2020 Annual Report

2020 was a pivotal year for gender equality. We marked 25 years of the ambitious Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and 20 years of the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS).

However, the year also brought a health crisis, COVID-19 that exacerbated the existing gender inequalities. The COVID-19 pandemic affected the implementation of project activities and as a result, the methodology of some projects changed to use alternative means to meet the same goal. We adapted to organize more online meetings, cut down on meeting size, to include protective gear such as masks and sanitiser as essential materials for all activities and our staff continued working from home and accessing the office in shifts as needed.

Throughout 2020, it was inspiring, energizing and refreshing to see, women collectively and fiercely pushing boundaries for Feminist Peace. Looking back, we share with you some of our most significant moments resulting in impact and lessons learnt in our peacebuilding work in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, South Sudan and Uganda.

The Peace Centre’s 2020 Annual Report

Outcome of the First Feminist Peace Convening in Central Equatorial State, Juba, South Sudan

We, participants of the 1st Annual Peace Convening held in Juba, Central Equatorial State meeting in Juba-South Sudan on 16th November 16, 2021, under the ‘Promoting Women’s Needs and their Participation in the South Sudan Constitution-Making Process’ acknowledge our collective vision for sustainable peace in South Sudan and our commitment to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in Central Equatorial State in particular and South Sudan in general. Read More “Outcome of the First Feminist Peace Convening in Central Equatorial State, Juba, South Sudan”

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.

Women and Elections in East Africa

Through this 52nd edition of Women’s World, women from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda share their thoughts and findings on the situation of women’s current and prospective participation in political and peace processes associated with elections. This Women’s World also challenges patriarchal norms and the practice of relegating women’s position and contributions to the private sphere, excluding them from deliberative dialogues in political and decision-making spaces across electoral processes.

We invite you to appreciate the perspectives and experiences of women as voters, candidates, political leaders, advocates for peaceful elections and key players in all electoral processes.

Womens’ World 52_FR 

Womens’ World 52_EN

Defend her! Women Human Rights Defenders’ Recommendations for Diplomatic Missions

Women human rights defenders (WHRDs), peacebuilders, advocates for gender equality and other civil society leaders play a critical role in advancing peace, human rights and gender justice. Yet they are under attack for doing so. The Peace Center joined WHRDs in presenting their key recommendations for diplomatic missions to better protect their critical work in a gender responsive and transformative manner and the specific protection needs that WHRDs have. This was to inform Mission leads, staff and policy makers will gain insight in the gap between policy, protocols and practice. From WHRDs first hand, they will receive concrete ideas on how to bridge that gap and how to continue meaningful engagement with WHRDs.Over 180 (W)HRDs, mission staff, representatives of (I)NGOs, Member States and multilateral organizations registered for the event.

The discussion kicked off with a context setting that involved a look at the current situation for WHRDs and why they need specific protection measures This was followed by a Panel conversation by panelists;
Richard Arbeiter, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York
Caecilia Wijgers, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Afghanistan
Caroline Rucah, Executive Director Lets Be Tested Queens (Western Kenya LGBTQI+ Feminist Forum)
And Sandra Tumwesigye, Communication & Advocacy coordinator Women International Peace Center

The Panel took on discussing key recommendations for gender responsive and transformative protection that addressed; How diplomatic missions support individual WHRDs’ physical, mental, and economic safety. How diplomatic missions strengthen women’s rights organizations’ operational space and their resilience and How diplomatic missions enhance the understanding of, familiarization with, and support for a diversity of women’s voices within the mission?
From this discussion; problems faced by WHRDs were discussed as Lack of physical, mental, and economic safety of individual WHRDs, Limited/restricted travel/mobility options (ao needed to stay out of the hands of opponents), exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and/o additional identification requirements Psychological stress and trauma.

