Vacancy Announcement: Programme Officer, Burundi

Job title:                                  Programme Officer

Number of Positions:              1 (One)

Duty Station:                           Bujumbura, Burundi

Reporting to:                           Country Coordinator

 

About Women’s International Peace Centre

Women’s International Peace Centre, formerly Isis-WICCE, is a feminist organization founded in 1974 and based in Kampala, Uganda. Our mission is to ignite women’s leadership, amplify their voices and deepen their impact in recreating peace.  Our WEAVE model intersects research (on women’s specific experiences and needs), evidence-based advocacy (to influence national, regional and international policy and practice), holistic healing (to enable women’s wellbeing and participation in peace processes), skills and movement building (to equip WHRDs with necessary skills, build networks and facilitate exchange of strategies to advance women’s leadership for peace.

The Peace Centre works in Africa, Asia, at regional and global level with women war survivors, women human rights defenders, and women’s rights organizations to amplify women’s voices and advocate for policies and programmes tackling the impact of conflict on women and communities using our WEAVE model. The Peace Centre’s current strategic plan (2019-2022) focuses on amplifying the voices and agency of women and women’s rights organisations to build and sustain inclusive peace and security in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, South Sudan and Uganda

 Duties and Responsibilities

Under the overall guidance of the Deputy Executive Director, and the direct supervision of the Country Coordinator, the Programme Officer for Burundi will support the implementation of The Peace Centre’s programmes within the specific country, facilitating linkages with regional and global advocacy and networking.

The Programme Officer will support the Country Coordinator to lead the project development, management and administration; provide technical assistance, policy advice and support; and facilitate diverse partnerships and mutual capacity strengthening at country level.

They will;

  • Support implementation of the project within in Burundi in liaison with the Strategic Partnership and Advocacy Manager and the Country Coordinator.
  • Develop detailed activity work plans, and manage the implementation of project activities to ensure proper and timely execution to the required standards and guidelines of the organization.
  • Participate in handling day-to-day management of the programme in country, including effective programme implementation, documenting progress and managing the programme budgets in line with Peace Centre policies.
  • Monitor/follow up country-level short-term consultants and provide guidance on substantive and operational issues, to ensure timely achievement of quality outputs.
  • Assist in managing the Advocacy support desk and provide ongoing support on advocacy to national partners; linking to regional actors and processes; strengthening national capacity for regional advocacy, gender mainstreaming, and influencing on inclusive peace and security priorities
  • With the support of the Strategic Partnership and Advocacy Manager and the guidance of the Country Coordinator, develop training manuals and provide training on regional advocacy, and lobby, on accountability and leadership, on gender and inclusive peace and security, gender transformative programming among other identified needs.
  • Maintain and grow partnerships with key stakeholders at national, regional and global level. Ensure ongoing coordination of programme implementation with partners and other stakeholders including ensuring their involvement to support inclusive and transparent processes
  • In liaison with the Strategic Partnership and Advocacy Manager and the Country Coordinator participate in and contribute to monthly, quarterly and other scheduled program planning, progress and performance review exercises.
  • Participate actively in documentation of success stories, lessons learnt during program implementation and blog writing for information sharing.
  • Develop country advocacy strategies in conjunction with all Peace Centre stakeholders
  • Take advantage of the expertise acquired by The Peace Centre partners as a result of training and exchange programmes conducted by The Peace Centre
  • Develop The Peace Centre partnership with all local and regional stakeholders to promote gender equality and inclusion of marginalised groups.
  • Develop a national strategy for localising the UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security from a perspective on inclusion, participation, prevention, protection and community recovery with a view of promoting gender equality of the most marginalised groups according to the “Leave no one behind” principle in the dynamics of implementing all the SDGs.
  • Prepare monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, annual and final program narrative reports; contribute to the development of the organization’s annual fundraising plan and proposal writing to support program activities;
  • Carry out all procurement and financial accountability in line with The Centre’s guidelines/policies.
  • Perform any other duty assigned from time to time.

Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any of the following areas Peace and Conflict Studies, Gender, Development Studies, Political Science, Social Sciences or any other related fields. A Postgraduate degree will be an added advantage.
  • Five years of relevant work experience in peace building and conflict management and previous experience working with national and local governments, women’s groups, regional networks.
  • Diverse knowledge and experience in results-based programme management, monitoring and reporting.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of peace building and experience in advocacy or influence on the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
  • Excellent analytical, written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work as a team player in a multi-disciplinary team with minimum supervision.

To apply, submit a motivation letter and CV demonstrating your suitability by 30th November 2022 to applications@wipc.org

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vacancy Announcement: Programme Officer-Democratic Republic of Congo

Job title:                                  Programme Officer

Number of Positions:              1 (One)

Duty Station:                           Kinshasa, DRC

Reporting to:                           Country Coordinator

 

About Women’s International Peace Centre

Women’s International Peace Centre, formerly Isis-WICCE, is a feminist organization founded in 1974 and based in Kampala, Uganda. Our mission is to ignite women’s leadership, amplify their voices and deepen their impact in recreating peace.  Our WEAVE model intersects research (on women’s specific experiences and needs), evidence-based advocacy (to influence national, regional and international policy and practice), holistic healing (to enable women’s wellbeing and participation in peace processes), skills and movement building (to equip WHRDs with necessary skills, build networks and facilitate exchange of strategies to advance women’s leadership for peace.

The Peace Centre works in Africa, Asia, at regional and global level with women war survivors, women human rights defenders, and women’s rights organizations to amplify women’s voices and advocate for policies and programmes tackling the impact of conflict on women and communities using our WEAVE model. The Peace Centre’s current strategic plan (2019-2022) focuses on amplifying the voices and agency of women and women’s rights organisations to build and sustain inclusive peace and security in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, South Sudan and Uganda

 Duties and Responsibilities

Under the overall guidance of the Deputy Executive Director, and the direct supervision of the Country Coordinator, the Programme Officer for DRC will support the implementation of The Peace Centre’s programmes in DRC, facilitating linkages with regional and global advocacy and networking.

The Programme Officer will support the Country Coordinator to lead the project development, management and administration; provide technical assistance, policy advice and support; and facilitate diverse partnerships and mutual capacity strengthening at country level.

They will;

  • Support implementation of the project within the country in liaison with the Strategic Partnership and Advocacy Manager and the Country Coordinator.
  • Develop detailed activity work plans, and manage the implementation of project activities to ensure proper and timely execution to the required standards and guidelines of the organization.
  • Participate in handling day-to-day management of the programme in country, including effective programme implementation, documenting progress and managing the programme budgets in line with Peace Centre policies.
  • Monitor/follow up country-level short-term consultants and provide guidance on substantive and operational issues, to ensure timely achievement of quality outputs.
  • Assist in managing the Advocacy support desk and provide ongoing support on advocacy to national partners; linking to regional actors and processes; strengthening national capacity for regional advocacy, gender mainstreaming, and influencing on inclusive peace and security priorities
  • With the support of the Strategic Partnership and Advocacy Manager and the guidance of the Country Coordinator, develop training manuals and provide training on regional advocacy, and lobby, on accountability and leadership, on gender and inclusive peace and security, gender transformative programming among other identified needs,
  • Maintain and grow partnerships with key stakeholders at national, regional and global level. Ensure ongoing coordination of programme implementation with partners and other stakeholders including ensuring their involvement to support inclusive and transparent processes
  • In liaison with the Strategic Partnership and Advocacy Manager and the Country Coordinator participate in and contribute to monthly, quarterly and other scheduled program planning, progress and performance review exercises.
  • Participate actively in documentation of success stories, lessons learnt during program implementation and blog writing for information sharing;
  • Prepare monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, annual and final program narrative reports; contribute to the development of the organization’s annual fundraising plan and proposal writing to support program activities.
  • Ensure coaching of implementing partners and monitor the effective implementation of activities / projects funded by WIPC in the field;
  • Develop and lead the country lobby and advocacy strategic action plan for Women, peace and security and ensure its implementation;
  • Prepare and ensure the management of partnership files with local organizations, prepare draft concept notes of the activities to be carried out;
  • Strengthen the capacities of partners in lobbying and advocacy in favor of women, youth, peace and security;
  • Produce a quarterly article on the progress and impact made in the field as part of the Just Future project;
  • Ensure the dissemination of information concerning the implementation of activities, and the opportunities and threats that may change the context of intervention;
  • Provide expertise in the preparation and design of new projects and participate in activity planning meetings;
  • Contribute to the processing of data provided by implementing partners in order to prepare activity reports.
  • Carry out all procurement and financial accountability in line with The Centre’s guidelines/policies.
  • Perform any other duty assigned from time to time.

Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any of the following areas Peace and Conflict Studies, Gender, Development Studies, Political Science, Social Sciences or any other related fields. A Postgraduate degree will be an added advantage.
  • Five years of relevant work experience in peace building and conflict management and previous experience working with national and local governments, women’s groups, regional networks.
  • Diverse knowledge and experience in results-based programme management, monitoring and reporting.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of peace building and experience in advocacy or influence on the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
  • Excellent analytical, written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work as a team player in a multi-disciplinary team with minimum supervision.

To apply, submit a motivation letter and CV demonstrating your suitability by 30th November 2022 to applications@wipc.org

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

 

 

 

 

 

Vacancy Announcement: Programme Officer, South Sudan

Job title:                                  Programme Officer

Number of Positions:              1 (One)

Duty Station:                           Juba, South Sudan (1)

Reporting to:                           Country Coordinator

 

About Women’s International Peace Centre

Women’s International Peace Centre, formerly Isis-WICCE, is a feminist organization founded in 1974 and based in Kampala, Uganda. Our mission is to ignite women’s leadership, amplify their voices and deepen their impact in recreating peace.  Our WEAVE model intersects research (on women’s specific experiences and needs), evidence-based advocacy (to influence national, regional and international policy and practice), holistic healing (to enable women’s wellbeing and participation in peace processes), skills and movement building (to equip WHRDs with necessary skills, build networks and facilitate exchange of strategies to advance women’s leadership for peace.

The Peace Centre works in Africa, Asia, at regional and global level with women war survivors, women human rights defenders, and women’s rights organizations to amplify women’s voices and advocate for policies and programmes tackling the impact of conflict on women and communities using our WEAVE model. The Peace Centre’s current strategic plan (2019-2022) focuses on amplifying the voices and agency of women and women’s rights organisations to build and sustain inclusive peace and security in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, South Sudan and Uganda

 Duties and Responsibilities

Under the overall guidance of the Deputy Executive Director, and the direct supervision of the Country Coordinator, the Programme Officer for South Sudan will support the implementation of The Peace Centre’s programmes within the country, facilitating linkages with regional and global advocacy and networking.

The Programme Officer will support the Country Coordinator to lead the project development, management and administration; provide technical assistance, policy advice and support; and facilitate diverse partnerships and mutual capacity strengthening at country level.

They will;

  • Support implementation of the project within South Sudan in liaison with the Strategic Partnership and Advocacy Manager and the Country Coordinator.
  • Develop detailed activity work plans, and manage the implementation of project activities to ensure proper and timely execution to the required standards and guidelines of the organization.
  • Participate in handling day-to-day management of the programme in country, including effective programme implementation, documenting progress and managing the programme budgets in line with Peace Centre policies.
  • Monitor/follow up country-level short-term consultants and provide guidance on substantive and operational issues, to ensure timely achievement of quality outputs.
  • Assist in managing the Advocacy support desk and provide ongoing support on advocacy to national partners; linking to regional actors and processes; strengthening national capacity for regional advocacy, gender mainstreaming, and influencing on inclusive peace and security priorities.
  • With the support of the Strategic Partnership and Advocacy Manager and the guidance of the Country Coordinator, develop training manuals and provide training on regional advocacy, and lobby, on accountability and leadership, on gender and inclusive peace and security, gender transformative programming among other identified needs,
  • Maintain and grow partnerships with key stakeholders at national, regional and global level. Ensure ongoing coordination of programme implementation with partners and other stakeholders including ensuring their involvement to support inclusive and transparent processes.
  • In liaison with the Strategic Partnership and Advocacy Manager and the Country Coordinator participate in and contribute to monthly, quarterly and other scheduled program planning, progress and performance review exercises.
  • Participate actively in documentation of success stories, lessons learnt during program implementation and blog writing for information sharing;
  • Prepare monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, annual and final program narrative reports; contribute to the development of the organization’s annual fundraising plan and proposal writing to support program activities;
  • Carry out all procurement and financial accountability in line with The Centre’s guidelines/policies.
  • Perform any other duty assigned from time to time.

Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any of the following areas Peace and Conflict Studies, Gender, Development Studies, Political Science, Social Sciences or any other related fields. A Postgraduate degree will be an added advantage.
  • Five years of relevant work experience in peace building and conflict management and previous experience working with national and local governments, women’s groups, regional networks.
  • Diverse knowledge and experience in results-based programme management, monitoring and reporting.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of peace building and experience in advocacy or influence on the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
  • Excellent analytical, written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work as a team player in a multi-disciplinary team with minimum supervision.

To apply, submit a motivation letter and CV demonstrating your suitability by 30th November 2022 to applications@wipc.org

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Pre-Qualification for Various Categories of Goods and Services for Women’s International Centre For 2023-2025

Women’s International Peace Centre (The Peace Centre), formerly Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE), is a feminist organization with a mission to ignite women’s leadership, amplify their voices and deepen their activism in re-creating peace.

Read More “Pre-Qualification for Various Categories of Goods and Services for Women’s International Centre For 2023-2025”

Call for Applications for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Working on Youth, Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in Africa

The Women. Peace and Security (WPS) and Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agendas have evolved in Africa with palpable results including a substantial increase in the quantum and quality of women and youth participation in peace and security issues. While Member States have the primary responsibility to ensure that the global and regional commitments on both the WPS and YPS agendas are implemented and integrated into domestic policies, laws, planning and budget processes, it is also a multi stakeholders’ duty, as duty bearers for ensuring collectively sustainable outcomes.

Read More “Call for Applications for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Working on Youth, Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in Africa”

Reflections From the United Nations Security Council 2022 Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security: The Rhetoric Continues

By Helen Kezie-Nwoha

October 31st 2022, marks exactly 22 years since the adoption of United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security (WPS). Every year during the month of October the UN Security Council convenes an open debate to receive the report of the UN Secretary-General on WPS and listen to member states, UN entities, and different actors on the status of implementing the women, peace and security agenda. This year was no different as the meeting took place on October 21st 2022.

In this article, I share some of the gains of the WPS movement and areas that need more work as reflected in the 2022 UN Security Council open debate.

Read More “Reflections From the United Nations Security Council 2022 Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security: The Rhetoric Continues”

Tracing Leadership Journeys of Alumnae of the Peace Centre’s Leadership Institute

The Women’s International Peace Centre runs its Feminist Leadership Institute targeting and training women and young women leaders from armed and post conflict settings as agents of social and political change. The Feminist Leadership
Institute runs training programmes that target women leaders, young women
activists and change agents across different professions and spheres of influence.
Between the years 1999-2021, the Institute training programmes broadly focused
on gender, human rights, and feminist peace and security.

This tracer study tracked leadership journeys of selected institute alumnae and documented their growth, involvement and impact on gender, peacebuilding and social, political and economic development of women in conflict and post conflict settings.

Download this study here: Tracing Leadership Journeys of Alumnae of the Peace Centres’s Leadership Institute– EN

Call For an End of Project Evaluation Consultant in South Sudan

Terms of Reference: To undertake an end of project evaluation on the project “Women, Peace and Security: Building Sustainable Peace” in South Sudan

Read More “Call For an End of Project Evaluation Consultant in South Sudan”

Study and Learning Exchange of Women Civil Society Organisations working on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in Rwanda and Burundi

In partnership with the Association of Women Repatriated from Burundi (AFRABU), Women’s International Peace Center together with CORDAID, organized a 3-day mission of study and exchange of experience with Rwandan non-governmental organizations under the leadership of the “Réseau des Femmes Oeuvrant pour le Développement Rural (Réseau des Femmes)”. They were joined by representatives of the Umuhivu w’Imboneza platform in Burundi, which is a collaborative framework for elected women and young people as well as women and young leaders of Civil Society Organizations for the promotion of leadership and the inclusive participation of women and young people at the community level.

This mission aimed to strengthen the Umuhivu w’Imboneza platform through the exchange of experiences between the members of the Platform from the 7 pilot provinces of Bubanza, Bujumburan, Bujumbura Mairies, Bururi, Cibitoke, Mwaro and Rumonge under the Just Future project and the Rwandan non-governmental organizations working on the implementation of resolutions 1325 and 22 50 at the community level.

Starting October 19th, the team visited DORCAS Consolation Family and Urugo Women Opportunity Center in the Eastern Province in Rwamagana and Kayonza. They then proceeded to Duhozanye Organization in the South Province and finally had a meeting with women leaders of public and private institutions in Kigali. 

The aim of the exchange visit was to strengthen the Umuhivu alliance on the basis of the exchange of experiences, initiatives, successes, challenges, opportunities, and strategies, between the members of the platform and Rwandan CSOs.

Following the presentations of different organizations’ initiatives and activities, discussions focused on some of the poverty-related challenges that girls and women face including sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy, early motherhood as well as school dropouts among others, and how they are combating the issue of poverty among their communities.

It was emphasized therefore that in order to achieve inclusive development, it is necessary to empower women to emerge from poverty which makes them more vulnerable than men.

Kabanyana Ketsia, the founder of the Dorcas Consolation family, explained to participants how the organization works with different stakeholders like schools, local authorities to promote their projects which contribute to poverty alleviation in societies. An example of the projects is the production of sanitary serviette/reusable pads for girls during menstruation which has created employment for marginalized women who are paid every month.

She further highlighted that based on its community approach, Dorcas Consolation Family has also established a health post that receives about 700 people per month, especially women and girls.

At Urugo Women’s Opportunity Center (WOC), participants were introduced to the different income-generating activities the organization runs to fund its education and training activities. These included; accommodation facilities, restaurant and bar, cafe, handicrafts shop, a dairy production unit, and rental space for meetings and events..

Viviane Kayitesi Kayihura, the Executive Director of the organization explained that the organization also provides training in numeracy, business management basics, planning, selling produce in the market, bookkeeping, and management of cooperatives in order to help women earn and save money. She also encouraged participants to work together and support each other to achieve their goals if they want to move ahead in their lives.

 “We believe that when a woman is supported by her peers and provided with the right resources and opportunities, even those most affected by conflict, the woman can develop her confidence and necessary skills. to transform his life, his family, and his community.” Mrs Kayihura said.

The final visit was made to Duhozanye Organization, which was launched by 330 widows who decided to collectively address the consequences of the 1994 genocide such as the death of their husbands, children, and family members; physical and moral injuries; loss of property, exclusion and lack of shelter, isolation, fear, poverty and loss of hope to live.

Murungi Jackline, the in charge of programs within DUHOZANYE, presented the current programs and activities which are based on the socio-economic rehabilitation of the widows and orphans of the genocide in order to integrate them into daily life so that they can in particular strive towards autonomy and participate more generally in the development of the countryThe organization also organizes dialogues to help widows and orphans break out of isolation, help widows find housing, provide the means to exploit opportunities for autonomy, promote gender equality and fight against gender-based violence.

In this study visit, it was realized that the problems that hinder the development of girls and women are almost the same in Rwanda as in Burundi. 

Therefore, a number of recommendations were suggested to address challenges that women and girls encounter in everyday life. These recommendations included;

  1. Mobilize girls and women to participate in decision-making, peace and justice;
  2. Advocate for the installation of safe rooms in primary and secondary schools, equipped with menstrual hygiene facilities for girls;
  3. Develop and include messages on sexual health and rights education in community dialogues in order to reduce unwanted pregnancies among young girls;
  4. Develop income-generating initiatives for women and youth with the aim of reducing poverty within the community;
  5. Advocate for unpaid work currently done by women and girls to be sharedwithin families;
  6. Develop mobilization programs to fight against gender-based violence.

Request for Expression of Interest and for Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Consultants In Burundi, DRC and South Sudan

The Peace Centre is part of a consortium Just Future Alliance that came together to support civil society actors and women’s rights organizations in fragile contexts through a global strategic partnership to achieve the following long-term impact:
Improved accessibility, responsiveness and accountability of security and justice
institutions, inclusive political decision-making and peace processes, achieved by mobilizing civil society for collective action and advocacy that contributes to acceleration and localization of SDG16+ in 6 fragile countries (Afghanistan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mali, Niger and South Sudan).

Read More “Request for Expression of Interest and for Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Consultants In Burundi, DRC and South Sudan”

SAVE THE DATE; Strengthening the role of CSOs in monitoring the AU Continental Results Framework on Women, Peace and Security

In 2018, the African Union Commission (AUC) launched the Continental Results Framework (CRF) for Monitoring
and Reporting on the WPS Agenda in Africa. The framework provides a policy for tracking the progress made on implementing the commitments on WPS by the Commission and Member States through various instruments such as UN Security Council Resolution
1325 and the Maputo Protocol.

Read More “SAVE THE DATE; Strengthening the role of CSOs in monitoring the AU Continental Results Framework on Women, Peace and Security”

Capacity Building Training for Youth on Peacebuilding, Mediation and Leadership

Youth inclusion in peacebuilding processes is critical for ensuring sustainable and inclusive peace, as recognised by the United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution (SCR) 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security.

To achieve an increased number of youth peace advocates with strengthened capacity who are effectively participating and influencing the formal and informal peace building processes, Women’s International Peace Centre conducted a training for twenty (20) youth peace advocates from 21st to 23rd September.

The training aimed at strengthening participants’ capacity in peacebuilding and conflict transformation, increasing their understanding of gender in conflict as well as enabling them to acquire knowledge and skills in mediation, reporting and leadership.

The training model which was based on adult learning approaches included sessions delivered through; in-person workshops, lectures, role play, storytelling and reflection, group work and presentations, brainstorming, and illustrations among others. Topics of discussion focused on transformational leadership skills, feminist digital activism, reporting and communication, gender, conflict and peacebuilding. 

Gender was defined as the social construction of economic, social, political, and cultural attributes and opportunities associated with being women and men.Participants shared some of the gender roles associated with being a woman or man in society today. The roles mentioned for women included; cleaning, washing clothes, cooking food, being submissive, rearing children while men on the other hand were mentioned to be the managers whose responsibility is to provide for their families.

It was noted that gender roles are influenced by various factors such as society, experience, culture, environment, history, ethnicity, politics and race to mention but a few. As a result, gender roles have pushed women into the informal sector which has led to lack of power to influence, lack of access to opportunities and resources giving more power to men than women. 

The facilitator emphasized  that peacebuilding helps in preventing outbreak, recurrence and continual armed conflict, violence or social tension. It was defined as the employment of measures to consolidate peaceful relations and create an environment which deters the emergence or escalation of tensions which may lead to conflict.

Participants were also introduced to UNSCR 2250 (2015) on Youth, Peace and Security, a resolution that recognises young people’s role in promoting international peace and security which identifies five key pillars for action: Participation, Protection, Prevention, Partnership and Disengagement and Reintegration.

It was highlighted that youth inclusion in peacebuilding processes is critical for ensuring sustainable and inclusive peace and participants were encouraged to participate in peace processes.

As a major tool of advocacy, participants were introduced to feminist digital activism, a communication form that involves the use of social media tools to put out advocacy messages and advocate for issues affecting their communities.

In conclusion, participants suggested different roles of leadership they could participate in once they got back to their communities. These included; advocacy work, influencing media dialogues for attitude change, stopping youth from participating in violent conflict, organising peace dialogues across lines of conflict and facilitating community dialogues on issues affecting youth in their communities.

 

CALL FOR EDITORS FOR WOMEN’S WORLD MAGAZINE, ISSUE 55

WOMEN’S WORLD MAGAZINE

A. Introduction
Women’s International Peace Centre seeks expressions of Interest from dynamic and highly
skilled individuals to edit our 55th edition of Women’s World magazine, a publication that
reflects on the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. The
publication will comprise papers/articles on the progress of the implementation of United
Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.
The Consultant will be required to maintain the highest standards of integrity and
intellectual inquiry and will offer comments to improve the draft product for the final
reader.

Read More “CALL FOR EDITORS FOR WOMEN’S WORLD MAGAZINE, ISSUE 55”

Call for Papers: Progress of the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.

