UPR; Strengthening coordination mechanisms for civil society engagement in the process as well as developing a clear plan for fundraising and coordination with Donors
From the meeting, participants identified key areas for advocacy and lobbying which included ; Review of the Election Act, Political Party Act, NGO Act and reforms such as ; Justice reforms, economic reforms and security sector reforms that need collective effort for them to be put in place
The meeting resulted in:
1) Prioritisation of implementation of UPR recommendations linked to the Road map for implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan
2) Immediate actions for engagement in the UPR identified: (1) wider civil society briefing on the UPR recommendations for South Sudan, (2) Stakeholders briefing on the UPR recommendations for South Sudan at national and states levels, (3) Dialogue with Duty Bearers to follow-up on their commitments and first track progress.
3) Agreed coordination synergies between the UPR coalition and the Just Future Partners2 as CSPPS South Sudan Country Focal person will be the linkage between the UPR coalition and the Just Future Partners.
4) Clear Fund Raising Plan Developed: The workshop mapped key opportunities for fundraising; including the Just Future Partners, UNDP, UNMISS, LWF and formed a Team of Five members to meet these potential supporting partners to discuss the need for support for the immediate actions for the UPR engagement.