As a way forward, some of the things WHRDs need were discussed as; Supporting physical, mental, and economic safety of individual WHRDs Safe travel facilitations, support to not have to use public transport Short- and mid-term safe houses/ shelters (incl for WHRDs’ children / immediate family members under threat) & support of relocation both in and outside the country or region Providing Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) services, Advocate for establishing legal frameworks to criminalize violations against WHRDs Rapid response funding

The panel also discussed what Currently diplomatic missions are undertaking the following actions
Supporting physical, mental, and economic safety of individual WHRDs, Provision of temporary shelter through the Shelter City Program, as well as accompaniment of international organizations such as PBI Advocating for a victim-centered justice and WHRDs led approach. Partner with (I)NGOs providing gender sensitive MHPSS for WHRDs. Monitoring of attacks and restrictions, Speak up and speak out if WHRDs offices and meetings are restricted or attacked

And last but not least, the panel discussed how missions can address the current gaps through; Supporting physical, mental, and economic safety of individual WHRDs, Strengthen cooperation between EU countries to support (humanitarian) visas for relocation and/or to provide temporary shelter in the region. Collaborate with and assess lessons identified/learned from the Journalists in Distress Network and Protect Defenders
Advocate for establishing legal frameworks to criminalize violations against WHRDs Allocate a rapid response fund and periodically train staff how to respond in emergency cases.

Crisis as an Opportunity for Transformative Change

In this 2nd edition of the Feminist Peace Series, we focus on how women and, in particular, feminist peace activists are responding to the direct and indirect consequences of COVID-19 and elaborate on the practical and theoretical implications for feminist peace. Each of the authors reflects on the implications of the global pandemic grounded in the local and personal – and framed by their conceptions of feminist peace. To that extent, this collection opens up new epistemological, political and intellectual possibilities enriching feminist knowledge.

We hope you enjoy reading our second edition of the Feminist Peace Series.

Feminist Peace Series 2nd Edition_EN

Feminist Peace Series 2nd Edition_FR

Young Women Building Peace at the Intersection of Women, Peace and Security and Youth, Peace and Security

Photo/Campaign for Female Education

By Margaret LoWilla 

The notion of youthhood is highly contested and cannot be separated from political implications about the distance between young people and formal structures of power. The transition, often indicated by age, denotes a shift from childhood to adulthood.  Beyond apparent and overt biological and physical changes is also positioning in the social order informed by cultural norms, gender and the economic and political context.[1]

This blog first explores the concept of youth as is related to politics and power. It then reflects on Young Women and their place in Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) Agendas.[2] It serves as the starting point of a series, following the peacebuilding activities of three groups of Young Women Leaders in South Sudan, trained by the Women’s International Peace Centre (The Peace Centre) in partnership with the Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice (CIGPJ). [3]

The Politics of Youthhood

At first glance, the term youth is used simply to define individuals who fall within a stipulated age category. For instance, the United Nations defines youth as individuals aged between 15 and 24, while the African Union and East African Community define youth as individuals between the age of 15 and 35. However, further exploration reveals that age categories are insufficient in determining youthhood. Definitions of youth vary in terms of age, space, time, location, gender, and socio-economic and political dynamics. As such, there are multiple categorizations of youth whose experiences differ considerably. [4]

Similarly, the meaning and definition of adulthood can shift easily from situation to situation. For example, in the context of conflict, age and gender roles are disrupted and disregarded as youth and women may commit acts of violence to ensure survival. Furthermore, in the case of the loss of parents, young people (of either gender) may be forced into the position of head of household, taking on the role of ‘protector’ and ‘provider’. In this way, categories of differentiation in age can vanish completely.[5]

The word ‘youth’ cannot be removed from politics and power. In African society, decision making and the public space is reserved for (male) adults and elites who seek to capture and maintain power. Politics is also an adult terrain where the subordination of the youth is justified in the name of culture and continuity.[6] Youth and age are socially constructed and easily manipulated. The capabilities of the youth are often exploited to sustain the power of those in authority while young people themselves feel increasingly disenfranchised, unable to access any tangible gains from the economy and society. Yet, their agency should not be underestimated, as their ability to organize their power to action can be an effective instrument for change as seen in the Arab Spring,  #EndSars Movement in Nigeria, #Zimbabweanlivesmatter, and other social movements around the continent. [7]

Additionally, the gendered construction of youth cannot be ignored. The use of overly masculine definitions, social norms, roles and rights favour male youth over female youth. This mirrors the patriarchal organization of society, which aims to ensure that male youth inherit power. The power dimension of youth is also visible in the internationalization of Western notions of childhood, youth and adulthood.