Women’s International Peace Centre invites submission of papers/articles on the progress of the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan. The submissions will track progress of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and offer key recommendations for policy makers, in the build up to the 25th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 in 2025. The papers/articles will be published as part of the Peace Centre’s campaign on WPS, under the auspices of the Just Future Alliance.  

Background

The year 2022 marks the 22nd anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, which acknowledges the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace building. It also underscores the importance of women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.

To date, the instrument has had a fundamental impact on the peace and security policies and practices of local communities, national states, as well as regional and international mechanisms. It represents a significant step forward in understanding security issues outside the traditional context of state security and, accordingly, states as major actors in both peace and conflict issues. 

However, there are concerns about the degree to which UNSCR 1325 is actually being translated into programmes and measures on the ground, for example, through the operationalisation of National Action Plans (NAPs) and what tangible impacts this has had on women’s peace and security. There are also implications of the resolution’s focus on armed conflict, as opposed to other forms of structural violence, for peace and security. 

Progress of the WPS Agenda in Burundi, DRC and South Sudan.

We, therefore, seek to critically examine UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, its implementation and its relevance to women’s activism, the protection of women in conflict, conflict resolution and peace building and/or the governance of international peace and security in Burundi, DRC and South Sudan. The publication will review the implementation of resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions, as well as examine ways to further enhance their impact in the three countries.

We welcome articles presenting new data on single or multiple cases in these countries and (or) theoretical explorations of 1325, from a diversity of disciplinary backgrounds, not only politics. We seek contributions to address the current challenges and country-level perspectives on the UNSCR Resolution 1325 on the following themes:

  • National Implementation (including NAPs)
  • Participation and representation including in political processes
  • Early warning mechanisms
  • Peace-Processes
  • Civil Society Activities and Women Organising for Peace
  • Human Rights including racial and ethnic discrimination and international and regional frameworks
  • Displacement
  • Demobilisation, Disarmament, Repatriation, Resettlement and Reintegration (DDRRR)
  • Small Arms and Light Weapons
  • Violence against women
  • Health (including HIV/AIDS and reproductive health)
  • Humanitarian assistance
  • Climate change 

Submission Guidelines

Prospective authors should submit their articles in English or French to editorialboard@wipc.org by 30th September 2022, clearly stating Call for WPS Papers in their subject lines. Contributions should be below 2500 words. Content can be presented as analysis, critiques, good practice, lessons learnt and case studies. Reflection pieces by activists/practitioners and pedagogical discussions are also welcome. Please supply a biographical note, an abstract and contact information with your submission. 

Contributors will be given a modest honorarium and have an opportunity to present their work at the launch of the publication. 

Call for Contributions to the Feminist Peace Series

The Feminist Peace Series Magazine

The Feminist Peace Series was born out of the continuous inquiry into what Feminist Peace means in practice with the objective to showcase the different transformative approaches to peacebuilding. In the 1st Edition of the Feminist Peace Series, The Peace Centre shared various understandings of Feminist Peace with perspectives from practitioners, partners and colleagues in the field of peacebuilding. The 2nd edition paid attention to how women and, in particular, feminist peace activists responded to the direct and indirect consequences of COVID-19 and elaborated on the practical and theoretical implications for ‘feminist peace’. We hope that with the Feminist Peace Series, we will continue to build a community of diverse contributors and readers who value activism and that understand feminist perspectives in peacebuilding.

Read More “Call for Contributions to the Feminist Peace Series”

Technical Review Meetings of the Draft National Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformatin Policy to Expedite Its Passing by Government

The lack of policy guidelines to coordinate peacebuilding and conflict transformation approaches remains a fundamental problem in Uganda. As a result, most actors engage in peacebuilding on an ad hoc basis and in a reactionary manner, duplicating interventions which often results in unhealthy competition and wastage of resources with minimal impact whenever conflicts arise. 

The draft Uganda National Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation Policy was developed to address gaps as it is intended to provide a mechanism for coordination and synergy among stakeholders involved in peacebuilding and conflict transformation (PBCT). The policy draft has unfortunately not progressed through the approval process since 2015 despite the fact that a number of policy frameworks relevant to peacebuilding have been passed by the government, and the conflict dynamics in Uganda have gone through a series of changes.  

It is against this background that the Women’s International Peace Centre and Safer World convened two review meetings to discuss the 2015 draft National Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation Policy and a validation meeting with stakeholders drawn from national and selected local governments where the two partners operate. The meetings were convened in two phases as follows;

Phase one: 1st Technical Review Workshop of the draft peace building and conflict transformation policy. 

The review process started with an independent peace /policy expert who reviewed, made recommendations and presented findings in a comprehensive technical review workshop from 12th to 13th July 2022 with a total of 38 participants.

The technical review panel consisted of key government entities such as; the Office of the Prime Minister, Office of the Attorney General, Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs (policy and planning office, and small arms and light weapons), Ministry of Justice, The Uganda Law Reform Commission, Uganda Human Rights Commission, Uganda Prisons, Uganda Police Force, and Local Government representatives from across Uganda and individuals from Civil Society.

The review panel identified gaps in the NPBCTP and ensured that the policy is representative of the most recent national conflict analysis, the changing dynamics and trends of conflict in the country, as well as evolving government policies.  The panel also built consensus on the vision, objectives, and priority action areas for the policy; appraised the adequacy and suitability of the interventions and response mechanisms set out in the policy; and finally, guided on an action plan for strategic advocacy and lobby for the speedy passing of the policy. 

On 14th July 2022, the findings from the technical review workshop were presented to a wider stakeholder audience for validation and further scrutiny. The validation forum provided a platform for 107 survivors and members from marginalized communities and civil society, religious and cultural leaders to discuss whether the draft policy satisfactorily addresses their needs and concerns. 

Phase Two: 2nd review of the Draft National Peace policy. 

For ownership, a concretized outcome, and faster drive, a government expert Commissioner, Policy and Planning, Ministry of Internal Affairs based on his technical expertise in policy and planning conducted the second in-depth technical review of the NPBCT policy.  He developed intervention areas that were still missing in the document, checked its conformity with other existing government frameworks, and made a presentation in the second review workshop held from 17th to 19th August 2022 that brought together 16 participants.   They included representatives from  Civil Society, Uganda Human Rights Commission, Ministry of Internal Affairs  Policy and Planning  Department, Uganda  Joint Christian Council  and the Refugee Law  Project. The group thoroughly reviewed and polished the   2nd   2022 Peace policy document which has since been shared with the Ministry of Internal Affairs for review.

The review findings were to inform engagements of the women peace champions with other relevant stakeholders e.g., ministries/departments/agencies, Parliament, and traditional institutions to influence the passing of the policy.  

Vacancy Announcement: Communications Officer

Role Summary

We are looking to hire a Communications Officer as part of our Communications Department. The Communications Officer will play a lead role in fulfilling the communications objectives of each one of The Peace Centre’s strategic objectives namely:  Enhanced technical expertise of women to participate in peace processes, Information is available for women to influence decision-making in peace processes, Deliberate attempts to claim spaces for women to participate at all levels of peace processes and Holistic Wellbeing of Women in Peace Processes.

The Communications Officer supports and drives institutional communication for the organization including digital marketing and content creation, and pursues visibility for the organization in a manner consistent with feminist values. The Communications Officer reports to the Strategic Partnerships and Advocacy Manager.

How To Apply

Candidates who meet the above criteria are advised to apply.  To apply, submit a cover letter, CV and writing samples via email with the subject “Application for the Position of Communications Officer” to applications@wipc.org by 31st August 2022

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Read the job description: here

The Regional Learning and Networking Exchange for Just Future Partners on Best Practices For the Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

It is the vision of Just Future partners to attain more inclusive policy outcomes with a focus on the youth and Women, Peace, and Security agendas that emphasises political decision making especially in peace processes which is more inclusive of and accountable to the most excluded constituencies.

Against this background, Women’s International Peace Centre in partnership with Cordaid organised a Learning and Networking Exchange for thirty partners from Afghanistan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mali, Niger, and South Sudan from 8th to 11th August in Kampala.  

Through mutual learning and capacity strengthening on lobbying and advocacy among civil society partners and other stakeholders, the practical learning space provided participants with a first-hand account from similar organisations on the Women Peace and Security agenda. It also provided a forum for knowledge exchange and learning of best practices that can be replicated in their home countries.

Presentations were made by a diverse group of experts, scholars and practitioners from the national and international peace and security arena on the localisation, funding, lobbying, emerging trends and other issues regarding the implementation of WPS agenda. 

In the keynote’s address from Professor Cheryl Hendricks, the Executive Director of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and a Board Member of the Peace Centre, it was noted that while there has been good progress in integrating the WPS agenda into the peace and security infrastructure which was formerly dominated by patriarchal attitudes, there are still a number of areas where there are deficits including targets for women in peacekeeping units and police forces which remain unattained. 

She highlighted the increase in conflicts and the associated gender based violence, the rise in conservatism, militia conflicts, conflict connected to climate change, and rise in the militarisation of societies which continue to cripple the progress of the agenda. In her conclusion, she urged partners to think of more innovative solutions and a rethinking of approaches for implementing the agenda that will get their governments involved and participating.

The meeting also facilitated sessions of engaging regional institutions such as FemWise and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and their role in advancing the Women Peace and Security Agenda. Remarks from Canon Joyce Nima, emphasised that FemWise collaborates with networks in the other regions of the world, especially South to South networks to institutionalise inclusion of women in peace and mediation processes, build the capacity of professional women mediators at all levels, join panels, and facilitate the deployment of women-only mediators in cases where it is called for.

IGAD on the other hand is working in partnership with its eight member states to develop National Action Plans for UNSCR 1325 to fit individual country needs, Rabab Baldo, a panellist from IGAD shared.

Other discussions of the meeting focused on sharing experiences and success stories of implementing WPS at country level, strengthening women’s representation and participation in peace processes and post conflict peace building, trends and emerging needs for new security issues to which the WPS framework should be applied and wellness and wellbeing for development practitioners. 

The workshop culminated in the country groups developing lobby and advocacy plans based on what insights they had gleaned from the discussions and experience sharing. They were tasked with taking these drafts back to their countries and making concrete action steps that are feasible to implement. 

Women’s Perspectives on the Establishment of the Committee for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing in South Sudan

In April 2022, the Government of South Sudan launched public consultations for the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH). The process was welcomed by government officials, civil society organisations, religious leaders, academia, members of the diplomatic community and development partners, who attended the event.

The outcomes of the consultations will inform the drafting of a bill for the establishment of the CTRH which is one of the transitional justice mechanisms provided for in the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) 2018.

To ensure that reconciliation in South Sudan is driven and owned by the women; that it is survivor-centred and that it addresses all grievances to pave the way for a reconciled and healed South Sudan, the Women’s International Peace Centre in collaboration with CORDAID South Sudan, Search for Common Ground South Sudan, Initiative for Peace Communication and Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice held consultative meetings with groups of women leaders in Juba, Yei, Wau and Bor.

Download a copy of the Information Brief here: Women’s Perspectives on the Establishment of the Committee for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing in South Sudan

4th GIMAC Strategic Engagement with AU, RECs and Partners on the AU

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls matter for nutrition because they have an important bearing on the three underlying determinants of nutrition which include food security, care practices and health. Women play a critical role as producers and enhancing productivity with an implication on food consumption and monitory return at national and household level.

Read More “4th GIMAC Strategic Engagement with AU, RECs and Partners on the AU”

The Resilience of Young Urban Refugees in Uganda

In January 2022, The Peace Centre trained 30 young urban refugees living in Uganda from Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan on leadership and peacebuilding. The training aimed to promote young urban refugee women and GBV survivors’ leadership in peace-building processes by equipping them with skills and knowledge to fully understand the policy frameworks, design messages, identify opportunities for influencing and plan the next steps in their advocacy.

The following are documented stories of some of the participants of the training and how they have been impacted over time. Here they also share experiences and challenges regarding settling in Uganda. All names used in these stories are pseudonyms.

SALMA

I am the Director of ‘Stand Up and Shine Foundation’, an initiative established to help refugees in my community. As a source of income, I operate a bakery and a tailoring shop. In my community, there have been multiple cases of gender-based violence some of which get to be reported and others that never make it to the light. These to mention but a few include; employers abusing their employees, stepfathers raping their stepdaughters and mothers forcing their children into prostitution in order to secure some income for the family.

On multiple occasions, I have had to intervene in these cases by reporting them to village leaders as well as the Police. However, without much reliance on the police that ‘continues to fail us, I offer counselling and guidance to girls and young women refugees that have been victims of societal vices like gender-based violence. Similarly, I offer training in tailoring and baking skills to these victim girls and young women to help them get their lives back on track.

As a result of the peacebuilding training, I am more informed of my rights as a refugee- what is acceptable and non-acceptable to me, how I can participate in decision-making as a woman and I am more aware of the different ways to defend myself. With this, therefore, I have gone ahead to train other fellow refugees on how to foster peace in their homes and the community at large.

Also, as part of my training lessons, I have mastered the skill of looking for opportunities to better myself in all spheres of life. This has been very instrumental to the growth of my business as I wake every morning with a vision of meeting new people and finding new opportunities.

I hope to see my community change for the better. I desire an establishment of a major training Centre where refugees can be trained in various skills such as English, computer and social skills, baking, cooking and many more that can help them live a decent life even while in a foreign country.

JEANNE

“I had suicidal thoughts at a certain point of my life but that well-being session made me look at life differently thereafter.” Jeanne is a 40 yr old Congolese refugee leader in Kitebi, an area she has been living in for the last 12 yrs since she arrived in Uganda.

Upon learning about mental wellness in the training, I was encouraged to embrace my life as one that is precious and needs to be taken care of. I was also encouraged to stay true to myself, keep positive and be hopeful in all situations.

Today, I am very passionate about mental wellness seeing that many refugees suffer from a lot of stress-related issues but have no knowledge of how to deal with them. I have made it my sole responsibility to sensitize people about taking care of their mental health in my community.

I have since embraced writing as a form of therapy helping me deal with unresolved feelings in my heart rather than bottling them up within. This has helped me remain strong even in the most difficult situations.

Through the writing process, I also encourage my fellow refugees to write down their experiences. ‘This has helped them express their feelings.  Above all, I encourage them to be grateful for having Life because with the life they have hope for a better future.

I have also engaged with refugees in some of the settlements where I was taken to work as a volunteer, at the hospital.

I take a keen interest in interacting with women and girls who are victims of gender-based violence in the community. I help them look at life as an always-changing process with both good and bad things happening but one ought to be open-minded at all times.

In cases of rape or defilement, I mobilize colleagues to help victim girls by seeking medical attention from health centres as well as carrying out check-ups, the survivors are introduced to pep treatment while it’s still early and then we report the cases to the persons responsible especially village leaders and Police.

The latter however hasn’t yielded much success as they are not many refugee cases reported in the community that are taken seriously.

I reported a case of a 16-year-old girl that was defiled and became pregnant. Upon giving birth, she was denied a birth certificate from the hospital because of failure to provide evidence for the identity of the baby’s father. When the case was reported to the Police, no help was rendered to the young lady to date.

According to Jeanne, many refugees’ needs are neglected in the communities they live in which makes it harder for them to heal from the trauma of war they faced in their home countries.

“I want to see that my people can sustain themselves, that they have hope to eat, sleep peacefully, can be able to go to hospital and be attended to.”- Jeanne said, “this is the only way I will be fully content as a leader”.

EBONY

Ebony is a Congolese refugee leader heading a saving group for refugees in Najjanankumbi. According to her, this group was formed with an aim of ‘chasing’ poverty amongst refugees so they can all have a better chance at life.

Through the Peace Centre training, Ebony has since become an effective leader in her community; She has learnt how to deal with people, especially when addressing community problems.

For instance, in cases of domestic violence, she mobilizes committee leaders of the group to collect money to buy foodstuffs, sugar, soap, and other home utilities that they carry to the victims’ homes to help settle the matter. With this, they then go ahead to advise the couple against domestic violence and its dangers.

However, due to COVID-19, there have been spiralled numbers of teenage pregnancies and domestic violence cases in the community. These have unfortunately slowed down  the response rate of individuals in addressing these matters. Ebony associates these escalated problems with the high poverty levels of people to the point where husbands now beat their wives over very small matters.

“Hunger is making people do what they are not supposed to do; people end up fighting when they are hungry and everything annoys them.”

Through her savings program, Ebony was able to open a mini supermarket as a source of income to sustain her family. In return, she was able to help other refugees with relief, especially in form of food for those that were in desperate need of help.

Regrettably, the supermarket has been closed down due to the failure of paying up the accumulated rent dues that were a result of the Covid-19 Lockdown.

‘It hasn’t been easy since,’ She said, as most members of the group don’t attend meetings anymore. ‘There’s nothing in it for them so they would rather go look for food elsewhere to feed their families.’

Among many things, Ebony is grateful for the training session on wellness as she is using the skills acquired to withstand stress and keep sane even in the hardest of times. She maintains strong courage with the hope that things will get better soon.

She continues to encourage girls and young women that are victims of gender-based violence to keep holding on and not give up while assisting them in any way she’s able to.

Ebony believes that with the necessary assistance, refugees can be able to put their skills and creativity to proper use. That is to say; when they are trained, they should be supported a step further with capital to get their businesses running. Otherwise, without support like that, most of them end up failing to even start.

Women Leading Mediation in Uganda: A Reflective Report

This report presents women’s resilience, activism, leadership and influence on systems and structures to promote the women, peace and security agenda in the Refugee Settlements and Host Communities of Adjumani, Kotido and Yumbe districts in Uganda.

Women Leading Mediation in Uganda A Reflective Report

Training National Women Peace Champions On the Uganda National Action PLan(III) and the Draft National Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation Policy

Since independence, Uganda has witnessed tyrannical and dictatorial rule and hand over of power through the gun. The situation has not been helped by emerging conflicts around resources often due to influence from international actors that exacerbate the divide between different national, religious and ethnic groups in the country. Uganda has also experienced conflict as a result of events in the Great Lakes Region as its geographical position places it at a crossroads of armed conflicts in Sudan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other countries within the region. As a result, women and girls continue to suffer the effects of armed conflict in much of fragile Uganda. 

Currently, Uganda is implementing its third National Action Plan (NAP III) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) (2020-2025) under the leadership of the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development. NAP IIIseeks to drive impact in addressing key persisting and new WPS issues such as the influx of refugees, socio-economic and demographic concerns, conflicts over natural resources, climate change and environmental stressors and disasters, transnational threats, organized criminal activities, cultural disputes and many more and despite its existence, awareness on the mechanism has been remarkably low at different levels.  

In a similar manner, Uganda started the process of developing a National Peace Building and Conflict Transformation Policy in 2000; which seeks to create a national peace building framework, mainstream gender concerns into peacebuilding efforts, and establish a gender sensitive conflict early warning system. The framework will also guide the development of conflict transformation approaches and systems that will address social, economic, political, cultural and gender related injustices that lead to internal and cross border conflicts. However, since the development of the first draft in 2015, the policy is still in draft form yet conflicts which affect women disproportionately continue to happen.

It is upon this background that the Women’s International Peace Centre in partnership with Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) conducted a two days’ training in Kampala from 5th to 6th July 2022 for 30 national women peace champions. The aim of the training was to increase awareness of the NAP III on the Women, Peace and Security agenda and the National Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation Policy while influencing efforts with local and national actors.

The women peace champions selected from a broad spectrum included; women from Civil Society Organizations, private sector, religious and cultural leadership, and young women from media.

Sessions of the trainings emphasized women, peace and security with a specific focus on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, its background, provisions and what it recognizes such as the inclusion of a gender perspective at all levels of decision-making, protection of and respect for human rights of women and girls, protection from Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), gender perspective in peacekeeping including post-conflict processes,  and in the reports of the Secretary General as well as the  Security Council., The training also highlighted some of the resolutions related to  UNSCR 1325 such as UNSCR1820, UNSCR 1888, UNSCR 1889, UNSCR 1960, UNSCR 2106, and UNSCR 2122.

Our Executive Director, Helen Kezie-Nwoha, facilitated a session on Women, Peace and Security and highlighted that the agenda emphasizes that women are not only victims of conflict and instability but are also  active agents in both formal and informal peace-building and recovery processes.

 

In relation to that, Doreen Bakeiha, the focal person on NAP III at the Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development unpacked the National Action Plan with emphasis on its background, relevance, and key components.  She also delved into the history of conflicts in Uganda, how women shape peace and security, laws that support participation of women in peace and security, and the role of women and other stakeholders in the implementation of the NAP. She highlighted that for the implementation of the NAP III to be successful, different actors must work together to support and invest in participatory processes, social accountability tools and localization initiatives.

The NAP III priority outcomes were stated as: All forms of violence prevented and conflicts resolved; good governance enhanced at all levels which includes increasing the participation of women in the security sector; natural and human made disasters are prevented and mitigated;and systems and structures for implementation and coordination of NAP III strengthened.

The session on the draft National Peace Building and Conflict Transformational policy was facilitated by Elizabeth Katusiime from the Conflict Early Warning and Early Response Unit, Ministry on Internal Affairs.  She unpacked the policy highlighting its history, overall and specific objectives and its relevance.

Other sessions of the training included peacebuilding which enabled participants to; understand conflicts and conflict analysis tools which involved examining conflict dynamics, governance systems and conflict triggers, symptoms and root causes of conflicts; conflict early warning and early response; peacebuilding; as well as negotiation and mediation.

In conclusion, with a focus on strategic advocacy for the National Peace Building and Conflict Transformation Policy, participants collectively strategized on possible ways to prioritise the policy and push for its passing. The following were agreed upon;   

  1. Hold national level influential workshops, that is, strategic lobby and advocacy meetings with different stakeholders for example state and non-state actors including (prime minister, technical staff, CSOs and donors).  
  2. Scale up awareness on the draft national peacebuilding and conflict transformation policy through multi media campaigns, policy briefs for the wider audience to understand. 
  3. Popularizing the peace policy among Civil Society Organisations 
  4. Technical review and engagements on the draft national peace policy with key stakeholders reviewing and engaging on the national peace policy.  
  5. Conduct validation of the peace policy with the wider stakeholders from across the regions for inclusive drafting.  
  6. Engagement with the parliamentary committee on disaster involving UWOPA and Greater North Parliamentary Association.

Young Women Leader’s Training; Building Sustainable Peace in South Sudan

Currently, the Women’s International Peace Centre is implementing a project  “Building Sustainable Peace: Women, Peace, and Security (2019-2022)” in South Sudan. The project seeks to strengthen the capacity of women in South Sudan to mitigate conflict and sustain peace by enhancing their peace-building skills with a focus on mediation, conflict early warning, monitoring, analysis, and reporting from an engendered perspective. 

From 20th to 25th June 2022, The Peace Centre conducted a training for 41 young women leaders from Wau, Yei, and Juba in South Sudan under the theme: “Young Women as Champions of Peace Building”, including youth leaders in the informal sector, young women leaders with disabilities, Civil Society youth leaders, political parties, academia, and female journalists.

Major topics of discussion included; Understanding peace and security in South Sudan, climate change and its dimensions in S.Sudan, documenting, reporting from a gender and women, peace and security lens, sexual reproductive health, and understanding feminist digital activism as an advocacy action plan.

During the training, participants were guided to share on the status of WPS in their communities. Key issues raised included increased gang violence, rape that is perpetuated by soldiers, weak laws on Gender Based Violence and the economic situation causing frustration in people among others.

Participants were also introduced to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 which emphasises the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building initiatives

It was noted that South Sudan is subject to International, continental and domestic frameworks such as; the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on Rights of women in Africa (MAPUTO Protocol), AU Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, Intergovernmental Authority of Development to mention but a few whose commitments she needed to respect. This however has not been the case as evidenced by the level of insecurity in the country.

The training also highlighted climate change and its impacts such as food insecurity and famine, displacements, excercabation of poverty as major causes of instability in the country thus solutions had to be found to combat the escalating problem.

Other topics of discussion included leadership skills, financial literacy skills, wellness and self-care sessions.

From the training, the young women developed action plans focusing on addressing issues of early child pregnancies/marriages; Child labor and street children, and inaccessibility of Sexual Reproductive Health Rights for women living with disabilities which were to be implemented in their various communities based on the knowledge acquired.

Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding Regional Policy Conference

This regional conference was organized as a collaboration between the Great Lakes Region of African members of the Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding (SVNP), under the auspices of the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars Africa Program.

The conference planning, organization and implementation was led by the Women’s International Peace Centre (The Peace Centre), the Centre d’Etudes pour l’Action Sociale (CEPAS), the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR-Rwanda) and the Centre for Conflict Management (CCM) of the University of Rwanda.

Download the Report here: Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding Regional Policy Conference

Young Women Refugee Inclusion in Peacebuilding in Uganda

This policy brief is based on the the findings of the assessment on young refugee women’s participation in peacebuilding processes (The Peace Centre, 2021). The analysis reveals low participation of young refugee women in peacebuilding due to low levels of education and thus affecting their positioning in leadership. This policy brief argues that to ensure young refugee women’s participation in decision-making, there is a need for government and all humanitarian actors to promote refugee women’s leadership and participation in decision-making in humanitarian and recovery efforts through the strategic engagement of women leaders and women’s organisations.

Download the Policy brief here: Young Women Refugee Inclusion in Peacebuilding in Uganda

Promoting Peace, Security and Justice: Experiences and Lessons from Civil Society Organisations in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan

This 53rd edition of Women’s World highlights the experiences, good practices, and lessons learned by the Just Future civil society partners in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and South Sudan advancing inclusive peace, people-centred security, and access to justice.

From Burundi, we share the peacebuilding experience of L’association des Femmes Rapatriés du Burundi (AFRABU) a women-led non-governmental organisation focused on strengthening access to justice for women, youth, and vulnerable groups. The DRC write-up presents the experiences, achievements, challenges, and lessons learned in the role played by civil society organizations (CSOs) such as Reseau pour la Réforme du Secteur de Sécurité et Justice (RRSSJ) in the implementation of security sector reform processes. The article also proposes recommendations likely to mitigate the obstacles that undermine the effectiveness of the envisaged reforms. The work of SOS- Information Juridique Multisectorielle (SOS-IJM) and Dynamique Des Femmes Juristes (DFJ) in the implementation of legal clinics in North and South Kivu in the DRC offers key lessons on legal aid services for alternative dispute resolution in a complex conflict-affect context dealing with multiple challenges within the judicial system.

The experience of Eve Organisation for Women Development in South Sudan offers good practices to consider when working with the security sector, to address sexual and gender-based violence and conflict-related sexual violence of the South Sudan Law Society illuminates the critical role of civil society in advocating for transitional justice and their involvement in the implementation.

Womens’ World 53_English

Regional Policy Conference on Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes

Countries in the Great Lakes Region (GLR) such as DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Central African Republic and South Sudan have been prone to conflict for several decades, and have witnessed some of the worst conflicts on the African continent. Among these are the genocide in Rwanda, civil war in Burundi and South Sudan, conflict in Sudan (Darfur), cross-border conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and, more recently, sectarian conflict in Central African Republic (CAR).

Based on the recognition that political instability and conflicts in these countries have a considerable regional dimension and thus require a concerted effort in order to promote sustainable peace and development, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region was established. Read More “Regional Policy Conference on Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes”

National Multi Stakeholder’s Advocacy Dialogue on Peacebuilding in Refugee and host communities

Women’s International Peace Centre has been implementing a project Leading voices; strengthening capacities for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence prevention and peace building in Uganda with funding from the Women Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) in partnership with the EU-funded Spotlight Initiative and received technical support from the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

The project strengthened the leadership capacity and influence of local women leaders and women groups across refugee settlements and host communities at Sub County level in Adjumani district. It aimed at bringing them to work together to address gender-based violence, women’s specific peace and security concerns as well as effectively influence peace building and decision-making processes to advance gender equality in humanitarian settings using SASA Together methodology.

As the programme comes to an end, the Peace Centre convened a one-day multi-stakeholders dialogue under the theme “Refugee women at the forefront of peacebuilding” on 2nd June 2022 with a total of 47 stakeholders (35 females and 12 males) in Kampala.

The dialogue sought to share insights on best practices, discuss emerging priorities, and take stock of achievements in the previous years as well as highlight key Women Peace and Security issues from the host communities and refugee/humanitarian contexts.

The meeting facilitated learning among the Community Activistsas they shared experiences of handling GBV and identified areas of synergy & partnership among key actors including; representatives from Adjumani refugees and host communities; Adjumani District Local Government, urban refugees from Kampala national level stakeholders, Office of the Prime Minister and CSOs working in humanitarian settings.

According to Ms Isabella Bwire from the Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund, women also strengthen the economy when they play an active role in the resolution of conflicts.

“Women enhance the impact of humanitarian support and reduce extremism and its spread,” She said, “However even when their role in peace processes is recognised, they receive very little recognition and financial resources for their work.” Bwire added.

She, therefore, encouraged the formation of partnerships that support programmes which ensure commitments to Women, Peace and Security; advocate for gender equality, and influence peace and security processes through multi-stakeholder coordination, monitoring and accountability frameworks. This way, there will be increased meaningful participation, leadership and protection of women in peace and security as well as strengthened gender-responsive institutional capacity in peacebuilding, peace-making, peacekeeping, and prevention of conflict.

By the close of the meeting, policy recommendations were put forward for follow-up/adoption by different stakeholders. These included the expansion and support of policy programmes and strategies that promote gender equality and social norms to address the root causes of Gender Based Violence by all stakeholders.

Amplifying Young Women’s Voice and Power in Peacebuilding Processes through Feminist Leadership Institute 2022

Recognising the importance of having women in positions of leadership and the critical role they play in efforts to promote stable and lasting peace, the Peace Centre conducted its Feminist Leadership Institute for 21 young women leaders from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Uganda.

The training was organised as a refresher training following an initial one that had been held in August 2022.

Conducted from 6th to 9th June 2022 under the theme; “Amplifying Young Women’s Voice and Power in Peace Building”,  the training aimed at enhancing
capacities of young women leaders as change agents in peace building and social transformation.

Participants noted that since the training in 2020, they had used the knowledge and skills they acquired to establish organisations, contest for political leadership and published articles about their leadership journeys, among others.

The Leadership Institute therefore deepened the young women’s understanding of the Women, Peace and Security agenda including National Action Plans; Peace and Conflict Management; Early Warning and Early Response; as well as their ability to organise collectively for instance on social media through feminist digital activism.

The training enhanced the capacities of the young women leaders to promote and protect their rights, and to use resolutions to hold duty bearers accountable and find peaceful solutions to conflicts in their communities.

Interrogating Elections in Africa: Are there alternatives?

Elections are a key ingredient of democratic governance and women’s political participation is seen as a prerequisite for any truly democratic process. The discipline of acquiring power through an election is assumed to make governments accountable to citizens and confer legitimacy. However, in the absence of women’s full and equal participation as voters, political candidates, critical actors in the electoral processes and, elected office, governments cannot claim to be fully accountable to citizens. Women’s leadership and participation are expected to not only determine the dynamics and distribution of political power but to be active participants in all activities of political parties thereby shaping the nature of institutions that wield political and economic power.

Read More “Interrogating Elections in Africa: Are there alternatives?”

Advocacy Training for The Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 On Women, Peace and Security, In Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

 From May 30 to June 01, 2022, Women’s International Peace Centre conducted a 3-day training for civil society organizations involved in the implementation of the Just Future program under the theme “Advocacy for the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security”. 

The training which was attended by 14 people aimed at strengthening the knowledge of the participants on Resolution 1325 and its intersectionality in their programs; improve the capacities of Just Future partner organizations in lobbying and advocacy techniques; and enable them to develop a collaborative approach with regional mechanisms around the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

During the meeting, participants carried out an analysis of the context of the implementation of the resolution in the DRC according to the pillars of participation, protection, prevention and community recovery. The trainees also participated in follow-up of exchanges of practical experiences on the implementation of the resolution by local partner organizations and a simulation exercise. These were later grouped into 3 classes according to the 3 trajectories of the program who presented strategies on how they intended to do lobbying and advocacy in the respective areas of intervention.

The training encouraged alliance building as an advocacy strategy at the community, national and regional levels. Participants were encouraged to form alliances with other organisations that share the same challenges or that can be influenced to support their planned action so as to have successful advocacy. At the end of the training, participants developed action plans for implementing UNSCR 1325 in their respective areas of work.

Training Women Peace Mediators in Kotido and Moroto

Women’s International Peace Centre (The Peace Centre) and the Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) with support from The Embassy of Ireland are partnering in an 8-month project “Women at the Centre of Sustaining Peace in Uganda” to promote the implementation of Uganda’s National Action Plan III (2021 – 2025) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) at the national level and in Karamoja, particularly Kotido and Moroto districts.

From 11th to 13th and 19th to 20th May 2022, The Peace Centre in partnership with Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) conducted trainings of peace mediators in Kotido and Moroto respectively. The trainings were carried out with the objective of enhancing peace mediators’ capacity with peacebuilding and conflict transformation skills such as mediation, negotiation, safety and security, wellness and advocacy so as to contribute effectively to peace.

In Kotido, 55 peace mediators (47 females and 8 males) from sub-counties of Rengen, Panyagara, Nakapelimolu and Kotido Municipality were trained whereas 51 (32 females and 19 males) from the sub-counties of Tapac, Loputuk/ Nadunget, Katitikekile and Moroto Municipality were trained in Moroto.

Sessions of the trainings focused on building an understanding of the NAP III while unpacking its background, relevance, pillars as well as its key components on Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

Discussions also highlighted the need for all respective actors to work together to support and invest in participatory processes, social accountability tools and localization initiatives in order to ensure the successful implementation of the NAP III.

Similarly, sessions unpacked the draft national peacebuilding and conflict transformation policy while exploring its development process, overall objective, relevance and rationale to the stakeholders.

As a result, the trainings increased knowledge among citizens and popularised the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, the Uganda National Action Plan (NAP) III on Women Peace and Security, the 2015 draft national Peace Building and Conflict Transformation Policy as well as enhanced peacebuilding skills among the peace mediators.

This has in turn increased women’s contribution to peace in Karamoja region through awareness sessions, dialogues, peer to peer lobbying as with the campaign towards the disarmament process.

At the end of the training, peace mediators generated community action plans to harness awareness and peacebuilding efforts at the community level. The action plans developed included; community meetings to review peace matters, awareness raising through music, dance & drama and to pass peace messages, conflict monitoring and reporting, peace dialogues, community outreaches for lobby among peers not to engage in conflicts, supporting the ongoing disarmament exercise and disseminating the NAP III to the political and technical planning teams.

Training Women Peace Mediators; Strengthening Capacities for Women’s Effective Participation in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding in South Sudan

Through implementing the project “Strengthening Capacities for Women’s effective Participation in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding in South Sudan (2022)”, the Women’s International Peace Centre project seeks to strengthen the capacity of women in South Sudan to mitigate conflict and sustain peace through enhancing their peace building skills.

Read More “Training Women Peace Mediators; Strengthening Capacities for Women’s Effective Participation in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding in South Sudan”

Women at the Forefront of Conflict Resolution

While powerful gains have been made in the field of Women, Peace and Security at a broader level with an increase in the number of women in politics and governance alongside the national policies and laws, it is still vital to focus on women leaders in religious, cultural and civil society spaces while acknowledging the peacebuilding realities women are navigating through.

Read More “Women at the Forefront of Conflict Resolution”

Why Young People Need to be Empowered

Valine Samantha Wejuli is the current Vice President of the Makerere Rotaract Club, a position she was voted in after she had been trained in peacebuilding and Leadership by the peace centre in 2021.

Read More “Why Young People Need to be Empowered”

Maximising Youth Potential in Peacebuilding Processes

In Uganda, more than 78% of the population is below the age of 30. These represent an enormous untapped potential that can significantly contribute to the country’s political and social development if they are actively involved in influencing, shaping, designing and contributing to policy formulation and development processes. That being said, it is critical that youth inclusively participate in peacebuilding processes to ensure sustainable and inclusive peace.

Read More “Maximising Youth Potential in Peacebuilding Processes”

“We Need to be heard! Our Voices Matter”- Racheal Peace Kanyi

While it’s true that youth inclusion in peacebuilding processes is critical for ensuring sustainable and inclusive peace as recognised by the UNSCR 2250, young people remain largely excluded from formal peacebuilding processes.

Read More ““We Need to be heard! Our Voices Matter”- Racheal Peace Kanyi”

Civil Society Organisations’ Training On Peacebuilding, Gender-Sensitive Programs, and Advocacy for The Effective Implementation of United Nations Security Commission Resolution 1325 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

From 12th to 14th  April, civil society organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo involved in the implementation of the Just Future program were trained on consolidation of peace, gender-sensitive programs, and advocacy for the effective implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security by Women’s International Peace Centre.

The 3-day training took place in Kinshasa and brought together 13 participants including 7 women and 6 men with the main objective of providing knowledge and skills to partner civil society organizations for the integration of gender in their policies and interventions. 

The training was based on the andragogical method which allowed the partners to participate in the planning and evaluation of their learning. It was participatory, interactive and involved cross-sectional discussions to allow participants to contribute to their own understanding of the theme.

At the end of the training, the 13 participants had a better understanding of the basic concepts of gender equality in development; had the methodological tools to improve the integration of gender equality in the design, planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation of community-based projects in the internal functioning of their organizations and adopted gender-sensitive behavior including positive masculinity.

 

Enhancing the Capacity of Young Women Leaders on Physical and Digital Protection

Digital security is of serious concern, especially since people spend more time online than ever. COVID-19 pandemic led to isolation and social distancing measures which meant that everyday activities like work and schooling were shifted online. The presence in digital spaces increases exposure to digital threats, which in turn creates the need for greater awareness of how to safely navigate the online world. From 23rd to 25th March 2022, the Peace Centre organised a physical and digital protection training.

Read More “Enhancing the Capacity of Young Women Leaders on Physical and Digital Protection”

Women Peace and Security Reflection Workshop on NAP III Implementation, Progress, Gaps and Opportunities.

The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) launched the third National Action Plan (NAP) III on Women, Peace, and Security on 8th March 2021 amidst COVID- 19 restrictions which was hugely consultative.

It is in this regard that the Women’s International Peace Centre in collaboration with Coalition for Action on 1325, and its partners convened a National Women, Peace and Security Forum on 22nd April 2022 in Kampala to achieve the following objectives;

  1. Increase knowledge and understanding of the M&E framework for NAP III
  2. Document what has been achieved and lessons learnt in the first year of the NAP implementation
  3. Cross-learning with women peacebuilders from other East African countries for more effective WPS implementation.

The forum brought together 96 participants (75female and 21 male) from different sectors including Ministries Departments and Agencies, UN Agencies, Embassies, NAP III Steering committee members, Security institutions, Local Government, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) at the national level and grass root level, the academia, the media, youth peace ambassadors and international WPS players from Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

It also facilitated a review and discussed progress, challenges, emerging issues and recommendations to improve the NAP III implementation process after one year of its launch in 2021.  This increased knowledge and understanding of the monitoring and evaluation framework for NAP III, documented key achievements and lessons learnt and facilitated cross-learning with women peacebuilders from other East African countries for more effective Women Peace and Security implementation.

Discussions from the meeting provided a platform for different players from Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda to share experiences in terms of best practices, progress made, challenges and recommendations to best implement National Action Plans on Women Peace and Security agenda. This aimed at inspiring and increasing understanding of what is being done by different stakeholders and countries to best implement the WPS agenda.

By closure of the forum, commitments were made by different partners including leaders of CSOs, UN Women, Austrian Development Agency, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development with each committing to play a significant and unique role in the implementation of the NAP III. These commitments included; continuously working with international agencies, CSOs, and local governments to find lasting solutions to the increasing number of refugees in Uganda, working with the government of Uganda through MGLSD and CSOs to increase funding for effective implementation of NAP III through localization and other strategies, increasing efforts through CSOs and government towards addressing crisis including teenage pregnancies in Uganda to mention but a few.

 

Environmental Peace and Advancing the Women Peace and Security Agenda in Africa

What does advancing Feminist Peace in the context of climate change look like?

Women’s International Peace Centre hosted a parallel event on 14th March at the 66th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women to further discussions on gender equality as it relates to climate change and environmental risk reduction within conflict-affected settings with a focus on women’s experiences and recommendations for advancing peace in this context.

Read More “Environmental Peace and Advancing the Women Peace and Security Agenda in Africa”

GIRLS’ POWER CAMP ENHANCING LEADERSHIP SKILLS

By deliberately working towards tracking and supporting the well-being of women and girls through trauma healing and overcoming critical steps to wholesomely recover from war impact, Women’s International Peace Centre from time to time organises camps for adolescent girls from different schools in conflict affected areas.

On 4th and 5th March 2022, the Peace Centre organised a Girls’ Power Camp at Orungo Primary School in Amuria district under the theme ‘Building our leadership’ aimed at raising awareness on sexual and reproductive health rights, leadership, and managing the evolutionary trends of COVID-19.

The two-day camp brought together a total of 171 female students from Primary Five, Six, and Seven.

Sessions facilitated in the camp included; –

Reflection on pupils’ lives.

The session examined the impact of the closure of schools and the new challenges emerging with the new trends in COVID-19. Responses from the students reflected an increase in; orphaned children as a result of parents’ death from COVID-19, forced early marriages, teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions, child abuse, GBV in form of sexual harassment, and many more.

Understanding our bodies

This session dealt with the physical and physiological changes during the growth and development of adolescent girls and how to understand their bodies. The physiological changes discussed included; Early marriage and childbearing; Contraction of infectious diseases like (AIDS/sexually transmitted infections); Sexual orientation, abuse or violence, and gender discrimination.

With the physical changes, Sr. Safia Ibiara explained that girls in their adolescence stage would start to experience breast enlargement, growth of pubic hair around their vaginal area, and menstruation which was defined as the shedding of the inner lining of the uterus/uterine wall that occurs during the stage of ripeness called ovulation.

The discussion also highlighted the facilitator’s recommendations for young girls to follow. These  included;

  • Growth and development happens differently for everyone therefore girls were to stop comparing themselves to others. They were discouraged from using creams that had become popular for hip and buttock enhancement.
  • Menstruation is a natural occurrence that begins as early as 8/9 years old and therefore those who started menstruating shouldn’t feel embarrassed.
  • Students to take extra care of their vaginal health by frequently washing themselves and their private parts. They were encouraged to keep their undergarments clean and ensure personal hygiene was maintained especially during their menstruation period by bathing twice/thrice a day where applicable.
  • Pubic hair is natural and therefore they shouldnot be ashamed of it. Young girls were encouraged to shave regularly using a clean razor blade or a shaver.
  • Avoid having bad odor from poor hygiene and rather use deodorant or antiperspirant where applicable.
  • Brushing teeth twice a day and were taught to brush in a circular motion and ensure they scrubbed their tongues as well.
  • Ensuring smartness by keeping nails short and neat, ironing uniforms, keeping uniforms neatly tucked, and clothes clean.
  • Abstaining from sex as they were still young. They were informed about HIV/AIDS, an incurable sexually transmitted disease, and other infections like Gonorrhea and Syphilis which caused health complications for young girls.
  • Another consequence of what Sr. Safia termed as pre-mature sex was early pregnancy which also posed more complications for young girls like vaginal fistula that would lead to uncontrollable passing of urine.
  • Seeking counsel with their senior women teachers or other teachers they felt comfortable with in cases where they had no other adult to rely on; on issues relating to their sexual and reproductive health, as well as their general well-being.

Finally, students were taught step by step practical skilling on making re-usable menstrual pads.

Women at the Centre of Sustaining Peace in Uganda Project Inception Meetings

Evidence shows that women are always affected by war and yet are usually left out of peace processes. With the increasing need to deepen understanding of women’s participation in peacebuilding and the UNSCR 1325 key pillars of participation, prevention, protection and refugee recovery, Women’s International Peace Centre and Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) with support from the Embassy of Ireland partnered in an 8-month project “Women at the Centre of Sustaining Peace in Uganda” to promote the implementation of Uganda’s National Action Plan III (2021 – 2025) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) at the national level and in Karamoja, particularly Kotido and Moroto districts.

Read More “Women at the Centre of Sustaining Peace in Uganda Project Inception Meetings”

Monthly Community Meetings to Tackle Violence Against Women in Ciforo Sub County and Agojo Refugee Settlement

By implementing the project; Strengthening Capacities for Gender Based Violence Prevention and Peace Building in Humanitarian Context in Adjumani district, The Peace Centre conducted 4 monthly community meetings to influence people’s attitudes on Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and Women Peace Security concerns.

The four meetings were held in Ciforo Sub-County and Agojo Refugee settlement respectively between 1st and 7th March 2022 with a total of 444 people (325 females and 119 males) including area local council leaders in the host community and refugee welfare council in the refugee community.

Participants identified key contributing factors to VAW which they shared with culture highlighted as the root cause of VAW causing an imbalance of power between men and women. Other factors included; poor communication, poverty, alcoholism and drug abuse, ignorance, childlessness, and early marriage among other things.

The meetings facilitated in-depth discussion on VAW and enabled participants to identify with some scenarios in their community which helped them to develop recommendations for prevention and attitude change on key violence triggers such as sex in marriage, sex in pregnancy, cleared misconception on women’s emancipation and increased understanding that it’s about women’s participation in decision making, prevention of VAW and protection of women and girls from all forms of violence.

In addition, the meetings also enhanced participants’ understanding of responding to issues of VAW. This mainly addressed people’s perceptions and got them to appreciate that; all children are valuable regardless of their sex, women should be more involved in decision-making and victims of GBV should not be blamed for what has happened to them.

Participants were encouraged to intentionally and continuously challenge beliefs and community silence of VAW because Violence Against one woman is an injustice to all women and is a violation of Human Rights. Therefore, it is everyone’s responsibility to

 

Mediation Dialogues in the Host and Refugee Communities in Adjumani District

Tensions between refugees and the host communities over natural resources, livelihoods and land have sparked a few violent incidents and if not properly addressed could escalate into a broader conflict. The Peace Centre held 2 peace mediation sessions on 28th February and 5th March in Agojo refugee settlement over resource conflicts between the refugee and host community and a land conflict between the community of Ciforo and the Local Government over compensation of landowners whose land has been encroached by the opening of roads in Ciforo Central. 

Read More “Mediation Dialogues in the Host and Refugee Communities in Adjumani District”

Stakeholder’s Advocacy Dialogue at District level to Address Peace and Security Issues

On 3rd March 2022, the Peace Centre convened a Stakeholder’s Advocacy Dialogue in Adjumani for women leaders and duty bearers at the District level to interface on women, peace and security issues. The meeting brought together 40 participants including community activists, village councillors, cultural leaders, local council leaders and district leaders.

The dialogue discussed key advocacy issues such as high bride price alcoholism, drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, poor performance and low education of girls, Land and property rights, polygamy and its associated effects by stakeholders in the course of implementing action against GBV and creating peace within communities.

During the meeting, stakeholders resolved on;

  • The need to emphasise family consent in handling land matters.
  • Continuous sensitization among refugees
  • Documentation of agreements regarding land utilization
  • The need to advocate for mindset change since most people’s minds are dominated by cultural norms that perpetuate violence against women.
  • Need to profile role model men for men to appreciate violent free relationships.
  • Design activities that engage the entire household.
  • Partners to consider incorporating gender action learning tools in the GBV prevention methodology.
  • Local council 5 office to ensure implementation of the district ordinance on time for taking alcohol and make more copies available to the stakeholders at different levels.
  • Emphasize the benefits and enhance awareness for the community to embrace change.
  • Need to emphasize on rights-based approach with women and children being considered in all aspects of development

The meeting also clarified on Uganda’s constitution allowance for the free movement of refugees and peaceful coexistence. This implied that refugees cannot be denied access to animals because of limited grazing land considering that some are pastoralists. As a solution to the problem of stray animals, fines were imposed for both refugees and host communities whose animals are caught straying in people’s gardens.

By the end of the meeting, stakeholders resolved that every one of them had a role to play in ensuring peace in the community by taking action to drive the change they desire to see rather than waiting for others to cause the change for them.

“Conflicts start with us and it’s us to cause change because without peace all that we invest in is vanity. We should not wait for parliament to come and cause a change in our community” the Vice-chairperson LC5 emphasised.

Monitoring, Mentorship and Technical Support for Community Activists

On 24th February, The Peace Centre held a monitoring, mentorship and technical support workshop with 30 Community Activists from the host community of Ciforo Sub County and refugee communities ofAgojo settlement. The purpose of the workshop was to document the actions taken by community activists in preventing and responding to violence against women collectively or individually.