The international policy and legal frameworks on childhood and perhaps youth, emphasize their innocence and victimhood. The implication is that they are considered only in terms of their vulnerability, negating their capacity as active agents during both peace and conflict.[8]

Situating Young Women in Peace and Security

The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and  Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agendas call for inclusive planning, programme design, policy development and decision-making processes for conflict prevention, resolution and recovery.[9] United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1325 is the landmark global normative framework that recognized the unique experiences of women and girls during armed conflict. UNSCR 1325 is extensive, consisting of 18 articles that are representative of four main pillars: participation, prevention, protection, relief and recovery.[10] United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2250 adopted in 2015 has 5 key pillars: participation, protection, prevention, partnerships and disengagement and reintegration. It is the first of its kind which acknowledges the role of youth in the peace process. The resolution calls for the inclusion of youth in decision making and further urges the Member States to establish mechanisms that would facilitate the meaningful participation of youth in peace processes.[11]

In peace and security discourse, youth and gender are often mentioned separately and treated as individual blocs. Customarily, the term ‘youth’ is used in reference to young men. [12] In the eight women, peace and security related United Nations Security resolutions ‘women’ are referenced all through, six give specific mention to ‘girls’[13].  “Youth” is included in UNSCR 2242, while UNSCR 2282 on the review of the Peacebuilding Architecture, adopted after UNSCR 2250 (2015), mentions “young people”. Young women are consistently subsumed into these different categories as they are not explicitly mentioned, likely leading to their exclusion.[14]

Reference to young women in policies is limited to their protection or addressing discrimination. This emphasis on their vulnerability consequently denies their agency and potentially transformative role in peacebuilding. In many contexts, young women face double discrimination for being young and female.  As belonging to the youth category, they are marginalized from national and international public institutions that ignore and underestimate their critical contributions and potential. While in the women category they are left out due to assumptions about their abilities. At this intersection, gender and age biases combine to further limit the inclusion of young women in formal political and peace processes.[15]

In South Sudan, there are very few safe spaces where young women can meet to organize alliances and build friendships beyond the private/domestic sphere thus limiting their social networks and political awareness. In the case where women engage in public forums, they are often targets of intimidation. Real or perceived threats to their security contribute to their self-censorship and restrict them to the home.[16] Furthermore, discriminatory sociocultural norms and practices that hinder women and girls’ education, empowerment and economic freedom are the root causes of their limited participation.[17]

Women groups and youth groups have been known to work together to increase their power and influence on peace and political processes. However, this collaboration is not constant and certainly not guaranteed.

As senior women and young women often have diverging needs and priorities, established women’s groups may not automatically include young women or their perspectives to increase their participation in politics or peace processes. Furthermore, the reality of limited funding often results in support being directed to well-established women’s organizations.[18]

Young Women Building Peace in South Sudan

Though South Sudan is a signatory to both UNSCR 1325 and UNSCR 2250, young women’s participation in peace and political processes is limited. As the country is in the transitional phase of implementing the Revitalized Agreement on the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), the participation of young women cannot be overemphasized.

One of the recommendations provided by the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) on bridging the gaps between the WPS and YPS agendas is to, ‘Empower and support young women and their participation in peace and security initiatives and consider specific actions to support young women in leadership spaces.’[19] Accordingly, the Women’s International Peace Centre in partnership with the Centre of Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice (CIGPJ) brought together and trained 20 young women aged 18 to 35 from political parties and civil society organisations to strengthen their capacity to participate in and influence peace processes and their outcomes from a gender perspective.[20] The young women were put in three groups, where they came up with action plans that they would implement. This series follows the implementation of the action plans to document and highlight the efforts of young women as active agents of peace.