Read More “Monitoring, Mentorship and Technical Support for Community Activists”

Recommendations from the 38th GIMAC on Advancing Women’s Access to Economic Resources to Build Our Continent’s Resilience in Nutrition.

The Gender Is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) Network virtually convened the 38 GIMAC, in line with the African Union (AU)’s decision to spotlight the critical role of nutrition in facilitating a healthy and prosperous continent. The meeting took place against the backdrop of various normative frameworks adopted by the African Union, in pursuit of a healthy continent, including the 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agriculture Growth and Transformation, which committed to ending hunger and reducing child stunting to 10 per cent and the underweight to 5 per cent by the year 2025. The 38 GIMAC further recognized the adoption of several normative instruments and policies such as the Africa Health Strategy 2016 – 2030; the Africa Regional Nutrition Strategy 2015 – 2025 (ARNS); the Declaration on Nutrition Security for Inclusive Economic Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa; and the Resolution on the Establishment of an Organization of African Unity (OAU) Inter-African Centre for Food Science, Technology and Nutrition.

Read More “Recommendations from the 38th GIMAC on Advancing Women’s Access to Economic Resources to Build Our Continent’s Resilience in Nutrition.”

Women’s Participation in the Permanent Constitution-Making Process of South Sudan Information Brief

The Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in Chapter VI-Parameters of a Permanent Constitution sets out the guidelines on the permanent constitution-making process (PCMP). Read More “Women’s Participation in the Permanent Constitution-Making Process of South Sudan Information Brief”

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women, Peace and Security in South Sudan

In 2021, The Peace Centre in partnership with FOKUS conducted research on the advent and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on critical political, social and economic issues that have a direct bearing on women, peace and security in South Sudan.

The research is intended to inform stakeholders’ context-specific response around women peace and security that is evidence-based.

Download a copy here; Impact of the COVID 19 Pandemic on Women Peace and Security in South Sudan Research Report

38th GIMAC: Advancing Women’s Access to Economic Resources to Build Our Continent’s Resilience in Nutrition.

On 1st February 2022, the Gender Is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC Network) convened its 38thVirtual Pre-summit CSOs Consultative meeting under the theme: Advancing Women’s Access to Economic Resources to Build Our Continent’s Resilience in Nutrition in Addis Ababa. Discussions during the meeting highlighted the immense contribution women and girls have made to ending hunger and malnutrition as well as their huge contribution to the advancement of social and economic development.

The 38th GIMAC was co-moderated by Women’s International Peace Centre(The Peace Centre) and the Institute for Social Transformation, with support from the AU Commission for Social Affairs, the Office of the Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security and the AU Women, Youth, Gender and Development Directorate (AU YWGDD) sought to achieve the following objectives through the Pre-Summit Consultation;

  1. Consolidate CSOs’ review of the AU legal and strategic framework on food security and nutrition taking a gender-transformative approach, focusing on achievements and critical gaps towards implementation;
  2. Propose rights-based, inclusive, effective, and efficient strategies that enhance and utilize the agency and role of women and girls in realizing the vision for ending hunger and addressing hunger;
  3. Strengthen intergenerationally and gender transformative approach towards the transformation of societal norms and institutional structures that guarantee a conducive environment for women’s human and economic rights;
  4. Celebrate, document, and share best practices on innovations and positive approaches on gender and nutrition that advance gender equality; and
  5. Provide space for African CSO’s strategic engagement with AU, RECs, UN Agencies, International Organizations, and other stakeholders.

Held in a hybrid and in-person format, the meeting brought together over 200 delegates from more than 20 countries, representing the AU, United Nations officials, Diplomatic missions, development partners, civil society organizations (CSOs), the private sector and other interested groups. Key partners that participated in meetings included the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Plan International, MSD for Mothers, Oxfam, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and Action Aid.

The meeting sought to enable participants to develop proposals and strategies on how best to increase the resilience of African women, youth and girls through quality nutrition to ensure access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food, paying attention to the marginalised and vulnerable groups.

Given that 38GIMAC was held against the backdrop of the pandemic seismic shifts triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially disruptions on the continent’s livelihoods and economies, participants noted how the corresponding mitigation measures such as partial lockdowns, border closures and movement restrictions, have been at the expense of reducing malnutrition.  The unprecedented Covid-19 prevention protocols not only resulted in constricted business activity, but also disrupted food supply chains, and curtailed small-scale agriculture, which is the main source of food and nutrition security in Africa. Not to talk of the full, and partial closure of schools, which resulted in a loss of access to school-feeding programmes, which has negatively affected the lives of children. Additionally, safety net programmes, including community nutrition programmes for women and children that were temporarily halted, exposed populations to food insecurity.

We convened a panel to propose rights based, inclusive, effective and efficient strategies that enhance the agency of women in realizing an end to food and economic insecurity.

Discussions of the panel highlighted key issues such as the poor governance structure in African countries that are skewed against women, exclusion of women from major decision making processes about food production, existence of refugees and asylum seekers which increases demand on essential services especially the need for food in both host and refugee communities, as contributing factors affecting the resilience of women in nutrition.

By conclusion, the meeting enabled participants to develop proposals and strategies on how best to increase the resilience of African women, youth and girls through quality nutrition to ensure access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food, paying attention to the marginalised and vulnerable groups of people.

The recommendations from the 38 GIMAC Pre Summit meeting emphasized the need to address structural and systemic drivers of poverty, gender inequality and socio-economic vulnerability, discrimination and violence against women and girls, as well as challenges of corruption, poor governance and limited political participation by women and youth.

Women at the Centre of Sustaining Peace in Uganda

Women’s International Peace Centre and the Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) with support from The Embassy of Ireland are partnering in an 8-month project “Women at the Centre of Sustaining Peace in Uganda” to promote the implementation of Uganda’s National Action Plan III (2021 – 2025) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) at the national level and in Karamoja, particularly Kotido and Moroto districts from January to August 2022.

Read More “Women at the Centre of Sustaining Peace in Uganda”

Young Urban Refugee Women Leaders Trained on Women Peace and Security

The Peace Centre in partnership with the Global Fund for Women is implementing a project Promoting Young Urban Refugee Women’s Leadership in Peacebuilding in Uganda aimed at promoting young urban refugee women and GBV survivors; leadership in peacebuilding processes and mechanisms in Uganda. As part of the project, the Peace Centre conducted a 3 days training of 30 young urban refugee women representatives from refugee-led organizations in Makindye division on advocacy and influencing, on UNSCR 1325, the contents, processes, and mechanisms associated with Uganda’s National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 from 12th to 14th January 2022.

Read More “Young Urban Refugee Women Leaders Trained on Women Peace and Security”

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

Launch of the Research on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women Peace and Security in South Sudan

We officially launched our research on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women Peace and Security in South Sudan with support from the Forum for Women and Development (FOKUS) and in partnership with the Centre for Inclusive Governance Peace and Justice on 17th November 2021 in Juba, South Sudan.

The pandemic has intensified the already fragile humanitarian and human rights situation, including by further restricting fundamental rights and freedoms. COVID-19 thus poses a serious threat not only to public health, but also to governance, democracy, and peace and security. Systems characterized by weak constitutional orders, lack of accountability, entrenched impunity, and historical and structural inequalities have struggled to respond effectively to the pandemic in compliance with human rights and the rule of law.

Findings from the research sparked a conversation on the impact of COVID19 on Women Peace and Security in South Sudan.

  • Despite women’s involvement in the international frameworks on UNSCR 1325 and the active role that they have played at various levels to bring peace to South Sudan, their role has been underestimated or ignored during political negotiations including in the ongoing COVID-19 situation. For example, the 15-member National Taskforce for COVID-19 reveals women’s under-representation and yet, this is the body that makes policies on COVID-19 in South Sudan that have a direct bearing on the lives of women as caregivers and peacemakers.
  • Though women were appointed to the revitalized transitional government, their decision-making powers are limited. It was also noted that there were very few women in the task force when it was first established.
  • Reduction of funding of women organizations which has crippled women’s ability to respond effectively.
  • COVID-19 Emergency Legislation and Enforcement– In March 2020, The Government introduced restrictions including a partial lockdown. This affected the supply of food and other basic commodities from neighbouring Local markets women suffered the most.
  • Access to health services– The lockdown also did not consider health issues that require emergency movement. Some women needed critical medical attention but could not access health services. Furthermore, the process to obtain clearance was long and often required incentives. Several women could not afford the cost of expediting the clearance process to enable travel.
  • Violation of curfew– authorities used force to enforce curfews, which in some extreme cases resulted in the death of civilians.

“These research findings should be able to influence the work of the National Taskforce on COVID19 in South Sudan. Issues on healthcare, humanitarian response, unpaid care work, social protection, violence against women and girls, livelihood systems and others are highlighted in the report.”- Helen Kezie-Nwoha, Executive Director, The Peace Centre 

  • Restriction of movements limited access to livelihoods. Livelihood systems are heavily reliant on mobility and trade. This negatively affected the work of female entrepreneurs and informal sector workers. Additionally, several women who worked in formal employment were laid off to cut back institutional costs.
  • Humanitarian Assistance– Flooding in Upper Nile increased the number of displaced persons, who could not access humanitarian assistance.
  • Sexual violence against girls– Some girls dropped out of school and got pregnant. Some were forced into early marriage. Boys were also made to start families.
  • Vaccinations– negative stereotypes on vaccination especially on the sexual reproductive health of women. It is believed that vaccination will make women barren and alter the genetic composition of children.
  • Social protection has been minimized. Women cannot access the courts to report issues of sexual violence and there has been little to no access to justice on land issues ultimately affecting their economic viability.

H.E Hussein Abdelbagi Akol, Vice President in charge of the Service Cluster and Chair of the National Taskforce signs and officially launch the research report. 

Recommendations from the research emphasized the need to;

  • Conduct campaigns to raise awareness on COVID-19 in the rural areas
  • More efforts need to be dedicated towards the inclusion of PWDs when it comes to COVID-19 response and the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Experts who have scientific knowledge should be engaged to provide accurate information on the COVID-19 vaccine and its potential side effects.
  • Conduct further research on women’s perceptions of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Vaccinated people need to provide testimonies to encourage others to be vaccinated.
  • Government and/or organization should make more information about the vaccine accessible to the public in general and women in particular

“As the Secretary to the National COVID19 taskforce, I’m committed to making sure we learn from this research to improve our programming for SouthSudan and include gender-responsive COVID 19 measures.”- Dr Victoria Arib Majur, Under Secretary, Minister of Health.

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

Training of Trainers on Community Based Facilitation for Peacebuilding

In October 2021, The Peace Centre with support from the Stephen Lewis Foundation ran a three-day Training of Trainers (ToT) of 23 Community-Based Facilitators for Peacebuilding aimed at building a pool of community-based facilitators on peacebuilding, mediation and leadership. Read More “Training of Trainers on Community Based Facilitation for Peacebuilding”

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.

Launch of the 2nd Edition of the Feminist Peace Series: Crisis as an Opportunity for Transformative Change

The Peace Centre launched their 2nd Edition of The Feminist Peace Series Magazine in a virtual event co-hosted by the LSE Centre for Women Peace and Security on 22nd October 2021. The Feminist Peace Series was born out of the continuous inquiry into what Feminist Peace means in practice intending to showcase the different transformative approaches to peacebuilding.

Read More “Launch of the 2nd Edition of the Feminist Peace Series: Crisis as an Opportunity for Transformative Change”

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”

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.

Read More “Youth Peace Ambassadors Shaping Peace Together Tweet-Chat”

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”

Refresher Training on Peacebuilding for Conflict Monitors and Analysts in Adjumani, Yumbe and Kotido

Between 7th August to 2nd September, The Peace Centre conducted a series of three days’ refresher training on peacebuilding and conflict resolution for 92 conflict analysts and conflict monitors from refugee and host communities in Yumbe, Adjumani and Kotido. The Peace Centre is working with District Peace Committees, Women Peace Mediators, Conflict Analysts and Conflict monitors as the peace structures at District and community level and National Steering Committee at the national level to institutionalize gender-sensitive conflict early warning and early response system. The training was supported by UN Women under the project promoting women’s effective participation in peacebuilding in Uganda.

Read More “Refresher Training on Peacebuilding for Conflict Monitors and Analysts in Adjumani, Yumbe and Kotido”

SASA! Together An Activist Approach for Preventing Violence Against Women

SASA! Together is an activist approach for preventing violence against women. This guide is a revised edition of the SASA! Activist Kit for Preventing Violence Against Women and HIV.

Set-Up-Guide-SASA-Together-FINAL

Women’s Influence in Post Conflict Governance in South Sudan

The Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare (MGCSW) in collaboration with the Women’s International Peace Centre (The Peace Centre) conducted two training sessions on Women, Peace and Security. The training targeted Gender Focal Persons (GFPs) from Government institutions in South Sudan. Both sessions took place at Royal Palace Hotel, Juba, in South Sudan from August 10th – 15th 2019 and September 21st -25th 2020.

This training is part of The Peace Centre’s drive in enhancing capacities to promote development and peace, by monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in South Sudan.

This report highlights the discussions and key training areas: Women’s Influence in Post Conflict Governance in South Sudan 2020

Community Activists Trained to take Action in Preventing Violence Against Women.

To end the culture of violence against women in humanitarian contexts, The Peace Centre trained 30 Community Activists (25 women and 5 men) from Ciforo Sub County and Agojo Refugee Settlement in Adjumani District from 20th to 22nd August 2021. This training engaged the Community Activists on how to use their collective power to create and sustain positive change that prevents Violence Against Women (VAW) through the Action PhaseThe Action phase is the fourth and last phase under the SASA Together methodology that aims to address the root cause of VAW and the power imbalance between women and men at both the individual and community levels.

Read More “Community Activists Trained to take Action in Preventing Violence Against Women.”

New Cohort of Women Peace Mediators Trained in Yumbe and Adjumani District.

For peace initiatives to remain sustainable in the long term, women must be included in every level of the process. From 10th to 20th August, the Peace Centre held 4 mediation training workshops for 204 women peace mediators from the refugee and host communities to equip them to mediate and resolve conflicts within and between communities in Yumbe and Adjumani districts.

Read More “New Cohort of Women Peace Mediators Trained in Yumbe and Adjumani District.”

Training Stakeholders at the District level Using the SASA! Together Methodology

From 17th to 18th August, the Peace Centre held a two day’s training of 33 stakeholders in the circle of influence at the district level using the SASA! Together methodology aimed at strengthening their capacities for gender-based violence prevention and peacebuilding in Adjumani District. Participants included local government officials, civil servants, political leaders, police, cultural leaders among others. 

Read More “Training Stakeholders at the District level Using the SASA! Together Methodology”

Request for Expression of Interest to develop a Documentary on Women’s Participation in Peace Building in Uganda.

1.0 Background   

Women’s International Peace Centre is running a project promoting women’s effective participation in peacebuilding in Uganda from April 2021 to January 2022. This project seeks to promote women’s participation in conflict prevention and peacebuilding in post-conflict Northern Uganda and humanitarian settings of Kotido, Yumbe and Adjumani. We, therefore, seek to document, through a video documentary, the impact of the project with a focus on individual change stories in Yumbe, Adjumani and Kotido.

2.0 Video Documentary

The Peace Centre invites videographers to express their interest to create a short video documentary and submit a brief technical and financial proposal outlining your approach and associated costs.

The video will document the impact of peacebuilders by capturing their change stories, the impact of the project and key learning over time.

Geographic Coverage:  Yumbe, Adjumani and Kotido districts

2.1 Objectives

  • Document the experiences and impact stories of peacebuilders in Adjumani, Kotido and Yumbe

3.0 Key Deliverables  

  • Draft a script and shooting/production plan
  • Capture footage, images, design infographics and conduct interviews
  • Develop a documentary voice over, illustrations, video

3.1 Eligibility Criteria

Individuals and Registered companies/agencies may apply.

  • Extensive experience in filmmaking/videography and photography
  • Evidence of similar high-quality work for non-governmental organizations
  • Experience working in West Nile and Karamoja.
  • Time Management

3.2 Application Requirements:

The Expression of Interest should include:

  • A technical and financial proposal outlining the proposed approach and cost.
  • Curriculum Vitae/Portfolio with Link to work samples
  • Proposed budget and schedule.

3.3 Application Process

Expression of Interest can be submitted as a soft copy by email to procurement@wipc.org by 27th August 2021. Only shortlisted candidates shall be contacted.

Applications should be addressed to:

The Executive Director,

Women’s International Peace Centre

Plot 1, Martyrs Garden B, Ministers Village, Ntinda, Kampala

PO. Box 4934, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256 414-543953

Refresher Training on Conflict Prevention and Conflict Transformation in Yumbe District, Uganda.

The Peace Centre concluded a 5 days refresher training from 5th to 10 August on conflict prevention and conflict transformation for 25 Women Peace Mediators, 30 Conflict Monitors and Analysts in Yumbe District. Since 2019, the Peace Centre has trained over 400 mediators, Conflict analysts and monitors at the local and national levels.

Read More “Refresher Training on Conflict Prevention and Conflict Transformation in Yumbe District, Uganda.”

COVID-19 Response in Yumbe, Kotido and Adjumani District.

The Peace Centre is supporting the Women Peace Mediators, Monitors, Analysts, Community Activists with sanitary kits in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. 196 Peace Mediators, 45 Conflict Monitors, 16 Analysts 30 Community Activists in Adjumani, Yumbe, and Kotido have received washing soap, sanitary pads, hand sanitiser and facemasks to facilitate hygiene practices in the settlements. The women peace mediators, conflict monitors and analysts are community-based volunteers that The Peace Centre works with to promote peace in their respective host and refugee communities.

Read More “COVID-19 Response in Yumbe, Kotido and Adjumani District.”

Women and Youth-led Activism for Peace in their Communities.

Women and young people all over the world are playing an important role in peace and development. The leaders trained under the project “Promoting Peaceful Electoral processes in Uganda through Constructive Engagements” with support from the Kingdom of Belgium are from different constituencies, implying the need for a wide range of actors and movements needed to promote stability and peacee in Africa. 

In March 2021, The Peace Centre enhanced the skills and attitude of women and youth leaders to effectively promote peace, enhance leadership and development that is gender-responsive. The training covered areas including conflict analysis (peacebuilding and reconciliation), governance, leadership and mediation skills. 101 Women and youth leaders (50 Women Leaders and 51 Youth) from Community-Based Organisations (CBOs), political, religious, cultural groups, and influential leaders took part in the training in the Kampala region.

We documented some of the women and youth peacebuilders’ stories and hope that other women peacebuilders in similar situations can draw learning and inspiration from these experiences. 


Jalia Sekamate, Executive Director, Centre for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Acid and Burn Violence, Makindye

“The skills gained from the training inspired the women from Kampala to create and register an association called Women Resilience Centre (WRC). This association aims at bringing together women with different expertise to work together to promote peace in the communities using different approaches such as mediation and negotiation. Immediately after the training, we convened the first meeting and were able to bring together 14 women to brainstorm on the way forward as a group.  We invited an inspirational speaker who emphasized the advantage of unity in order to achieve greater things. We later created a WhatsApp group, constituted an Executive Committee with I (Jalia) as the chairperson and Wanyana Catherine as the treasurer and embarked on the development of a constitution and registration process of the association. Our vision is to see the association grow into a big organization that will transform communities. 

WRC has so far supported young mothers who were affected by COVID-19 and also those who got pregnant during the first wave. We have also provided counselling services. We have also mediated in cases of child neglect, parents disowning their daughters who got pregnant and GBV cases that have increased in the community due to lack of a stable income and the current lockdown situation. During this second wave, WRC mobilised and visited the neediest communities in Makindye and Rubaga buying them posho, beans and soap.

Unfortunately, the planned business exhibition by the association on 20th May 2021 was not held because of the  lockdown however they plan to host one when the lockdown is eased and the spread of community cases has been contained- Jalia Sekamate, Executive Director, Centre for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Acid and Burn Violence, Makindye 

Women are strengthening community-led initiatives for peace through this forum, in which they agreed to be a whistleblowers network on SGBV across cross-cutting challenges that undermine women’s agency. By undertaking this work, women leaders are challenging the status quo and promoting equality. 

Alawo Florence Zam, Youth Leader, Naguru Barracks Ntinda 

In my village, the number of school-going girls getting pregnant is high, especially between the ages of 13 and 15. From the training I was well equipped with communication and presentation skills thereafter, I was able to do some research to determine the number of girls who have not gone back to school due to pregnancy and with this information, I engaged with Alarm Uganda Orphanage to intervene and talk to the families of these girls and allow them to go back to school. We purchased scholastic materials and other necessary requirements for their enrollment in school. We continued to closely monitor the girls’ education and ensure that their guardians provided for them.- Alawo Florence Zam, Youth Leader, Naguru Barracks Ntinda 

Poverty is a driver of violence and continuously increases women’s vulnerability to violence in all its forms. This was one of the outstanding discussions during training. Florence used her daily stipend to support 3 women in her community as she narrates below; 

“I used to stay in the barracks and I witnessed the challenges that wives to soldiers go through every day due to over-dependence on the man as the breadwinner. Some women would come to me to borrow money to buy food and yet they did not have any source of income to pay back. I used to share with them some food to supplement what they have.

After the empowering sessions during the peacebuilding training, I reflected on how I can help my fellow women in the barracks to economically sustain themselves and their families. I convened a meeting with three women whom I shared with the knowledge acquired and at the end of the meeting I tasked each one of them to identify a small business that they can run within their homestead. I distributed the money equally with each one getting Thirty thousand shillings (UGX.30,000). One of the women started by frying cassava in the mornings and has now expanded to frying samosas as well, another started frying pancakes and the third one started selling Mandazi and has now expanded by selling passion juice. I am glad that these women are growing economically and can support their families as well. 

When the husband of one of the women returned from his mission, he was very impressed and happy with how his wife has become creative. When the wife shared with the husband how the story began, he was motivated to come to visit me and expressed his gratitude and thanked me for making such a priceless contribution to his family. Until today all the women in the barracks call upon me for advice and refer to me as their saviour.” – Alawo Florence Zam, Youth Leader, Naguru Barracks Ntinda 

These initiatives are a step towards women’s access and control of their economic resources. It guarantees them an improved livelihood, eases their access to healthcare, basic needs and food security. 

Nakibuuka Proscovia, Business Woman, Nansana

“As a professional teacher, I have always desired to start up a school of my own but considering the little salary I earn, my dreams have almost been shuttered. My turning point was when I was invited by the Women’s International Peace Centre to attend a peacebuilding training at Hotel Emerald in Kampala. From the training, I am glad to say that my capabilities were awakened and my fears were erased. After the training in March 2021, I took the most important decision that I always had fears about. I resigned from my teaching and decided to do poultry farming as a business which I hope with the projected annual returns, I will be able to realize my goal in a few years to come. After that initial step, I researched the best type of birds to rear, developed a business plan and built the standard house for the birds. Currently, I have 300 birds and I expect my farm to grow to 10,000 birds by the end of the year. I appreciate the Peace Centre for empowering me and motivating me to work towards achieving my goals. I have learnt that life is only for go-getters.”- Nakibuuka Proscovia, Business Woman, Nansana 

One of the training sessions covered economic empowerment and women and youth were encouraged to start up small businesses, achieve financial success, as well as take pride and celebrate their accomplishments. 

Youth leaders 

Nassuna Carol, Youth Counselor, Ggaba

“I was born and raised in a slum area referred to as “ghetto” in Ggaba in Kampala district where the poverty levels are so high. Most youth (boys and girls) in our area indulge in drug and alcohol abuse. To make it worse, the majority of the abusers are aged 10 to15 years old which has resulted in many girls in the same age bracket getting unwanted pregnancies.

After the training from the Peace Centre, I realized I have a big role to play as a Youth Leader in my community, to change the behaviour of the youth. I approached NGOs like World Vision and Uplift Uganda and we discussed effective approaches for intervention in the ghetto given that such groups are very sensitive and suspicious of people who are different from them. 

The next day we called a meeting for all ghetto youth and here we convinced them of how they need to save for their future. From the meeting, the youth agreed to save UGX.2,000 (Two thousand shillings) every day and we formed a saving group called  Achievers and Innovative Youth Savings Group which currently has 16  members actively saving. They started saving in April which has now accumulated to UGX.2,000,000 however since the lockdown in June, the group stopped saving but hope to resume when the current situation has eased. I am happy to say that most youths have taken up the saving culture as the driving force to reduce the money they were spending on buying drugs and focus on saving for their future needs.