[1] Fabiano, Chimwemwe et. al (2021) “Who Will Silence the Guns? (The Youth As African Solutions To African Problems),” Young African Leaders Journal, vol. 3, no. 19, https://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1105&context=yaljod

[2] UN Women (2018), ‘’Young Women in Peace and Security: At The Intersection of The YPS and WPS Agendas,”   https://www.youth4peace.info/system/files/2018-10/UNWOMEN_YPS.pdf

[3] Women’s International Peace Centre (2021), ‘’Refresher Training of Young Women Peace Builders in South Sudan,’’ https://wipc.org/refresher-training-of-young-women-peace-builders-in-south-sudan/

[4] Durham, Deborah (2000), ‘’Youth and the Social Imagination in Africa,’’ Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 3, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Deborah-Durham/publication/240745366_Youth_and_the_Social_Imagination_in_Africa/links/5589668608ae2affe71502c7/Youth-and-the-Social-Imagination-in-Africa.pdf

[5] Ibid

[6] Diouf, Mamadou (1996), ‘’ Urban Youth and Senegalese Politics: Dakar 1988-1994,’’ https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/media/documents/publication/dioufe.PDF

[7] Durham, Deborah (2000)

[8] Boyden Jo (1997), “Childhood and the policymakers: A comparative perspective on the globalization of childhood,” https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781315745008-10/childhood-policy-makers-jo-boyden

[9] UN Women, Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace: A Global Study on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, 2015.

[10] What is UNSCR 1325? An Explanation of the Landmark Resolution on Women, Peace and Security,’ electronic source, United States Institute of Peace, https://www.usip.org/gender_peacebuilding/about_UNSCR_1325#:~:text=UNSCR%201325%20affirms%20that%20peace,the%20forging%20of%20lasting%20peace

[11] UNSCR 2250 | Introduction, https://www.youth4peace.info/UNSCR2250/Introduction

[12]  United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development’s Working Group on Youth and Peacebuilding, ‘Young People’s Participation in Peacebuilding: A Practice Note’, with support from PeaceNexus Foundation, 2016. Available from: http:// www.un.org/en/peacebuilding/pbso/pdf/ Practice%20Note%20Youth%20&%20 Peacebuilding%20-%20January%202016. pdf

[13] UNSCR 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106, 2122 and 2242

[14] UN Women Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security (2018), ‘Young Women in Peace and Security at the Intersection of WPS and YPS, New York

[15] Walker, D., Pereznieto, P., Bergh, G. and Smith, K. Partners for change: Young people and governance in a post-2015 world, ODI, Plan and Restless Development, 2014, p.11. Available from: http://restlessdevelopment.org/file/ partners-for-change-young-people-and governance-in-a-post-2015-world-pdf.

[16]  United Nations, World Youth Report: Youth Civic Engagement, 2016. Available from: http://www.unworldyouthreport.org/images/docs/un_world_youth_report_youth_ civic_engagement.pdf.

[17] Soule, S. and Nairne, J., Are Girls Checking Out? Gender and Political Socialization in Transitioning Democracies, Center for Civic Education, 2006. Available from: http://www. civiced.org/pdfs/research/GenderAndPolitical. pdf.

[18] UN Women event, Building Sustainable Peace for all: Synergies between the WPS agenda and YPS agenda, 11 March 2017, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

[19] UNDPPA (2021), ‘Women Peace and Security (WPS) & Youth Peace and Security (YPS) Complementarities of the two agendas,’ Women Peace and Security (WPS) & Youth Peace and Security (YPS) Complementarities of the two agendas

[20] Women’s International Peace Centre, ‘Young Women Leading for Peace,’ Blog, https://wipc.org/young-women-leading-for-peace/

National Feedback Meeting to Draw Actions and Recommendations for Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding in Uganda

The Peace Centre in partnership with the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Conflict Early Warning and Early Response system (CEWERU) has been holding routine quarterly feedback meetings with Members of the National Steering Committee to receive and respond to early warning reports from violence monitors, peace mediators and Members of the District Peace Committee and take action. Between 30th September to 1st October 2021, The Peace Centre held a 2-day feedback meeting with the National Steering Committee to review early warning reports compiled from Yumbe, Adjumani, Kotido, Arua, Kassanda, Kapelebyong, Lira, Soroti, Luwero and Kampala.

Read More “National Feedback Meeting to Draw Actions and Recommendations for Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding in Uganda”

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.

Read More “Regional Learning and Networking Exchange Visit on Peace, Security and Justice”

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”

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