I have also engaged with different organizations like Red Cross and Living Goods: a voluntary organization that trains door to door delivery services for pregnant mothers and children. In this period, we’ve managed to distribute food and sanitary materials to elderly women, pregnant mothers and children.

At a personal level, I thank the Peace Centre for empowering me to use my voice to influence change in my ghetto and I have gained confidence and knowledge and will use my voice to change the attitude of my fellow youth.” Nassuna Carol, Youth Counselor, Ggaba

Carol continues to cultivate leadership qualities and skills among young people in her community building on their knowledge and experience in leading change in their community.  

Environmental conflicts are about power and structural inequalities, it is important to have solutions that address those root causes. The ways of addressing them vary and include community capacity building, class actions, litigation and movement building. Timothy and his organization EcONUTA Food Waste Company are working to promote food security and protect the environment by recycling and reusing food. 


Timothy Mununuzi, Nutritionist 

“This training was an opportunity for me to enhance the conceptualization of my project on Food Wastage and Hunger in Uganda. During the training, one of the sessions focused on environmental conflict and degradation, and also provided us alternatives on recycling and reuse. After the peacebuilding training, I reflected on a project that falls within my profession as a Nutritionist. Back home most people pay for garbage collection which largely constitutes the left-over foods from different homes. Out of this, I realized there is a lot of food wastage in my community which can be reprocessed either as manure, energy regeneration or distributed to vulnerable communities to supplement their food.

I am developing a proposal to start up an initiative to empower fellow youth through recycling wasted food. I plan to coordinate with hotels and restaurants in order to secure the supply chain which we shall later sort and categorize for different recycling processes. Currently, I am doing a lot of research with other firms to come up with a clear operational plan. I am determined to  get more knowledge and skills to make my ideas realistic and beneficial to my community.”- Timothy Mununuzi, Nutritionist 

The progress so far achieved by these women and youth leaders shows the urgency in empowering women and youth peacebuilders, mediators and agents of change. Peacebuilders continue to work on a range of socio-cultural, political, economic, environmental, personal and community level interventions as documented above, to minimize the impact of inequalities and conflict fragility. The various initiatives are reflective of strengthened capacities, improved competencies, personal growth, changing knowledge skills and practices to promote a culture of peace. The Peace Centre is committed to providing spaces and amplifying these voices of women and youth for peace and security.

Election-Related Conflict and Violence in Uganda

An election free of violence, intimidation, coercion, bribery, incitement, misinformation, fear and sectarian tendencies is likely to produce peace, stability, social harmony and prosperity. Election-related conflict and violence have caused political unrest, partisan hatred, mistrust of political leadership and divisions in society. This undermines social cohesion, national unity, political stability and economic progress

In 2019, The Peace Centre with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Kampala commissioned a research study on Election-related conflict and violence in Uganda to understand the relationship between free, fair and legitimate elections and the observance of human rights and freedoms of citizens, before, during and after elections.

Election-Related Conflict and Violence in Uganda

Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action Compact Launch

As one of the key outcomes of the Generation Equality Forum, the Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA Compact) aims to mobilize an inter-generational, inclusive movement for action in the next five years to implement existing commitments on women, peace and security and gender equality in humanitarian action.

Read More “Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action Compact Launch”

Generation Equality Forum Official Opening Ceremony

The Generation Equality Forum (GEF) is a civil society centred, multi-stakeholder, global gathering for gender equality convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France, in partnership with youth and civil society. The Forum brings together feminist advocates from across the globe to foster action and renew movements for gender equality. The Forum kicked off in Paris from 30 June to 2 July 2021, launching a series of concrete, ambitious and transformative actions to achieve immediate and irreversible progress towards gender equality.

Read More “Generation Equality Forum Official Opening Ceremony”

Women Leading Change in Post Conflict Governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan Evaluation Report

The Peace Centre has been implementing a project on “Women leading change in post-conflict governance in Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan” from February 2019 to October 2020. We conducted an end-line evaluation of the women leading change in post-conflict governance in the DRC and South Sudan program, with the intention of assessing the effectiveness of the program; track the changes that have emerged as a result of program implementation, and generate new lessons to inform future programming of the Peace Centre.

Read More “Women Leading Change in Post Conflict Governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan Evaluation Report”

Shrinking Spaces for Women Peacebuilders and Organizations Advancing Feminist Peace

The Peace Centre in partnership with Cordaid conducted a study to take stock of 20 years of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 with a focus on the Shrinking Spaces at Global and Regional policy-making platforms for Women’s Rights Organisations focused on the Women Peace and Security Agenda.

Read More “Shrinking Spaces for Women Peacebuilders and Organizations Advancing Feminist Peace”

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.

Championing A Culture of Peace: A Training Toolkit on Conflict Prevention, Transformation and Peace Building

The Curriculum builds on lessons learned by the Eminent Women in the WSR-Uganda Uganda (2016), whose work confirmed that a culture of peaceful elections needs to be inculcated in the country. Uganda needs structural conflict prevention, and not just respond to violence outbreaks that arise prior, during and after elections.

This Curriculum serves as one of the institutional mechanism to provide content, process and tools for Early Warning, Early Response and Conflict Transformation work. The Curriculum has also been customized to develop knowledge products for different stakeholders to enhance their skills and attitude to effectively promote governance, peace and development that is gender-responsive.

Championing A Culture of Peace_A Training Toolkit on Conflict Prevention Transformation and Peace Building

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.

 

20 Years of Grassroots Women Building Peace

The Peace Centre hosted a 3-day exchange visit with 40 women peacebuilders from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan & Uganda, living as refugees in Uganda to reflect on the past 20 years of implementing the Women Peace and Security agenda.

Discussions during the visit focused on progress, challenges, and opportunities to advance implementation, in a way that addresses the priorities of displaced women. They also exchanged practical experiences, good practices and strategies to support the work of women mediator networks of Adjumani, Yumbe and Kotido.

This report documents the voices and impact stories of women, including young women, who are taking leadership in advancing the women peace and security agenda and contributed to COVID-19 in their communities.

20 Years of Grassroots Women Building Peace Report

20 Years Of Implementing the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 On Women Peace and Security in South Sudan Research Brief

This study identifies key achievements in line with the advancement of the women, peace and security agenda, the challenges and recommended actions for future intervention in relation to the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women in South Sudan.

20 Years Of Implementing the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 On Women Peace and Security in South Sudan Research Brief

20 Years Of Implementing the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 On Women Peace and Security in South Sudan

In 2020, The Peace Centre undertook a research study to critically assess the progress made, successes and challenges encountered in line with the implementation of the South Sudan National Action Plan (SSNAP) on UNSCR 1325.

The study identifies key achievements in line with the advancement of the women, peace and security agenda, the challenges and recommended actions for future intervention in relation to the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women in South Sudan. The study which also integrates issues of youth, peace and security agenda seeks to provide recommendations for policy and programmatic interventions to accelerate the implementation of the SSNAP.

20 Years Of Implementing the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 On Women Peace and Security in South Sudan Research Report

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.

Read More “Launch of the Research on 20 Years of Implementing UNSCR1325 in South Sudan”

Refresher Training of Young Women Peace Builders in South Sudan

The Peace Centre partnered with the Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice (CIGPJ) in 2019 and the National Transformational Leadership Institute (NTLI) at the University of Juba in 2020 to train 46 young women leaders (from diverse CSOs, academic institutions and informal networks) in Juba, South Sudan. Building on this training, and addressing the capacity needs and identified limitations to young women’s meaningful participation, the Peace Centre organized a practical skilling session from 24th to 28th May 2021 in Juba to equip young women with skills to; Engage in digital spaces for national-level organizing and in regional and international processes occurring online. Learn and practice documentation and write for publication or influencing. Understand leadership in practice with a focus on subjects such as management of finances. And last but not least to increase knowledge of key women, peace and security thematic areas. Read More “Refresher Training of Young Women Peace Builders in South Sudan”

Support Phase Training of Community Activists using the SASA Together Methodology

The notion that violence against women is cultural for some communities and therefore does not warrant a serious response continues to put women at greater risk. Using the SASA Together methodology, The Peace Centre held 3 days of training from 28th to 31st May 2021, for 30 Community Activists from the host and refugee communities in Adjumani District. This training focused on the 3rd “Support” phase of the SASA Together methodology.

Read More “Support Phase Training of Community Activists using the SASA Together Methodology”

Interdisciplinary Dialogues Fostering Future Women Leaders in South Sudan

In order to bridge the gap between senior women leaders and young women and highlight the role young people play in ensuring sustainable peace and good governance, The  Peace Centre held four dialogues with 51 Women peacebuilders, Gender Focal persons, Women Parliamentarians and representatives from CSOs as well as young women leaders from 18th to 20th May 2021 Dembesh Hotel in Juba, South Sudan. The dialogue was convened in collaboration with Community Empowerment for Progress Organization supported by the Forum for Women and Development. Read More “Interdisciplinary Dialogues Fostering Future Women Leaders in South Sudan”

Peacebuilding and Ending SGBV Movements in South Sudan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes Region

Over the years’ women and women’s organisations have been at the core of advocating for the restoration of peace and an end to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in cyclic conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Burundi, and in the wider Great Lakes region. Since 2006, in response to the conflict situations, The Peace Centre then Isis-WICCE supported women impacted by conflict by building their leadership in conflict transformation and their agency in peacebuilding processes. The Peace Centre also initiated interventions for healing survivors of SGBV, where rape in these conflicts was increasingly being used as a weapon of war.
Read More “Peacebuilding and Ending SGBV Movements in South Sudan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes Region”

European Studies’ Debate on Feminist Peace

“Feminist Peace entails actions within the peacebuilding spectrum that are transformative and leads to sustainable peace.” Our Executive Director Helen Kezie spoke on what feminist peace means in Amsterdam Centre for European Studies’ debate on the European Union’s contribution to building Feminist Peace. Helen was part of speakers that discussed what feminist peace entails in relation to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, women’s peace activism, and the politics of knowledge production. They also contextualized the EU’s role as peacebuilder and sketch new ways forward.

Read More “European Studies’ Debate on Feminist Peace”

Statement by The Women’s Movement Condemning the Government of Uganda’s Proposal to Merge the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP) With Other Wealth Creation Programmes

The Peace Centre as part of the Women’s Movement supports reservations to the merger of the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program(UWEP) with other programmes in light of the numerous barriers that women grapple with in accessing and enjoying credit and capital. Uganda is known to have registered strides in gender equality. UWEP which was launched in 2015 is one of the biggest initiatives and has been key in realizing Sustainable Development goals 1 and 5 that speak to ending poverty and gender inequality respectively. Read More “Statement by The Women’s Movement Condemning the Government of Uganda’s Proposal to Merge the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP) With Other Wealth Creation Programmes”

Advocacy Training for Inclusive Peace Processes in DRC and South Sudan.

Advocacy is essential in promoting women’s inclusion, equal representation and effective participation in decision making processes to build transitional justice, human security and access to justice. The Peace Centre convened a training on advocacy for the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325  on women, peace and security from 21st-23rd April 2021. The training aimed at deepening staff knowledge and skills in preparation for the Just Future project. The 3 days training was guided by an existing training manual and focus on Understanding the Need for Advocacy for UNSCR 1325, Assessing The Policy Environment for UNSCR 1325, Developing a UNSCR 1325 Advocacy Strategy and Implementation Plan, and Monitoring Advocacy.

Read More “Advocacy Training for Inclusive Peace Processes in DRC and South Sudan.”

Luwero District Leaders Trained on Peacebuilding, Mediation and Leadership.

The Peace Centre organized a 5-day training from 19th to 23rd April 2021 for Luwero District Leaders to enhance their skills in peacebuilding, leadership, mediation and understand the different frameworks for women’s participation in leadership and peacebuilding. The training brought together 35 leaders (30 women, 1 woman with a physical disability and 4 men) district and sub-county councilors from the subcounties of Kamira, Kalagala, Bombo, Katikamu, Luwero, Zirobwe, Kikyusa, Ndejje, Wobulenzi Town Council, Nyimbwa, Luwero Town Council and Butuntumula.

Read More “Luwero District Leaders Trained on Peacebuilding, Mediation and Leadership.”

Increasing Women and Youth’s Participation in Peacebuilding and Leadership in Lira and Soroti.

The Peace Centre conducted a six day’s training for 80 cultural leaders and district technical administrative staff from Soroti and Lira district (40 per district) with the main areas of focus being; mediation and negotiation, conflict analysis and leadership among the selected leaders. Cultural leaders play a key role in refining norms to enhance women’s participation in decision making and outlaw negative practices that deter the progress of women. The training contributes to ongoing efforts to strengthen women’s effective and meaningful participation in the formal and informal peace building processes. Read More “Increasing Women and Youth’s Participation in Peacebuilding and Leadership in Lira and Soroti.”

Peacebuilding and Leadership trainings in Soroti and Lira Districts

Women’s participation in decision making, in peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery processes (in disarmament, reintegration, security sector reform, economic recovery programs, humanitarian response, legal, judicial and electoral processes) in Uganda is markedly low, particularly at the local level.

Read More “Peacebuilding and Leadership trainings in Soroti and Lira Districts”

End of Project Learning and Sharing workshop on Promoting Women’s Effective Participation in Peace Building in Uganda

On the 29th of March 2021, The Peace Centre hosted an end of project learning and sharing stakeholder workshop in line with the project “Promoting women’s effective participation in peacebuilding in Uganda”. This project was implemented with the support of UN Women in Yumbe, Adjumani and Kotido districts.

Read More “End of Project Learning and Sharing workshop on Promoting Women’s Effective Participation in Peace Building in Uganda”

Grassroots Women Peacebuilders Join the Generation Equality Forum

Women Peacebuilders from Yumbe District with support from the Peace Centre, were able to join the Generation Equality Forum and preparatory workshop discussion. This was a part of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)65 pre–Generation Equality Mexico Forum workshop that highlighted key discussions for the meaningful participation of women and youth peacebuilders in the Generation Equality Forum. Catherine Kwanje, a Peacebuilder from South Sudan living in Bidibidi Refugee settlement used the forum to share highlights on the need to ensure that women who are displaced by conflict are included in peace processes in their country of origin.

Read More “Grassroots Women Peacebuilders Join the Generation Equality Forum”

Perspectives on Feminist Peace

This first edition of the Feminist Peace Series provides various understanding of Feminist Peace with perspectives from practitioners, partners and colleagues in the field of peace building. From all the contributions we can summarize Feminist Peace as that which takes into account the differential impact of conflict on women, girls and gender diverse people and profiles their voices, needs and perspective in all peacebuilding processes.

Meet Our Partner- Teso Women Peace Activists

This quarter, we shine a light on Teso Women Peace Activists (TEWPA), a women-led organisation taking the lead to advance peace, resolve conflict, build tolerance and justice, in the Teso Region.

About TEWPA: Formed in 2001 by Cecilia Engole following her participation in the Isis-WICCE Institute to respond to the challenges that women and girls face during and after conflicts.  Teso Women Peace Activists (TEWPA), designs peace building and conflict resolution projects/programs that are issue based; and organize focused peace building training for TOTs in communities, for sustainability and as an effort to create lasting peace. TEWPA’s focus is peacebuilding, conflict transformation, democratization and human rights. Read More “Meet Our Partner- Teso Women Peace Activists”

Tracing 20 Years of Feminist Peace: Women Peace Builders Reflect on the Journey of Advancing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Burundi, DRC, Nepal, South Sudan and Uganda.

In this 51st edition of Women’s World, we hear from 7 women peacebuilders from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, South Sudan and Uganda- who are long-term partners of the Peace Centre and alumnae of the Feminist Leadership Institute. Through their journeys and deliberations, we look back at 20 years of agitating for women’s participation in conflict prevention, resolution and peace building; at our efforts to prevent, end and respond to conflict-related sexual violence; and to ensure gender-response relief and recovery through various means.

The Unstoppable Woman Leader Promoting Peaceful Elections in Kapelebyong

By Esther Wasagali

Akol Ketty is a woman leader and a testament to women’s ability to build peace and influence change against all odds.  

When we first met Akol in August 2019, she had served as a Community Mobiliser, Facilitator, Councilor and most recently as the Vice Chairperson in Kapelebyong District Local Government. She had first hand experience of the limitations women experience as they seek to take leadership or to address the issues that make elections violent and undemocratic.

“Women are often discouraged from taking on leadership positions, they always receive negative comments from men and fellow women saying they cannot stand for some positions because they are earmarked for men.  Women are also denied participation in political processes by their husbands, who often think that women will be exposed to other men. Women in my community could not balance home and leadership roles. They had no confidence to speak in public,” Akol recounts. 

Read More “The Unstoppable Woman Leader Promoting Peaceful Elections in Kapelebyong”

National Feedback Meeting to Define Strategies For Reduction of Conflict And Violence in Uganda.

The Peace Centre in partnership with the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Conflict Early Warning and Early Response system (CEWERU) convened a two day feedback meeting from 10th- 11th March with the National Steering Committee to share early warning reports from the Peace Committees in Kotido, Yumbe and Adjumani and discuss effective and early response to prevent and mitigate conflicts in Uganda. The feedback meeting will be used in laying of strategies and actions for reduction of conflict and violence in Uganda.

Read More “National Feedback Meeting to Define Strategies For Reduction of Conflict And Violence in Uganda.”

Peace Is Possible with Refugee Women in the Lead

By Diana Oroma

“I used to see conflicts happening in my community but I was silent about it because I didn’t know I had the power to influence change and contribute to peace Janet Ayoo Kelly declares.

Janet Ayoo Kelly, aged 28 years is a  first time refugee living in Maaji III refugee settlement, Adjumani district in West Nile, Uganda. In July 2016, she fled her hometown, Magwi in South Sudan with her first child who was 2 years old at the time. 

However, the situation upon arriving in Uganda was very difficult. “We left all the resources we had worked hard to gain and fled with nothing  I had hoped to settle down and rebuild my life”she recalls. She is part of a group that makes bed sheets and tablecloths a source of income for their families. Janet is also now the secretary for the Adjumani Women Peace Mediators Network.

In December 2019, Janet was one of 156 women leaders from Kotido, Yumbe and Adjumani districts trained on peacebuilding and reconciliation by the Peace Centre with the support of UN Women. Following the training, the women leaders formed Women Peace Mediators Networks.

In Maaji III refugee settlement, the women peace mediators developed  a community action plan to ensure their participation in peace building right from their homes to the wider community. Since then, women peace mediators have identified, reported and mediated 300 conflict incidents including conflict between refugee and host communities and gender-based violence specifically early marriages that led to withdrawal of girls from schools.   

In February 2020, the women peace mediators met again in Nyumanzi settlement to discuss their peacebuilding efforts and learn from experiences in Adjumani, Yumbe and Kotido. Janet learnt of the work that her  fellow peace mediators were doing in their communities .  She was touched by their stories such as the case involving a young girl form a poor family whose father was forcing her to get married to an elderly rich man who lives in America. The mediators engaged the girl’s family, who abandoned the idea and asked the women to pay for her school fees since they wanted her in school. The women peace mediators then referred the girl to an organization for a scholarship.

Janet also recalls the stories from Kotido where women were mediating large scale conflicts., the The women peace mediators had convened 14 peace dialogues resolve the conflict characterised by rampant cattle raids, illegal guns owned by civilians, food insecurity, sexual and gender based violence against women and girls. 

On 10th May 2020,  a small disagreement among five Nuer and Dinka youth in Maaji II refugee settlement  escalated into a violent tribal conflict leaving two young men  dead. Janet was spurred to action. 

“As women peace mediators we realized that the situation was getting out of hand. The situation was very tense, with women and children running up and down. Immediately we gathered together to agree on what to do. We informed the Peace Centre who guided us. We then made a phone call to the refugee settlement commandant asking him urgently to call the police to intervene” Janet recounts.

The Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Refugee Desk Office, and District Police Commander immediately responded by deploying police to calm the situation. Janet and the other women peace mediators also took further action.“We rescued the children from the two families who were being attacked for having started the fights and kept them in a safe place“Together with other leaders in Maaji we continued comforting the family that had lost their son and the one whose son was missing and later found dead. We convinced the families  not to get involved in the fight and keep away from revenge as it would only cause more harm”she narrates. 

Twelve days later, on 22nd May 2020 The Peace Centre convened a peace mediation dialogue in Maaji with key leaders including the RDC, District chairperson LC 5, District Vice Chairperson LC 5, District Peace Committee, Office of the Prime Minister, UNHCR, Lutheran World Federation, Refugee Law Project, Religious, Cultural, political leaders and the Adjumani women peace mediators. The dialogue discussed the conflict situation, identified the triggers and agreed on specific actions to take to ensure conflict indicators are reported to the police and other duty bearers before they escalate. 

During the mediation dialogue, the women peace mediators identified the dark hot spots where the violent youth were hiding such as the banana plantation which was acting as their habitat. Janet and the mediators also made specific demands. “We wrote to the Office of the Prime Minister requesting for security lights in the settlement blocks where the youths were hiding to chase and beat women moving to access the health centre at night. I was personally affected by this. I gave birth on the way because I was afraid to pass at the dark spot alone at night when labor started. The lights were installed” she shares.

The women peace mediators continued their work in a follow up mediation dialogue w on 1st July 2020 where conflict early warning indicators were presented to the leaders for redress. 

“For sustainable peace in the settlement we continued to engage with the youth and their families by encouraging them to keep calm and sensitizing them about the consequences of violent actions to their lives and families”, Janet narrates. She explains how the work of the women peace mediators brought positive changes, “we continued to monitor  conflict early warning indicators and shared with the leaders for their action. For example some youth were spotted in the evenings with walking sticks. Others were seen holding isolated meetings in the local languages. Each tribe stopped their members from crossing where the other tribes live, which kept people in fear. “I am celebrating my breakthrough because of the hard work. I believe that peace is possible with women at the lead. I am now seeing friendship being nurtured again between the Nuer and Dinka youths. They have started having friendly football matches again.

“My skills have doubled. I can now analyze the conflicts and participate in peace building more effectively.  I used to see conflicts happening in my community but I was silent about it because I didn’t know I had the power to influence change and contribute to peace,” Janet says, reflecting on her growth as a leader and a peace builder. I am very grateful to the Peace Centre and UN Women for the skills I obtained. I’m proud to be a peace mediator in my community” says Janet.

Celebrating Women’s day in a COVID-19 World

By Evelyn Birungi

This Monday, we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women on International Women’s Day(IWD). Marked annually on March 8th, IWD is one of the most important days of the year to: celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about women’s equality, lobby for accelerated gender parity, fundraise for female-focused charities. This year, IWD is being celebrated under the theme “Women in leadership achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” celebrates the remarkable efforts by women to shape a more equitable future after COVID-19. Read More “Celebrating Women’s day in a COVID-19 World”

Community Activists Lead the Fight Against Gender Based Violence in Adjumani District

To strengthen the leadership capacity and influence of local women leaders and women groups across refugee settlements and host communities The Peace Centre conducted a SASA Together! Start Phase Training of Trainers for 30 women leaders selected from Agojo Refugee Settlement and Ciforo sub-county in November 2020. 

Read More “Community Activists Lead the Fight Against Gender Based Violence in Adjumani District”

100 women/youth leaders in Soroti District trained as peace advocates.

Building on the gains from the previous work in conflict and post-conflict situations, The Peace Centre conducted training on Peacebuilding and Leadership for 50 women leaders (political, religious, cultural, CBOs and independent/influential women leaders) and 50 youth leaders (political, religious, cultural and independent/influential youth leaders) in Soroti district. The training which aimed to enhance conflict analysis peacebuilding, governance, leadership and mediation skills was conducted from 22nd to 27th February. Read More “100 women/youth leaders in Soroti District trained as peace advocates.”

SASA Together Conversations on Violence Against Women.

The Peace Centre conducted 4 Community Dialogues on the root cause, impact, prevention and response to Violence Against Women using the SASA Together  and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Standard Operating Procedures for 2 host communities in Ciforo Sub County and Agojo Refugee settlement on 16th and 17th February.

The dialogues which were convened to influence attitudes on SGBV targeted community leaders from the cultural, political, religious institutions and were attended by 178 people (77 men and 101 women). 

The LC 1, Duba Village in Ciforo sub county shared that about 75% of women experience abuse in her community. SGBV remains a silent epidemic in many humanitarian settings oftentimes associated with a wide range of physical, sexual and psychological health consequences. Studies have also shown negative impacts of SGBV on the social and economic well-being of survivors. These outcomes are particularly exacerbated in humanitarian settings given that crisis-affected populations are more vulnerable to SGBV.

The community dialogues provided opportunity to the community leaders to discuss key Women Peace and Security issues and Violence Against Women (VAW). VAW continues to happen because of the unbalanced power relationship which is deeply rooted in culture as well as the patriarchal nature of our society. Alcoholism, poverty, lack of trust, polygamy, women accessing family planning without spousal consent, reduction in food ration to the refugees, sharing resources like land, food among others contribute to the increasing violence in the communities. 

Community leaders identify, settle and refer to a lot of conflict incidences in their communities but they lack the materials and skills in documenting the cases. The fact that the violence continues to happen in the community because the community and its leaders have accepted it enabled the local leaders to acknowledge their role in promoting peace in the communities they lead.

Girl Power Camp Facilitating Dreams in Amuria District

On 18th February 2021, the Peace Centre convened a Girls Power Camp under the theme ‘My Body My Power’ targeting 178 Primary Seven (P.7) pupils from Orungo Primary School of which 34 girls and from Moruinera Primary School of which 47 were girls in Amuria district.

 Through conversation circles, we emphasized self-exploration skills, critical thinking and self-awareness. This camp follows a series of conversations under the theme ‘My Body My Power’ with adolescent girls aged 9 to16 years from Ocakai Primary School, Ococia P/S, Otubet P/S Orungo P/S & Moruinera Primary School during which skills girls in leadership, understanding their bodies, discovering their dreams and setting goals

Since June 2018, Women’s International Peace Centre has organized camps for adolescent girls aged between 9 and 16 years from five schools . Building on previous engagement, the camp included a dialogue among the pupils looking at building adolescent’s competencies for the future and providing a platform to discuss the values of girls’ education in the society.  The girls were trained in leadership, informed about their bodies, and sensitized on HIV&AIDS  to reduce discrimination and stigma.

The Peace Centre also held a talk on conquering fear and confidence building. Under the theme “knowledge is power” young girls were guided on how to conquer fear and build confidence using the word of God by Rev. Canon Lawrence Onyait. This was followed by a session on career development covering: Areas of interest for the girls. The talk also discussed prioritized life values which included courage beyond primary level and self-management during vacation to avoid joining bad groups and early/child pregnancy, forced marriage. This camp aimed to enable learners, take actions that will shape their career path. The P.7 candidates and staff of Orungo primary school appreciated the Peace Centre for their timely intervention of confidence building and career development as they approached PLE.

Women Peace Mediators Curbing Conflict In Uganda


The Peace Centre held a series of meetings with Women Peace Mediators from refugee and host communities meet each month to discuss peace and security concerns they have identified and develop an issues report for action by the respective District Peace Committees in Yumbe, Adjumani and Kotido. This was between 5th and 11th February where the Peace Centre joined 108 women peace mediators as they discussed their experiences, their progress in resolving conflicts, representing women and their priorities which require redress.

The mediators were joined by 90 Conflict Analysts and Conflict Monitors in the three districts who received and reviewed the reports to the District Peace Committees.
The women peace builders discussed key issues likely to cause conflict in the refugees settlements including inadequate land for cultivation since the food ratio has reduced and low water supply during the dry season. The mediators also expressed concern that some water points were not operational, they highlighted insufficient supply insufficient supply of drugs in specific health centers and cases of conflict between the host and refugee communities over resources like firewood and grass especially with stray animals destroying crops. Increased teenage pregnancies since the COVID-19 outbreak remains an important issue to which the peace mediators are seeking immediate solutions.

The meeting is part of wider efforts led by the Peace Centre with support of UN Women to institutionalize gender sensitive conflict early warning and early response system in conflict-affected Adjumani, Yumbe and Kotido districts. This has been carried out as a series of training in mediation and conflict resolution in 2019 and 2020.Women leaders including refugee women and women affected by cross-border conflicts benefited from the initiative. Since then, they have taken lead in peace building within their communities and ensuring that district peace committees address women’s peace and security concerns.

Strengthening The Capacity of Civil Society, Just Future the Alliance

The Peace Centre is excited to be a part of Just Future, an Alliance that will over the next 5years, work towards fair, equitable & inclusive justice, security and peace in Afghanistan, Burundi, DRC, Mali, Niger and South Sudan. The alliance has been formed in response to the challenges of a fragile world. Consisting of 6 established CSOs and networks, from the Global North and South, our work will strengthen the capacity of CSOs and enable their collective action to bring about more inclusive, constructive and legitimate power relations.


Just Future’s vision is of a world in which all people in fragile states benefit from more accessible, responsive and accountable security and justice institutions, and more inclusive arrangements for political governance and peace-making. Just- future is seeking to change the current state of life because conflict and violence are the most significant obstacles to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Just Future will foreground the needs and demands of women and girls, the commitment of men to achieving gender equality and preventing sexual- and gender-based violence (SGBV), and realizing political power for young women & men—the majority of the population in all 6 countries.


Just Future will be delivered by a consortium including the African Security Sector Network, a pan-African network working to facilitate progress towards the achievement of effective and democratically governed security sectors across Africa. Cordaid; a Dutch humanitarian and development NGO, working in the most fragile and conflict-affected contexts on challenges in the security and justice, health, education, and humanitarian protection sectors, among others. Search for Common Ground which is a US- and EU-based international non-profit operating in 36 countries, with a mission to transform the way the world deals with conflict, away from adversarial approaches toward cooperative solutions. The Liaison Office (TLO) is an independent Afghan non-governmental organization seeking to improve local governance, stability and security through engagement with customary structures, local communities, and CSOs. In the Alliance, TLO represents the SALAH Consortium of CSOs. West African Network for Peacebuilding is a leading regional peacebuilding organization with strong national networks in every West African state, focusing on collaborative approaches to conflict prevention and peacebuilding and Women’s International Peace Centre is a transnational feminist organization working to empower women from different countries in Africa and Asia by supporting their active participation in peacebuilding processes.

The Just Future Alliance also includes The Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and State-building as its network partner. The Rift Valley Institute, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and the Van Vollenhoven Institute at Leiden University as research partners. As Just Future will be funded through a Power of Voices Strategic Partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands, the Ministry will also contribute to program implementation.

Meeting with Conflict Analysts and Monitors in Adjumani District.

On 12th February, The Peace Centre held a meeting with Conflict monitors and conflict analysts in Adjumani. This was to analyse and harmonise the report shared by the Women Peace Mediators on women peace and security concerns to be presented to the District Peace Committee for immediate action.  Key issues identified during the training included; bush burning, resource sharing conflicts, stray animals from both the refugees and host communities destroying crops, need for more land to be apportioned to the refugees and host for cultivation, night disco halls playing loud music till late and access to police form 3.  The meeting also provided an opportunity for the monitors and analysts to share individual stories of change. Read More “Meeting with Conflict Analysts and Monitors in Adjumani District.”

Defending the Future- Gender Conflict and Environmental Peace

The Peace Centre in partnership with Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAP) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) conducted research on Gender, Peace and Environmental conflicts. The research demonstrates the intersection between the environmental conflict, peace and gender and provides recommendations for the International Community for how it can better ensure that women and girls’ human rights can be delivered despite environmental degradation and climate change.

This report was made possible by funding from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Catalyzing Systems to Keep Refugees and Host Communities Safe from Violence.

 The Women’s International Peace Centre (The Peace Centre)  and International Rescue Committee (IRC)  conducted a case management training for 14  participants from IRC and the Peace Centre. The five-day training which was held from 25th to 29th January 2021 was to enable participants to handle gender-based violence cases amongst urban refugees in Kampala. 

This is in line with the Peace Centre and the IRC partnership on a project to reimagine, support, and reshape nationally driven and locally-led protection systems. The project titled, Scale-Up: Catalyzing Systems to Keep Refugees and Host Communities Safe from Violence (Safety and Power) will rapidly map and analyze how gender-based violence and child protection humanitarian interventions in the urban context, should link up to and be integrated into existing social protection, social welfare, child protection, and justice law and order sector systems. It will also feature engagement of the Centre’s alumni as some have been refugees themselves.

The training was facilitated by the IRC team who took participants through a couple of modules on GBV case management which included; understanding power and GBV and the theoretical foundation for a survivor-centered approach context, and causes of GBV among many others.

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Now and the Future – Pandemics and Crisis: Gender Equality, Peace and Security in a COVID-19 World and Beyond

The Peace Centre with the support of Womankind Worldwide and Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS) joined 200 organizations in AfghanistanColombiaIraqLebanonMyanmarNigeriaPalestineSomaliaUganda and Ukraine to conduct a research on the impact of COVID-19 on gender equality, peace and security. This study outlines recommendations for the local, national and international community to better respond to COVID-19, future pandemics and crises, as well as deliver on their commitments to the Women, Peace and Security agenda. 

Focus on The Gendered Impact of Climate Change and Women and Girls’ Right to Peace.

The Peace Centre in partnership with Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAP) and the Women Peace and Security Centre of the London School of Economics (LSE) studied the intersection between environmental conflict, peace and gender. This was to provide recommendations for the international community for how it can better ensure that women and girls’ human rights can be delivered despite the challenges of environmental degradation and climate change.

Read More “Focus on The Gendered Impact of Climate Change and Women and Girls’ Right to Peace.”

The Peace Centre Trains 540 Election Observers in Uganda

In preparation for the 2021 presidential election, the Peace Centre conducted fourteen(14) election observer training in different districts in Uganda which were concluded on a final training held from 9th– 13th January 2021 in Kampala. The Peace Centre recruited a total of 540 election observers selected from sub-counties in Arua, Kassanda and Kapelebyong in addition to other districts of Soroti, Lira, Amuria, Kampala, Sembabule, Luwero, Ntugamo, Rukungiri, Yumbe, Kotido and Adjumani.

The training was successful in ensuring that each district had 40 trained election observers with election observation materials deployed to observe elections from 14th to January to 22nd January.

Election observation is a valuable tool for improving the quality of elections and creates confidence in elections that can help promote sound democratic practices. This is vital as Uganda has not experienced peaceful, violent free democratic electoral processes since the introduction of multi-party politics in 1988. The political environment in the build-up to, during, and after elections has over the years become increasingly charged with reports of harassment, intimidation, acts of corruption, human rights abuses perpetrated by different political opponents.


To ensure a difference this year, the election observers were trained on Electoral Commission election observation guidelines, laws related to election observation, do’s and don’ts of an election observer, and provided tools for data collection. This enabled them to monitor elections and document electoral violence incidences in the eleven districts.


Defending Rights in the time of COVID-19

COVID-19 has transformed the world of work. Remote working has become the new normal for most people, with communications largely moving to the digital space. This has had a strong impact on the work of human rights defenders and the way they defend, promote, and protect rights.

The Office of the United Nations High for Human Rights (OHCHR) collected stories of Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) on the African continent to increase the visibility of WHRDs’ work in the process of the pandemic and create a source of information to inform COVID-19 recovery programming and policymaking for WHRDs. OHCHR aims to provide a platform for WHRDs to document and exchange their experiences in the context of COVID-19 and to build solidarity among them.

The Peace Centre’s Project Officer, Diana Oroma shares her perspective on the Women Peace and Security and the Pandemic.

Young Women Leading for Peace in South Sudan- Training Report

The Peace Centre, in partnership with Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare and National Transformational Leadership Institute conducted a five-day training for 21 young women between 18 and 35, from various background representing high school graduates, university students and graduates, CSOs, FBOs, NGOs, women’s associations, political parties
and government institutions on women, peace and security from 27th to 31st July 2020 to strengthen young women’s leadership skills, equip them to gather information, conduct gendered analysis of current peace and security issues and engage in advocacy for the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda.

This report highlights the key discussions during the training.

Now and the Future Gender Equality, Peace and Security in a COVID-19 World- Uganda

The Peace Centre with the support of Womankind Worldwide and Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS) undertook a research in Uganda to better understand the context-specific and global gender, peace and security impacts of COVID-19 and develop policy and programming responses which account for the impact of COVID-19.

The findings indicate the gendered effects of COVID-19 on vulnerable and marginalised groups in the urban, rural and refugee settlement contexts. The findings highlight the impact of the pandemic on the community, especially on women’s and girls’ roles, responsibilities, needs and livelihoods. They also highlight gender-based violence (GBV), as well as how these different groups of women and girls are coping with the crisis.

The Key to Change: Supporting Civil Society and Women’s Rights Organisations in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Contexts

This research, undertaken by a consortium of organisations including Gender Action Peace and Security (GAPS), Somali Women Development Centre (SWDC), Saferworld, Women for Women International, Women’s International Peace Centre (The Peace Centre), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Nigeria and Womankind Worldwide. This research report, funded by the UK’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF), sets out recommendations for modalities to fund, support and strengthen WROs and CSOs, as well as enable the UK, CSSF Africa and the international community – including donors, multilateral and INGOs – to better understand the challenges and opportunities for WROs and CSOs working on peace and security issues in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and globally. This report outlines the findings and recommendations of this research and is supplemented by country-specific reports for NigeriaSouth Sudan and Somalia.

Reviving the Women, Peace and Security Agenda- 2019 Annual Report

This report looks back into the year and describes what we have accomplished with our Partners. The Peace Centre contributed to enhancing the expertise of women leaders to participate in peace processes in Burundi, DRC, Nepal, South Sudan and Uganda through the Feminist Leadership Institute on Peace and Security, learning exchanges and mentorship support. Making information available for women to influence decision-making in peace processes in Uganda and South Sudan. Claiming space and influencing Peace Processes at all levels and in promoting the holistic wellbeing of women, we continue working with support groups of women living with HIV and AIDS in post-conflict North-eastern Uganda to support their access to sustainable livelihood
opportunities.

Reimagining Women Peace and Security

‘The UN Resolution 1325 has succeed in raising awareness of the women peace and security agenda.’ shared Helen Kezie Nwoha representing the Peace Centre shared in a conversation with joined leading women peace advocates from across the Commonwealth as they reimagined what ‘women, peace and security’ might mean for our future.

The conversation comes two decades after the Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, part of a global effort to highlight the impact of conflict on women and the need to bring the voice of women into peace processes., it is clear that much remains to be done.

In this second event in the Commonwealth Foundation’s Critical Conversations series, the peace advocates asked; how Resolution 1325 can be reimagined to better serve the needs and aspirations of women and communities across the Commonwealth. If mainstream approaches to women’s leadership in conflict resolution were actually working? How can women’s participation in peace processes be made more meaningful? How can women peace advocates secure better access to the forums and institutions where decisions are being made?

Speakers drew on their front-line experience to tackle these questions; sharing concrete examples of what has worked well and their perspectives on what needs to be done differently.

Watch this conversation here

The South Sudan Peace Process- The Role and Prospects for Women Refugees Conference Report

From 25th to 26th February 2020, The Peace Centre with support from FOKUS and UN Women convened a dialogue under the theme “The
South Sudan Peace Process; The Role and Prospects
for Refugee Women” to provide a platform for refugee women to understand and receive updates on the peacebuilding processes, link the refugee women with other women involved in advocacy towards engendering the peace processes in South Sudan and ignite women’s ability to participate in the formal and informal peacebuilding processes right from the refugee settlement for sustainable peace in South Sudan. 

This report shares details of the proceedings of the conference.

 

Journey from the Margins Feminist Movement Strengthening in Uganda.

This learning paper is based on evidence and learning from an intersectional women’s movement initiative delivered through collaboration in 2019 between six Uganda based women’s rights organisations; Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), Mentoring and Empowerment Programme for Young Women (MEMPROW), National Association for Women’s Organisations in Uganda (NAWOU), National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda (NUWODU), Women’s International Peace Centre, (The Peace Centre) and by Womankind Worldwide, within the project Women’s Advocacy for Voice and Empowerment (WAVE) through inclusive platforms in Uganda.

Read More “Journey from the Margins Feminist Movement Strengthening in Uganda.”

Training for District Peace Committee members, Monitors and Analysts

We are in Arua conducting a 3 days training for District Peace Committee members, monitors and analysts targeting Electoral Commission officers, Police, District Community Development Officer, National Women Council, youth, Persons with disability representative, district information officer, CSOs and Religious institutional representatives supported by DGF Uganda. The training aims to enhance capacity of peace committee’s members to detect early warning conflict, respond and mediate conflict that may arise before, during and after election.

Read More “Training for District Peace Committee members, Monitors and Analysts”

Rejuvenating the Women Peace and Security Agenda- Towards Participation and Implementation of the UNSCR 1325 NAP South Sudan

Women’s International Peace Centre in partnership with EVE Organization for Women Development and Community Empowerment Progress Organization (CEPO), conducted training under the theme “Rejuvenating the Women, Peace and Security Agenda: Towards participation and implementation of the UNSCR 1325 National Action Planon advocacy for South Sudan National Action Plan on the UNSCR 1325.

The training brought together 25 participants including gender technical staff from the line ministries both at national and state level, women members of parliament from the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and women representatives of the civil society working on the UNSCR 1325 South Sudan NAP.

The training evaluated and audited the implementation of the National Action Plan; enhanced skills in advocacy and effective reporting on the NAP of the UNSCR 1325 and enhanced women’s effective participation in leadership and peacebuilding and strengthening gender perspectives in South Sudan’s states building and reconstruction.

 

Women Leading Change in Post Conflict Governance Processes- An Exchange Visit Report for Women Political Leaders to Uganda

From 29th to 31st October 2019, Women’s International Peace Centre and Uganda Women Parliamentary Association hosted a Regional Exchange Visit for women leaders from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo to facilitate experiential learning, practical lessons and skills on how to influence the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and to strengthen movement building and lobbying for policy influence

This report highlights discussions during the Regional Exchange Visit.

Feminist Leadership Institute- Women Political Participants for Women Peace and Security in DRC

Between 20th to 24th June 2019, Women’s International Peace Centre in partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Family and Children’s Affairs, Karibu Jeunesse Nouvelle (KJN) and Association des Femmes Des Medias (AFEM)) conducted a Feminist Leadership Institute for 20 women leaders including Politicians, Lawyers, Lecturers, Socio-workers, and Community leaders from Kalehe, Walungu, Kabare and Bukavu in South Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Read More “Feminist Leadership Institute- Women Political Participants for Women Peace and Security in DRC”

Implementation of the South Sudan Revitalised Peace Agreement from a Gender Perspective

Women’s International Peace Centre with support from Forum for Women in Development (FOKUS) conducted a research study to examine the opportunities, constraints and extent to which women influence the peace process in South Sudan.

This research answers the following questions; i)What are the conflict trends, dynamics their significance for ongoing peace processes in South Sudan? To what extent do these advance the Women, Peace and Security agenda? ii)What is the level of participation and representation of women in the peace process in South Sudan? iii)What are the opportunities and constraints and to what extent do women influence the peace processes, such as seen in the national dialogue, the security sector reform, the constitutional reform and the transitional government in South Sudan;  iv)How can women and in particular  young women’s advocacy efforts be supported in ways that create new spaces for them to engage key decision makers at national, regional and international levels?

 

Promoting Women’s Participation in the Implementation of the Revitalised Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan

Women’s participation in peace processes is critical for sustaining peace. Notwithstanding, women face several barriers that limit their effective representation and influence in peace processes. Research shows that the political participation and leadership of women in fragile environments, particularly during democratic transitions, is critical to sustaining lasting
democratic institutions.

A study carried out in Juba, South Sudan by the Women International Peace Centre shows that sustainable peace in South Sudan depends on empowering women and tackling obstacles to their participation in peace processes. The research was carried out to examine opportunities, constraints and the extent to which women are taking part in implementing the peace agreement in South Sudan.

This Policy Brief highlights the barriers to women’s participation in peace processes and shares recommendations.

 

Implementing the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan from a Gender Perspective.

Women are recognized signatories to the Revitalised Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS). South Sudan has also put in place policy frameworks and institutions in support of the women, peace and security agenda. If South Sudan is to achieve sustainable peace and fulfil the R-ARCSS, measures that promote women’s participation and tackle associated barriers should be adopted.

A study carried out in Juba-South Sudan by the Women’s International
Peace Centre shows that sustainable peace in South Sudan depends on the full implementation of gender provisions within the R-ARCSS.
The study examined the extent to which gender has been mainstreamed in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.

This Policy Brief highlights the barriers to the full implementation of the R-ARCSS and shares recommendations.

 

Adaption of Early Warning Tools for District Monitors in Arua, Kapelebyong, and Kasanda

Fifteen participants from Arua, Kapelebyong and Kasanda inclusive of data analysts, district leadership and the women monitors were part of trainings on adaption of early warning tools from 7th – 12th September, 2020. This was facilitated by a consultant who developed the gender-sensitive early warning data collection tools to aid in collection conflict/violence early warning signs in the electoral process and general conflict in communities. Read More “Adaption of Early Warning Tools for District Monitors in Arua, Kapelebyong, and Kasanda”

Exchange visit With Refugee Women Peace Builders

The Peace Centre was excited to be hosting a 3-day exchange visit with 40 women peacebuilders from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan & Uganda, living as refugees in Uganda to reflect on the past 20 years of implementing the Women Peace Security agenda.

This was in line with the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, it is widely acknowledged as a significant year for driving progress and pushing for gains in implementing the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda. 2020 is also the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which is significant for the WPS agenda with its prioritisation of women and armed conflict as a critical area of concern for gender
equality and women’s empowerment. It is a critical year to reflect on progress, setbacks, challenges and opportunities to advance the women, peace and security agenda, and to leverage the anniversary to accelerate the implementation of key commitments and WPS frameworks.

The exchange visit ensured that the peacebuilders had a recap on UNSCR resolution 1325 and the Uganda National Action Plan(NAP). We discussed the desired outcomes of the NAP and how women can participate in monitoring UNSCR 1325 at different levels. The exchange visit also entailed group presentations discussing challenges faced by women in conflict-affected areas and what recommendations they have to address the gaps.

On the status of implementation of the #UNSCR1325 in refugee settlements and within host communities the challenges have been highlighted as;

– High levels of physical and psychological gender-based violence, and limited access to reproductive health services.
-Refugee women and girls within settlements are continually excluded from formal peace processes and are under-represented within peace or security committee structures

Despite making tangible changes in the communities, the contributions of refugee women and grassroots women peacebuilders are not recognized or made visible. The 3-day visit also included the peacebuilders sharing their reflections on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325; Participation, Prevention, Protection relief and recovery with the African Union Special Envoy Bineta Diop. The women peacebuilders, therefore, urged Madam Bineta Diop to consider and amplify their recommendations as; a need to call for all governments and development partners to create a protective environment for women and girls affected by conflict.

You can access the full report on the exchange visit here: 20 Years of Grassroots Women Building Peace

Launch of the 2020/2021 Women’s Situation Room Uganda

The Uganda Women’s Network host of the Women’s Situation Room
(WSR) in Uganda in 2021; and the Women’s International Peace Centre, the Secretariat of the WSR launched the 2021 WSR. The Women’s Situation Room is a process that mobilizes women and youth to ensure their active participation in promoting peaceful electoral processes.

The process promotes women’s leadership in conflict resolution and peace building in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. The WSR is an early warning and rapid response mechanism to election related conflict and violence in African countries. First implemented by the Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) during the Presidential and Legislative Elections in Liberia in 2011, the WSR was adopted as a Best Practice by the Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) of the African Union, and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia was designated as the Champion for the WSR.

Read More “Launch of the 2020/2021 Women’s Situation Room Uganda”

Recommendations Presented to the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Women, Peace and Security by Grassroots Women Peace Builders

We, women peace builders from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, living as refugees in Uganda along with women peace builders from Karamoja and West Nile, Uganda, meeting from 13th to 15th October 2020 in Kampala, Uganda to reflect on grassroots women’s contributions and vision for peace in our communities and countries of origin;

THANK the Government of Uganda for its generosity in hosting us and guaranteeing the rights of refugee women to access land, education, health services, employment, free movement and to live in Uganda with dignity.

COMMEND the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development of Uganda for incorporating the protection and participation of internally displaced and refugee women in conflict prevention, resolution, relief and recovery as a key emerging issue in the third National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2020-2024).

RECOGNISE the on-going review of the South Sudan National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and Related Resolutions (2015-2020) by the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare of South Sudan, which aimed to enable the broad participation of women, including displaced women, in peace negotiations and all mediation processes.

APPRECIATE the solidarity and support of the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Women, Peace and Security in championing the priorities and agency of women and girls affected by conflict, including young, displaced and grassroots women, in continental peace and security efforts. 

ACKNOWLEDGE the critical role of the Office of the AUC Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security in developing the Continental Results Framework on Women, Peace and Security and supporting national and regional actors to monitor and report on implementation of the WPS agenda.

SEIZE the opportunity of the 20th anniversary of UNSCR 1325, the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action and the start of the African’s Women’s Decade on Financial and Economic Inclusion for African Women to call for accelerated implementation of the WPS agenda from the perspective of young, grassroots and displaced women peace builders.

 

On the status of implementation of UNSCR 1325 in refugee settlements, within host communities, in cross-border and pastoral conflict settings, we

Highlight the following persisting challenges for women and girls

  • The situation of women and girls in these settings is affected by high levels of physical and psychological gender based violence including rape, defilement, family and child neglect, physical deformation, stress, divorce and separation, suicide. This is worsened by limited legal and psychosocial support to SGBV survivors; social stigma; high number of male police who are not equipped to handle court cases with sensitivity and confidentiality; delays in processing cases and perpetrators going unpunished.
  • Due to COVID-19, food rations for refugee women and children have been reduced, there is a rise in teenage pregnancies, forced or early marriages, domestic violence and new cases of internal displacement. The COVID-19 situation has also caused fewer women and girls to report SGBV cases and has highlighted the continued need for psychosocial and material support to survivors and persons with chronic special needs.
  • Other challenges include limited access to reproductive health services, low levels of income and education among refugee women as well as conflicts between refugees and host communities over land and resources such as firewood, water or grass, worsened by language barrier.
  • Refugee women and girls within settlements are excluded from formal peace processes and our voices are not considered in post-conflict reconstruction efforts in countries of origin, for instance in the 2018 South Sudan peace in the process and current governance decisions by the revitalised transitional government of national unity.
  • Refugee women and grassroots women peace builders who play key conflict prevention and resolution roles at local levels are under-represented in continental peace and security efforts such as the Silencing of the Guns initiative. Weak exchange of information and feedback between local, national and continental policy levels limits the reach of our voices. 
  • Women are not meaningfully involved or well represented within peace or security committee structures at sub-county and district level, in districts without organised women mediator groups. Cultural norms and practices still limit women’s access to key decision-making spaces like the Elders’ shrines in Karamoja. Urban refugee women are often not consulted or involved in the design and implementation of policies that concern us.
  • The contributions of refugee women and grassroots women peace builders are not recognised or made visible. They are depicted as ‘vulnerable’ even when they are making tangible change in the communities. Women leaders in political spaces within and outside the refugee settlements are making significant contributions to peace and security. However they are also intimidated, targeted by men in the community with false accusations; denied permission by husbands to participate in leadership, face sexual harassment from male superiors in their work; are limited by financial constraints and their levels of education.

We urge the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Women, Peace and Security to consider and amplify our recommendations as follows; 

  1. Call for all Governments and Development Partners to create a protective environment for women and girls affected by conflict, to strengthen judicial and medical responses to SGBV, to provide direct psychosocial and material support to survivors, raise awareness among men and tackle the negative norms and practices sustaining this violence.
  2. Call on Governments and Development Partners to directly support the conflict prevention and peace building work of refugee and grassroots women’s groups, caucuses and community based organisations; to ‘do no harm’ and equip local women to sustain their work and its positive impact. 
  3. Request the AUC Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security to promote the creation of sage spaces for conflict-affected women at all levels and to support the inclusion of refugee women and grassroots women peace builders at the highest decision-making tables on peace and security in their host countries and countries of origin.
  4. Call Upon the IGAD Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism to drive the restructuring of district and sub-county level peace committees to have 50% of their members as women.
  5. Request IGAD, the Government of South Sudan and RJMEC to ensure that South Sudanese refugee women participate and their voices are heard in national peace building processes.
  6. Request the AUC Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security to facilitate the participation of refugee women and grassroots women peace builders in continental peace and security efforts, particularly in silencing the guns to which we are victims. We call on other women’s rights organisations, development partners and governments to equip grassroots women to participate in the digital world, with the skills and tools required for our exposure and our voices to be included.
  7. Call on the African Union Commission and Member States to prioritise the economic empowerment of women and girls affected by conflict, including refugee women, in all the plans of the upcoming African’s Women’s Decade on Financial and Economic Inclusion for African Women. This should address the education.

  Dated at Kampala, this 14th day of October 2020

20 Years of African Women’s Participation in Women Peace and Security: Civil Society Perspectives

African women’s experiences in conflict situations and the role of African women’s
peacebuilders were central to the influence for the adoption of United Nations
Security Council Resolution 1325 and the broader Women’s Peace and Security
Agenda. African women have played a formative role in shaping the agenda, raising
awareness of the issues, developing and implementing frameworks as well as
building networks and mobilizing the necessary support for its implementation. Read More “20 Years of African Women’s Participation in Women Peace and Security: Civil Society Perspectives”

Monthly meetings with women leaders and monitors and the District Peace Committee.

The Peace Centre hosted monthly meetings with the District Peace Committee members from 24 th September – 3 rd October, 2020. A total of 15 women leaders, male and female monitors and data analysts were mobilized to attend the meetings in Arua, Kapelybong and Kassanda.

The meetings convened at sub county level aimed at sharing documented early warning incidences and the impact of COVID 19 on women and electoral processes for discussion and action by the Committee.

The District Peace Committees were established as a part of the Conflict Early Warning and Early response mechanism (CEWERU).

Transforming Power to Put Women at the Heart of Peacebuilding

This discussion paper brings together three regional essays commissioned to explore what needs to happen. What needs to happen to ‘transform power’ to women and communities most affected by crises and conflict so that they shape the decisions that affect their lives? What would a feminist peace and security agenda look like? The essays illustrate how transformative change rarely comes from within the system; rather, it often comes from outside: from disruption by protest, and from women’s, youth, local and grassroots movements.

 

International Day of Peace

The Peace Centre partnered with the South Sudan Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare and Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice (CIGPJ) to mark International Day of Peace with a talk show on South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation TV on 21st September 2020 reflecting on important roles of women in sustaining peace, the status of and opportunities for women’s (including young women’s) participation in peacebuilding and national development.

The discussion highlighted progress and gaps in government efforts, including in the implementation of the 2015-2020 National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 and the revitalized peace agreement. It also highlighted the contributions of young women to peace and nation-building; including advocating for the R-ARCSS to be implemented and for their inclusion in decision-making processes, opportunities for ensuring women’s leadership in political parties and public institutions, and closed with calls to action.

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Training of Refugee Women Leaders as Mediators in Advocacy for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding.

The Peace Centre trained 78 refugee women in December 2019 and they have participated in the formal and informal decision making forums for peace. To further strengthen their skills. The trainings enhanced the capacity of 90 peace mediators; 40 in Yumbe from 7th to 9th September 2020 and 35 in Adjumani from 10th to 12th September 2020 and 15 in Kotido from 19th to 21st August 2020.

During the training the 75 women peace mediators discussed what they did with the skills they obtained during the mediation training in December 2019, with demonstrations on how they handled the conflict cases and they were guided. The training also focused more on advocacy for conflict prevention and peace building, OPM community based service department took participants through the referral pathway, new action plans were developed and participants went out to implement.  The 15 participants in Kotido included community development officers whose involvement in peace building has been low since they had never been targeted with peace building initiatives yet are key if peace is to be realized.    

Training of Analysts to Examine Data and Produce Monthly Reports

The conflict early warning and early response system has been lacking an effective monitoring and reporting of conflict incidences right from the grassroots. To strengthen the early response and reporting system, The Peace Centre trained 46 Conflict Analysts (8 males and 38 females) that is 16 in Kotido from 16th to 18th August 2020, 15 in Adjumani from 24th to 26th August 2020 and 15 in Yumbe from 2nd to 4th September 2020.  Participants were equipped with knowledge and skills on Uganda’s conflict early warning and early response mechanism. Read More “Training of Analysts to Examine Data and Produce Monthly Reports”

Training of District Peace Committees

The Peace Centre this week trained 66 District Peace Committee members (46 males and 20 females) to play their peace building role more effectively while mainstreaming gender and embracing conflict early warning and early response mechanisms at District level. This was carried out through  three trainings sessions organized by the Peace Centre for 60 District Peace Committee members in Kotido, Adjumani  and in Yumbe where 2 days were allocated to each District with 20 participants each.

The Conflict Early Warning and Early Response system that Uganda is using provides for peace structures at National, District, Sub County, Parish and Village level but on ground the committees were not fully functional and lacked understanding on their mandate. The trainings focused on IGAD, Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN) background, mandate, activities and role of District peace committee, frameworks and methods of conflict early warning, formation of local peace structures, engendering the conflict early warning and early response system at District level. As the peace structure mandated to coordinate peace initiatives at District level, the committee now have a better understanding on their role, operations, mainstreaming gender in peace building, conflict early warning and early response system and pledged to utilise the skills gained in their peace building work.

Official opening by the RDC Adjumani

Transitional Justice In Northern Uganda; Citizen’s Perspectives

Between January and June Women’s International Peace Centre with and partners International Center for Transitional Justice-Uganda, African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET), Refugee Law Project (RLP), The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Uganda) partnered with TRAC FM to collect real-time data from citizens using polls on the themes of the transitional justice policy. Through an interactive radio campaign, citizens discussed their conflict experiences, the lingering impact of human rights violations, efforts of government and other actors and appropriate measures for recovery, reconciliation and redress for victims and war-affected communities moving forward.

The purpose of this report is to share data and present citizens’ views and recommendations related to transitional justice to inform action by all stakeholders including government institutions, traditional and religious institutions and civil society.

Healing Through Rituals: A Guide for Sustaining Wellbeing and Activism

COVID-19 has introduced different ways of working, connecting, relating and being. How do we adjust to this new world order and still enjoy the work that we do? How do we avoid burning out caused by isolation and overload of social media? COVID-19 has made us realise that we need to build a new sense of practice. Read More “Healing Through Rituals: A Guide for Sustaining Wellbeing and Activism”

Feminist Leadership Institute 2020

Responding to the absence of young women in policy spaces and programming on peace and security, The Peace Centre is this week training young women from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Uganda to empower them to be leaders and agents of peace in the Feminist leadership Institute in Seeta, Uganda. Read More “Feminist Leadership Institute 2020”

Women Changing the Face of HIV&AIDS and Building Peace.

In June, The Peace Centre concluded a 5-year project in partnership with Akwenyutu People Living with HIV/AIDS (APHAS) in conflict-affected North-eastern Uganda. The project aimed to build the resilience of women and enable them transfer the acquired skills and competences in livelihood boosting and peace building to the community.

This reflective report titled ‘Women Changing the Face of HIV&AIDS and Building Peace’ highlights the project impact, lessons learnt and the future plans for the group.

COVID-19 and Funding Local WROs Policy Brief

Local women-led organisations (WLO) and women’s rights organisations (WRO) play critically important roles in crisis response, but their efforts often lack both political and financial support. On 16th July, the UN launched an updated Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) for COVID-19. Women’s International Peace Centre took part in this survey led by CAFOD, CARE International UK, ActionAid, Danish Church Aid and Oxfam who partnered with local WLO and WRO partners in Lebanon, Jordan, Bangladesh, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Nigeria, Occupied Palestinian Territories and South Sudan to gather a snap-shot of the Covid19 response to date in terms of access to funding, partnerships and decision-making for WLO/WROs.

The joint policy brief summarises findings and recommendations on direct funding to these groups, indirect funding via international intermediary organisations (including UN agencies and INGOs), their participation in humanitarian coordination processes and post-COVID19 recovery. 

Monthly District Peace Committee Meetings in Kotido, Yumbe and Adjumani

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.

Read More “Monthly District Peace Committee Meetings in Kotido, Yumbe and Adjumani”

Tracking Trained Women Leaders in Bukavu, DRC

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.

Unheard Unseen: A COVID-19 briefing

A resource by Women for Women International on ensuring the inclusion of marginalised women in fragile and conflict states in COVID-19 prevention, response and recovery.

‘Unheard. Unseen.’ identifies five priority action areas and provides analysis and recommendations on the important policy changes that are so urgently needed for marginalised women affected by conflict. The report, also outlines how important it is to create space for marginalised women in conflict-affected countries to share their experiences and influence change.

Planning Meeting for Leadership Development Activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nepal.

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 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 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.

Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls Refugees in the time of COVID-19

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.

Read More “Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls Refugees in the time of COVID-19”

Community Dialogues on Transitional Justice in Northern Uganda

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 specific 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 groups 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 is taken and provide updates. In Lira, the Community Development Officer and LC 3 Chair person 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.

Virtual Consultation: Women and Youth Exchanging Lessons for Peace and Security

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.

Voices of Refugee Women on COVID-19 in Uganda.

Uganda currently hosts over 1.4million refugees and asylum seekers under her open-door policy according to Uganda Comprehensive Refugee Portal. 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

 

Catching Up with Our Leadership Institute Alumna- Martine Kaliza Mirindi

Martine Kaliza Mirindi is an alumna of the 2013/14 Leadership Institute promoting women’s and girls’ rights and advocating for peaceful resolution of conflicts in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is the founder of Women for Democracy and Fight against Violence (WDFV), is very passionate about serving and defending the rights of the most vulnerable. Martine holds an Advanced Degree in Law, specializing in Private and Judicial law from Université Ouverte/CIDP-Nord –Kivu completed in 2007 Martine intends to join political leadership to apply her innovative ideas for the common good of the people of the DRC. She is also passionate about a number of things including love, nature, music, drama, dance.  

Martine, the Natural Leader

“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. This applies to my work as well as 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 and the necessary tools on leadership.”

Participating in the 2013/14 Leadership Institute on Peace Building and Human Security

Martine chose to take part in the institute in order to enhance her leadership and peace building skills but also understand the experiences of other women leaders. The institute lived up to her expectations and she readily lists some of the key lessons that are maki a difference in her work.

“I clearly understood, what it means to be a leader, how one becomes a leaders and ways to overcome our challenges as women leaders. 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 interaction because it strengthened both the young women and senior members of civil society organizations in the training.

Following the training, Martine was able to work out different strategies in order to succeed even in small things that she often neglected but were very important for the community. She raised awareness among women who were not formally educated, to get them involved in public life at the grassroots level. Martine replicated her institute experience and focused on strengthening the women’s leadership skills for the benefit of the community.

Challenges of Women’s Leadership

Despite her passion and drive, Martine talks about the challenges demoralizing women peace builders. She mentions stigma, the lack of meaningful progress in the fight to promote women’s rights, and some men who are opposed to the common cause of women’s 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 several plans and dreams for African women, for instance, giving them the opportunity to design projects and receive support to meet the needs of vulnerable people. She hopes to use all she has learned from various trainings to contribute to enriching women’s work.

I have attended several training sessions at the national level in Kinshasa, at 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 processes, gender-based violence, UNSCR 1325, civic education, gender and elections, restorative justice, gender and protection, leadership and gender mainstreaming in projects.

 Advice to Younger Women Leaders

Martine advises, “In order to be able to participate in the decision making processes, join non-violent movements, women groups or political parties. Engage in entrepreneurship so as to economically empower yourself as a young leaders. Consider attending the Leadership Institute.”

In closing, Martine highlights the importance of solidarity among women as critical to promoting gender equality in professional life and in day to day activities.

Passionate about South Sudan Politics and Women’s Rights: Q&A with Rachael Juan

What is your role at Women’s International Peace Centre ?

I’m a Project Assistant and Focal Point for South Sudan at Women’s International Peace Centre. It is an exciting job as 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.

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 interventions, 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.

What’s one professional skill you are currently working on?

I am working on building my conflict resolution and peacebuilding skills. My aim is to become one of the 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 which ignites my motivation. These are usually sad documentaries on conflict and post-conflict situations because of the long conflicts in South Sudan. 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 would recommend that we explore what works for us to be productive at all times. Let’s not forget the in-between 5-10 minute breaks with fruits and nuts.

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 coronavirus disease has affected my personal and work routines. It is exasperating 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 or sticky 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 is a work-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of?

Being able to take the lead in 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 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 would really love to become 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. We need this expertise now more than ever now.

What energizes you outside of work?

Shopping. Be it clothes, tiny necklaces, home décor, perfumes or food for my myself and my loved ones. Music is another powerful energizer. I don’t want to imagine a world without music. If I have many errands and chores waiting for me, I usually lose the interest to do them but with music, anything is possible.

What is one book or moment that changed you, and why?

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 recommend it to everyone.

What is 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 to becoming Dr. Juan, for the thrill of it and because Dr. looks great attached my name. I had obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Governance and International Relations with honours. 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 working to advancethe women, peace and security agenda?

I would advise them to be as committed and consistent as possible. Read and build intellect. 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. 

Contributing to District-level COVID-19 Response in Yumbe, Adjumani and Kotido, Uganda

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.

Tracking Trained Women Leaders in Arua, Kassanda and Kapelebyong, Uganda

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 leaders trained have mobilized and are encouraging other women to contest for different political positions in their communities and continued sensitizing communities on their duty to report any intimidation and violence cases.
  • The trained women have also mediated conflict incidents within the communities especially domestic violence cases that have been rampant during the lockdown period.  Akol Ketty from Kapelebyong sub-county mediated a case where a child was badly beaten and sent away from home because she told her mother to stop drinking because it puts the lives of family members at risk.
  • Christine Aciferu from Katrini sub-county, Arua District has compiled early warning incidences due to election-related violence and cases of aspiring candidates abusing incumbents were common in her sub-county.
  • Through attending candidate’s consultative meetings, Christine has continuously shared the message for peaceful elections with the electorates i.e. ‘’I am using the knowledge that I acquired to sensitize people on peaceful electoral processes, that we need a peaceful election and people should not allow being bribed and should avoid excitement but make informed choices of the leaders to elect “She attributes this to the knowledge that she acquired during the training.
  • Christine also participated in voter’s register display exercise and mobilized communities to check on their names in the voter’s register and removal of the dead and those who transferred to other places from the registers. Due to the knowledge and skills acquired Christine is now a member of the tribunal committee in a sub-county.

Wellness and Self-care for Young Women Leaders and Women Human Rights Defenders.

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’s 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) and 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 a universal language and what better medicine for global pandemic than a global language? There is no eART without art. Art may involve painting, designing, music, poetry, and dancing.

The increased burden of tasks, often undertaken with reduced access to food, medicines and recreational facilities, can be physically, emotionally and psychologically draining. If individuals are to keep up energy during this difficult time, it is the fire that will liberate you from fixed patterns and create new behaviour. 

The nourishment and support of the nature grants us the feeling of belonging that allows us to expand and grow. Our well-being depends on this feeling of belonging; walking barefoot, the fresh smell from the trees, the scenery can be helpful in handling stress and workload.

Other tips include
• Physical exercise to keep body and mind active.
• 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 additional work 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 explained why we do this work.

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.

Mediation Dialogue in Maaji II refugee settlement, Adjumani District, Uganda

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.

Transitional Justice in the Face of COVID-19

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, the Peace Centre 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 discussed 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 was structured to align with the strategic priorities and key cross cutting issues in the policy.

As part of the ongoing campaign, on the 27th of  May, 2020, Women’s International Peace Centre working with the ICT J-Uganda and Track FM organized a tweet chat to examine the impact of COVID-19 outbreak, response and containment measures on Transitional Justice efforts as well as how it affects the lives of victims and survivors primarily in Northern Uganda.

The tweetchat was moderated by Rosebell Kagumire, @RosebellK, a Pan African Feminist, and Editor AfricanFeminism.com, a platform that documents narratives and experiences of African women on the continent and in the diaspora. 

With a panel of Transitional Justice experts including Teddy Apunyo, a Researcher with more than 15 years’ experience working as a practitioner 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 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 Chapter Four 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, a Feminist Researcher who has conceptualized and coordinated studies on Governance, Peace and Security; Women’s Health issues in DRC, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burundi and Nepal.

The tweet chat created awareness about the campaign, shared different views and involved more people in the discussion about Transitional Justice. 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

Women’s Leadership in Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes region of Africa: A Regional Convening Report

Global Fund for Women and the Women’s International Peace Centre convened women human rights activists and organizations from Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda working to build peace, end sexual and gender-based violence, and combat the negative impact of the extractive industry on peace and women’s rights.

In the space, we assessed the progress and gaps in the women, peace, and security agenda in the region and defined a creative common vision and agenda for feminist peacebuilding.

This report highlights the discussions during the Regional Convening on Women’s Leadership in Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

 

Kuno COVID Cafe

KUNO in cooperation with partners, introduced the KUNO Covid Café. In a bid to discuss Covid-19 crisis and the challenge it is posing to the world in unprecedented ways and how it is influencing our daily lives. The conversation looked at the consequences of the Covid-crisis in the Global South. The speakers in the first episode were:

Helen Kezie-Nwoha, Executive Director of Women’s International Peace Centre, who gave a feminist perspective on the COVID-19 crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Hassiba Hadj-Sahraoui, MSF Amsterdam, gave a view on the impact of COVID-19 on MSF operations in the Mediterranean Sea and in the detention centers for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Libya.
Samah Hadid, Oxfam Yemen, discussed the pre-existing humanitarian situation and the COVID-19 crisis in Yemen.

You can read a short report of the cafe or watch the Kuno Covid cafe here

Statement to African Union Member States on the Impact of COVID-19 on Women and Girls

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.

African Union Gender Ministers’ Meeting on Mainstreaming Gender in COVID-19 Response in Africa

The Peace Centre was excited to join the meeting on 12th May to share work done to ensure gender responsive COVID response and adopt a regional framework for mainstreaming gender in COVID response in Africa. The meeting brought together 195 participants including the African Union Chairperson, the UN Women Executive Director, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Africa Center for Disease Control, and the African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security leaders of the African Union, Gender Ministers, UN Women Country Offices and Women’s Rights Organizations across the continent to. Gender Is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) network shared women’s rights organizations response strategies to COVID-19 and The Peace Centre presented lessons from work with refugee women incorporating COVID-19 prevention into their early warning and peace building activities. Read More “African Union Gender Ministers’ Meeting on Mainstreaming Gender in COVID-19 Response in Africa”

African Union WGDD Specialised Technical Committee on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (STC on GEWE) Meeting on the Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Equality

On 29th April, The Peace Centre as a member of the Gender Is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) Steering Committee took part in the virtual meeting of the STC on GEWE convened by the AU Women Gender and Development Directorate to define the African Union Guidelines on Gender-Responsive Responses to COVID-19. The webinar brought together 195 participants and leaders of the African Union, Gender Ministers, UN Women Country Offices and Women’s Rights Organizations in the Continent under the theme “COVID 19 Response and Recovery- a Gendered Framework”. The webinar was co-chaired by UN women’s Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Chairperson of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, Beatrice Lomeya Atilite.

The webinar focused on briefing Ministers in charge of Gender and Women Affairs on guidelines being defined by the African Union to ensure national responses to the pandemic are gender-responsive as well as to discuss support required by the Ministers to enhance on-going national responses. The presentation by GIMAC focused on highlighting the responses of women and women’s rights organisations in addition to sharing recommendations including the importance of centering women’s leadership, of gender-responsive resourcing, addressing the crisis of gender-based violence and the need for attention to conflict-affected contexts among others.

“Like any epidemic, COVID-19 accentuates the inequalities and discrimination of vulnerable groups. The confinement and the social distancing can transform the haven of peace, which must be the home, into a place at high risk of violation of human rights and particularly the rights of women. We must, therefore, together ensure that this situation does not become the breeding ground for the propensity of violence against women. The fight against impunity, respect for dignity, equality and solidarity must be the cardinal values in the gender approach against Covid19.”- Beatrice Lomeya Atilite

The Gender Ministers’ also had an opportunity to share how their countries are responding, sharing some of the strategies as;

  • Having a gender analysis of COVID-19 impact to inform response,
  • Ensuring intersectionality.
  • Ensuring COVID-19 data is disaggregated by gender.
  • Increasing awareness of the population on COVID-19, ensure the message is in different languages.
  • Working with the private and public sector to raise awareness and plan response.
  • Paying attention to existing health issues in the population – malaria, infant mortality, and maternal mortality and HIV infection. Among others

A representative of GIMAC during the meeting presented CSOs response strategies to COVID-19. The meeting aimed to share work done, to discuss key lessons learned and good practices in ensuring gender-responsive COVID response and adopt a regional framework for mainstreaming gender in COVID response in Africa. This came to a close with the Gender Ministers adopting a gender transformative framework for response to COVID-19 in Africa to address the various difficulties facing women and girls in Africa in relation to the pandemic.

COVID19 Response Is Disrupting African Cultural and Social Norms

Helen Kezie-Nwoha[1] and Angeline Nkwenkam Nguedjeu[2]


Our culture in Africa shapes our identity. We proudly refer to ourselves as Africans. This sense of pride emanates from our very rich cultural and social norms. All over the world people have cultures that they cherish and inform their beliefs, norms and social practices.

Read More “COVID19 Response Is Disrupting African Cultural and Social Norms”

Women in Peace building

By Evelyn Birungi

“The work of educating the world to peace is the woman’s job, because men have a natural fear of being classed as cowards if they oppose war.” Jeanette Rankin once said.  Although women have the power and ability to just as actively contribute and fuel conflicts, more often than not, they are championing for peace.

This past decade we have heard more examples of this, for example; It was women who brought an end to the 14-year war in Liberia, organizing daily sit-ins, staging vigils, and taking to the streets until negotiators agreed to sign a deal. In Afghanistan,  the courageous People’s Peace Movement was first sparked by women in Helmand province. A picture of 22 year old Alaa Sallah in the middle of the Sudan revolution went viral and inspired many. “The future is female” “Lady Liberty of Sudan” is an example of some of the reactions that were filled on social media screens. Women have always been key players in the fight for peace although their efforts have gone unrecognized. In this article, I will attempt to explain peace building, UN 1325 and just how important it is to actively adopt it. Read More “Women in Peace building”

Defining Our Collective Roadmap to Feminist Peace

The Peace Centre convened a parallel event at the Virtual 65th Commission on the Status of Women on Monday, 15th March at 3:00 pm EAT. This year, the aim was to hear and reflect on the perspectives of diverse women peace builders including young women, displaced women, women with disabilities, women in rural areas, women peace builders in the local/sub-national governments, religious institutions, the private sector, technology and academia. In an enlightening conversation with diverse women peace builders, we defined the concrete actions necessary for us to see the transformative change associated with our vision of feminist peace over the next 25 years.

Read More “Defining Our Collective Roadmap to Feminist Peace”

The African Feminist Charter

The work of The Peace Centre is founded on the progressive principles of feminism acknowledging that the feminist movement has been in existence for long.

The Peace Centre subscribes and its work is guided by the Charter of Feminist Principles for African Feminists which ring true to the work of amplifying women voices, and the belief that anyone labelled as a second-class citizen must be protected without labelling.

Meet Our Young Woman Leader from South Sudan.

 Pikyiko Eunice Jacob is one of the young women who have gone through the Peace Centre’s leadership training. She is a South Sudanese young woman leader currently working with Crown The Woman- South Sudan as a project officer. Crown the woman- South Sudan is a women-founded and women-led nonprofit. It is a non-governmental, non-political, humanitarian and national grassroots organization that aims at empowering girls and women to ensure they harness their potential and contribute to nation building economically, socially and politically.

Eunice describes herself as a hard worker and a good listener who is trying to do her work to the best of her abilities. 

“I love to learn new things, because the world keeps changing and I’m inquisitive by nature, I tend to ask questions so I can learn.” she says.

Eunice’s first interaction with the centre was when she attended a workshop/ mentorship session in November of 2019 in South Sudan. She shared her passion for working on women issues and trying to find ways to empower them. “The Peace Center made me realize that this was an achievable goal and my capacity was built during the mentor-ship session.”

Her realization was further built on when a group of young South Sudanese women were chosen as representatives visiting Uganda to learn and share experiences with The Peace Centre. Here Eunice was taken through practical ways in which she could become a better leader and was also able to draw up a vision board for her next 5 years. “I relate to The Peace Centre because they are empowering young women, helping them realize their passions and figure out how to achieve them. “

Eunice remarks that her journey with Women International Peace Center has been the best journey so far of her life so far. It’s not only been engaging but has also been very empowering. It helped her build her capacity, especially as a public speaker. Although she admits that she’s not exactly where she is and she is always working towards the one hundred per cent stance. She’s sure that with the continuous support of The Peace Centre she will be able to convey information with the confidence she previously lacked.

Eunice practices her public speaking during one of the workshops

 “Before working with The Peace Centre I was just a young woman that had a lot of dreams and aspirations but didn’t know how to put my point across. My dreams were big with no way of execution, However, with the centre’s help I was able to identify the different ways I can make a change in my community, how to present myself and it has broadened my thinking capacity, and how to adapt in my community.”

Eunice sharing her dreams and vision board during the recent exchange visit.

 Her experience at the peace centre helped her realize that “you don’t have to wait to graduate to become a leader or have a leadership role”, “being a leader is not about your age, experience or qualifications. It is a calling.

When asked about her stance on feminism she replies, “I was not a strong feminist before but with the various conversations and books I have read about feminism, I have realized that we women should fight for our rights in the community be it small or big, to have equal opportunities. I have also learnt that I can’t effectively do my work if I’m not looking after myself or exercising wellness.

Learning Exchange Visit of Young Women Leading for Peace in South Sudan Report

This report highlights the discussions during the 3-day learning Exchange visit held from 9th to 13th February for a more immersive learning
experience with women leaders and women’s rights organizations within Uganda’s women’s movement.

National Dissemination workshop for the Women’s Council Strategic Plan 2019 – 2023

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2020 working under the theme – I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights- the centre left the capital for Mbale. This was in partnership with The National Women’s Council (NWC) and with support from Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) to launch their strategic Plan 2019-2023. The workshop brought together representatives from the different countries in Uganda . The Chairperson of the Council Hajjati Kiboowa Faridah shared as part of the National Women’s Council’s (NWC) plan to engage all women regardless of their various political parties for development purposes.


Hajjati Kiboowa Faridah and Collins Mwijuka of the National Women’s Council

The workshop kicked off with an update of what the NWC had been able to achieve in the past year. “The NWC has been able to mobilize women to participate in peace and security and partnered with The Peace Centre to develop the strategic plan and investment model, and carry out peer to peer mentoring” Mr. Collins Mwijukka Executive Director of the NWC said.


The meeting was attended by over 140 Participants including; PS Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, National Women Council members from various districts, National Executive Committee members, CSO’s among others.

In her keynote address to the women the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development Ms. Peace Mutozo commended the NWC for bridging the gap between the rural women and government.

The women at the workshop were taken through the NWC 5 year Strategic and Investment Plan which seeks to address the following; economically independent women, the enrolment and retention of children in schools and nurture children and young people into responsible and patriotic citizens. The Strategic Plan proposes the 15 households model that will enable the five elected NWC executives at the village level to be in charge of mobilization, sensitization and overseeing ten households to effectively participate and benefit from different development interventions.


‘With the household model, each of the 5 NWC executive members at the village level will be in charge of mobilization, sensitization and overseeing 15 households. This will enable women and households to access development.’ Byaruhanga Innocent a consultant explained

The model has 3 pillars – Nurturing, Education and Socioeconomic empowerment towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals .

African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) Launches Ugandan Chapter.

The Peace Centre was part of the African Women Leaders Network Ugandan Chapter (AWLN) launch, This event took place on 28th February 2020 at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala under the theme “Widening our Space in Leadership“. The launch brought together over 400 women leaders across the spectrum from government, private sector, academia, civil society and rural areas.

The African Women Leaders Network is a ground breaking movement of African women leaders that seek to enhance the leadership of African women in the transformation of the continent in line with Africa Agenda 2063 and the Global Sustainable Development agenda 2030.

The network will serve as a continental platform to galvanize women’s leadership towards lasting peace and development in all sectors and at all levels, building on and working with existing women networks. It seeks to increase women’s participation in decision making through peer learning and mentoring, enhanced solidarity, advocacy and capacity building among other strategies.


Honorable Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda launched the Network in Uganda

The Ugandan Chapter was launched by Honorable Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda who noted her belief that AWLN will help to mobilize women across all sectors to strengthen the reins that women hold for the transformation of our continent. The launch was also supported by various government institutions and women leaders like Ministry of Gender, labour and social development, Dr. Elizabeth Mary Okello Founder and Chair of Kenya Women Finance Trust, Ms Janet Bugembe; Associate Prof Josephine Ahikire of Makerere University and many others.

The event was also a space for various conversations which included panel discussions. One which was moderated by our very own Executive Director, Helen Kezie-Nwoha. The discussion was on women’s leadership; perspective, challenges and way forward in regards to the civil society sector, academia/research, including young women leaders perspectives. The discussion highlighted the need for transformation to be by choice and not by chance and encouraging women to use their sphere of influence to help someone become the best version of themselves. “It could be a small drop in the ocean but it’s the drop that makes the ocean full.”

The Executive Director Uganda Women’s Network, Ms. Rita Hope Aciro, addressed the challenges faced by women including social structure with 80% of people thinking men make better leaders and the negative portrayal of women in the media. Women, children and people with disabilities are still facing discrimination she said. Ms. Aciro reiterated that the platform is a collective action towards addressing the barriers that have affected women in leadership since time immemorial.


“Women around the world have been affected by leadership, economically, politically and socially. This is the reason why we are calling for collective action as opposed to individualism. Together we look up to planet 50/50 as women of Africa,” Rita Hope Aciro.

“Mentorship is a day to day effort and something we are committed to doing; stop nagging, support women and girls in rural areas. We need to hold ourselves accountable and continue engaging to bring about positive change,” Rita added as she concluded her remarks.

 The UN Women Deputy Country Representative to Uganda, Ms. Adekemi Ndieli also underscored the significance of the platform, to bring together women from all walks of life who are passionate about leadership.  “We are all aware of the challenges facing women in Uganda and globally. As we embark on this great journey, we must pledge that no one will be left behind. This is the time to arise to action and we can only do it together.” With support from the office of the African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security and the Federal Government of Germany, Adekemi pledged continued support of UN Women in empowering AWLN.

The Role and Prospects of Women Refugees in the South Sudan Peace Process.


25th to 26th FEBRUARY 2020; ADJUMANI – UGANDA

As part of its strategic goal to increase women’s participation in peacebuilding, the Peace Centre held a conference in form of an interdisciplinary dialogue that brought different actors together to engage with South Sudan women and girls refugees in Uganda.

The conference aimed to provide a platform for women refugees and other actors to access information on the progress of the peace processes in South Sudan and design strategies for continued incorporation of their voices and presence. It also provided an opportunity for women to share their experience in peacebuilding, learn from best practices, plan to address Women, Peace and Security concerns such as under-representation of women in defining and delivery of humanitarian-development services, shortage of specific measures and mechanisms to facilitate women’s sustained participation in the peace processes and accountability for gender-responsiveness.

This promoted women’s effective participation in decision making relating to the consolidation of peace and humanitarian assistance as well as contributed to closing real and perceived gaps between often-isolated local women (including refugee women) and larger national level women’s rights organizations engaged in advocacy on key peacebuilding processes hence facilitating connections between the refugee women and other counterparts supporting the engendering of the implementation of the peace agreement and related transitional processes in South Sudan.

The Conference convened  100 Participants including; Women Peace Mediators from Refugee Settlements in Yumbe, Adjumani and Kotido, Civil Society Leaders engaged in peace processes in South Sudan, The Peace Centre Staff, UN Women, Local Governments, Office of the Prime Minister,  UNHCR, Implementing partners and aimed to achieve the following objectives:

•             To provide a platform for refugee women to understand and receive updates on the peacebuilding processes in South Sudan

•             To link the refugee women with other women involved in advocacy towards engendering the peace processes in South Sudan 

•             To ignite women’s ability to participate in the formal and informal peacebuilding processes right from the refugee settlement for sustainable peace in South Sudan. 

The conference was a major success as it had the following outcomes:

  1. An outcome document that presents the recommendations of the refugee women to the Government of National Unity of South Sudan and the Government of Uganda was developed.
  2. During the conference, even though our focus was on informing the refugees of the ongoing peace process(es), there was a lot of conversation on their return back home, the conference received a report from the Office of the Prime Minister on the number of refugees arriving in Uganda currently, and this was explained as fear of the outcome of the recently sworn-in Transitional Government in South Sudan. Based on this the women demanded for specific actions relating to their return including a ceasefire and disarmament.
  3. Improved Relationship between refugees from Yumbe and Adjumani through networking.  Most of the participants were joyful about the conference as they made new friends and were able to see the ones they hadn’t seen in a while
  4. Increased understanding on the peace building processes in South Sudan and the role of women in Peace building with Presentations from;
    Betty Sunday from Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO South Sudan who opened up on the context of the South Sudan peace process.
  • Jackline Nasiwa, Executive Director Centre for Inclusive Governance Peace and Justice (CIGPJ) gave a review of the transitions in South Sudan from 2013 to date, the role of women in peace processes and updates on the peace process; government being dissolved and appointment of 5 Vice Presidents, one being a woman.  She also encouraged the women to organize themselves and be hopeful for peace in South Sudan
  • Last but not least Dr Ronald Kalyango explained research findings on the implementing the revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) from a gender perspective. From this, he was able to discuss the barriers to women’s participation in security sector reforms such as; resistance to women in military and societal borders by prescribing child care to women which holds them back.
  • As a way forward, he listed recommendations like ensuring gender responsive budgeting, setting guidelines on how the government will encourage women participation in elections and supporting affirmative action for women participating in all institutions and processes. All this set the stage for a productive and involved discussion about the South Sudan peace process.

Key Messages from The South Sudan Peace Process; The Role and Prospects of Women Refugees.

We, women refugees living in Uganda participated in the conference under the theme “The South Sudan Peace Process: The Role and Prospects of Refugee Women” in Adjumani, Uganda from 25 to 26 February 2020, acknowledged our common vision for sustainable peace in South Sudan and promoting peace in the communities where we live in Uganda;

THANK the Government of Uganda for their generosity of receiving us and enabling us to live in Uganda with dignity under their protection;

APPRECIATE the Office of the Prime Minister for Uganda, UNHCR and UN Women for their support over the years and providing us with access to education and health that has improved our well-being and livelihood;

FURTHER APPRECIATE the Government of Uganda for putting in place affirmative action for leadership in the settlements that has enabled 50-50 representation of women and men in decision making; that has enabled us to ensure the needs and concerns of women are taken into account in the management of the settlement;  

ACKNOWLEDGE the contribution of other partners whose support has helped address most of our needs, including the Refugee Law Project, Care International and the Women’s International Peace Centre;

REALISING that the Government of South Sudan is in the last stages of forming the Transitional Government of National Unity;

DRIVEN by the fact that urgent steps need to be taken to ensure that sustainable peace is achieved in South Sudan with the full participation of women and girls, particularly as it relates to the protection of women and girls from all forms of violence.

We urge the Government of South Sudan and signatories to the Revitalized Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan:

  • To ensure complete ceasefire is maintained and non-signatories are brought on board to participate in the peace implementation by silencing the guns.
  • We demand for a functional Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation Commission to ensure arms are removed from communities.
  • We call upon H.E President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Macher to visit us in the camps and assure us of no return to war. We are tired of being refugees and want to return home to participate in building our nation.
  • To ensure the complete implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and ALL its provision including monitoring and reporting; as well as respect the provision of 35% representation of women in decision making by nominating women in decision making positions at all levels. There is no sustainable without the full participation of women at all levels.
  • Recognize the capacity that resides with women refugees living in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt and find ways to ensure their inclusion in decision making to achieve sustainable peace;
  • Develop and implement the safe and dignified return of refugees, by developing and reinforcing policies that guarantee the safety of all citizens, protect our borders and civilian populations especially IDPs and safeguard their human rights, including the right to safety, education, health, food security, economic development, and ensure lands that have been taken away are returned to rightful owners.
  • Urge IGAD to continue to monitor the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement to ensure none of the parties violates ALL provisions; and if they do sanctions should apply.
  • Also we urge the international community to monitor and support the peace process in South Sudan and ensure accountability for violation of human rights.
  • We call on the Government of Uganda to continue to provide safe zones for refugee populations, develop and strengthen policies to provide holistic interventions that target women, girls and vulnerable groups including reintegration and economic empowerment for refugees.

Dated at Adjumani, this 26th day of February 2020.

Establishment of District Peace Committees in 6 project districts


The Peace Centre in partnership with the Conflict Early Warning and Early Response Unit (CEWERU) held meetings on 12th, 13th, 18th ,20th and 24th February, in Arua, Kapelebyong Kassanda, Kotido, Yumbe and Adjumani Districts respectively to establish District Peace Committees. This was with the support and guidance of the Resident District Commissioners, who are the Heads of security and the representatives of the President in the Districts.
The meetings aimed at increasing the understanding of members on the roles and responsibilities of the District Peace Committees, which includes to strengthen collaborative partnership between the District Peace Committees, Monitors, and Analysts and developing of action plans for convening meetings by the committees.


“Conflict mediation and resolution is key for peaceful electoral processes. Am happy that The Peace Centre has established a structure to respond to early warning incidences. I pledge to work with all stakeholders including the recently trained women that will act as violence monitors. This committee will handle issues of land, violence, human rights and electoral conflicts.” Hajj Ziad Kaleme- LC5 Kassanda District Local Government.


A total of 141 women were inaugurated as peace committee members (78 men and 63 women); (Arua – 17 men & 6 women); (Kapelebyong – 7 men & 7 women); (Kassanda – 12 men & 6 women); (Kotido 19 men & 19 women); (Yumbe 11 men & 14 women); (Adjumani 12 men & 11 women). The District Peace Committee members include: Resident District Commissioners, Local Council V Chairpersons, Resident State Attorneys; District Police Commanders; District Internal Security Officers; Military; Speakers; Officers in Charge of Prisons; District Information Officers; District Community Development Officers; representatives of the Electoral Commission; Office of the Prime Minister; Uganda Human Rights Commission; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); National Women’s Council -Women representatives; Youths representatives; Religious, Cultural & Kraal leaders; Representatives of Civil Society Organisations, Chairpersons of respective Sub-County Peace committees; and Regional Internal Security Officers.

As a result, six (6) District Peace Committees were established and trained.
It is expected that all the six districts will hold monthly meetings commencing end of March, 2020 to receive update on early warning conflict/violence incidents and follow up reported cases to address the issues and document outcomes.

“The committee will help bridge the gap between district local government and the citizens. It will provide instant response to the citizens”. RDC Arua


The training has increased understanding on roles and responsibilities of the District Peace Committees among the Peace Committee members and leaders and also strengthened collaborative partnership between the District Peace Committees, Monitors, Analysts and the Peace Centre.


Women Peace Committee Meetings; Adjumani, Yumbe and Kotido Districts.

Women’s participation in decision-making in peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery processes in Uganda is markedly low, particularly at the local level. The Baseline assessment conducted in 2019 showed that women are not often involved in planning for conflicts, raids but find themselves suffering most in the conflict situations yet are still not involved in the key decision-making platforms for resolutions of these conflicts. Hence Women, Peace and Security issues are left out. Read More “Women Peace Committee Meetings; Adjumani, Yumbe and Kotido Districts.”

Community Awareness and Accountability Dialogues; Arua, Kapelebyong and Kassanda Districts.

As we continue working towards improving women’s engagement and influence on electoral processes with the support of the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), The Peace Centre through the Community Development Office and National Women Council structures mobilized the community members to participate in the awareness and accountability dialogues at the community level in the three Districts of Arua, Kassanda and Kapelebyong.  

Community awareness and accountability sessions are platforms that provide opportunities for people at the grassroots to interact with their leaders on key pertinent issues in relation to service delivery. Accountability is about involving citizens and communities in the processes of governance so that the decisions and actions of the people and organizations with power are made public and can be questioned. This not only improves governance but also leads to better service delivery and to community empowerment.

The dialogues aimed at creating space for community members to discuss issues of concern in the ongoing electoral processes in their areas and to make policy recommendations for action by the different stakeholders.  The Peace Centre also used the platform to identify women leaders within the community that can participate as violence monitors, election monitors and the youth to serve as data analysts.

In Arua District, the dialogue was conducted in River Oli division, Osu cell, Arua municipality. Some of the issues raised included voter bribery, empty promises to voters, threats and intimidation from candidates.

“Please continue educating us, our elections here are terrible! May be when you come and educate us they will be peaceful” – Clara

“I am happy the project has come! I expect more peace in elections this time, Last time my eye was badly hit and injured during campaign time yet I am living positively for 25 years now” – Lucy


“We as women have been used as ladders in voting, they open windows and greet every one during campaign time but when we vote for them they close the windows and pretend not to know us, we should stop voting for such people” – Rebecca

In Kapelebyong, the dialogues were held at Acowa sub-county headquarters. Key issues identified also included voter bribery, intimidation, heavy deployment at polling stations.

“They told us to form women groups in order to be supported but ever since we voted for them, we have never seen them and have never benefited anything” Florence Akello

“Here a parish supervisor on his way to the polling station was hijacked by a candidate and beaten seriously, so women fear to take on such roles for the safety of their lives” Isaac
Women fear to be election monitors and supervisors for fear of intimidation from candidates

Recommendations from the dialogues included; Intensive civic education emphasizing voter education, install cameras around polling stations to survey the entire voting process leading to reliable information sources in case of any irregularities, voter bribery should stop and every political aspirant should be investigated to find out where they get the huge sums of money that they pour in their election campaigns.

Feminist Leadership and Self Love Camp

The Self-Love Camp is part of the Women’s International Peace Centre’s strategic positioning that prioritizes intentional well-being as one of the areas of engagement that builds sustainable feminist leadership and movements. The Peace Centre believes that there is need for deliberate and intentional investment in self-care and wellness of feminist leaders through specific tailor-made initiatives (such as this camp) and mainstreaming wellness throughout all programmes and interventions. As the new year and new decade begins, we believe it’s time to set new year and new decade goals for feminist leaders and organisations which, also must include wellness goals.

We are a collective of Women Leaders in Uganda; the Stewards of our organisations, collectives and movements – we are Executive Directors, Board Members and Senior Management Team Members. We are here as equals, challenging power and how it is exercised by us, for us and against us within our own spaces and organisations. We are here because we desire to deepen our appreciation, practice of transformative feminist leadership and wellness. We are here because we acknowledge that we are vulnerable and there is power in that. We are here because we believe that we cannot give from an empty cup. We are here because we choose to politicize our individual and collective wellness as an act of transformational feminist leadership. We are here because we decided that our wellness is just as important as our work.

We LOVE ourselves as leaders and prioritized two days to sit back and reflect on feminist leadership and wellbeing. We, the 21 women that participated in the Feminist Leadership and Self-Love Camp are the self-care conspirators that have dared to walk this journey… and we all ask; how did we get here?

What a powerful Feminist Leadership and Self-Love Camp this was!  These precious 48 hours were animated with:

Story-Telling

We shared our stories of being unwell (physically, mentally, emotionally financially and spiritually), decoded what make us unwell, experiences of how being unwell impacts on transformational leadership. We also shared the contemporary ways that are being employed to enable us to thrive and cope as well as recalled our invaluable cultural ways in which wellbeing was practised in the past/present. 

Sleep Therapy

Acknowledging that lack of rest for us as women, the pressure to beat donor deadlines and manage organisations, long working hours and digital-related stress are some of the ways that make us unwell, we took some time to undertake practical ways of sleep therapy. Massage therapy accompanied this, and it worked – we left feeling revived.

Art and Writing Therapy

We delved into our creative and crazy selves – drew, painted, wrote our hearts out, journaled and offloaded. We are lighter!

Dinner-Dating

As a way to deepen our appreciation of each other, our personal politics and who we are; we blind-dated each other and got to know someone better at a ‘Masquerade Blind-Date Dinner’.

Closing Ritual; Celebrating Love

A closing ritual was jointly undertaken where each woman leader was given a rose in acknowledgement of their resilience (just as the thorns on the roses) as well as their vulnerability (as feeble as the petals of the roses). The roses were also in celebration of women leader’s commitment to love themselves and other women. And in celebration of feminist and sisterly love.

South Sudan Young Women Leaders’ Exchange Visit to Uganda.

This week saw phase two of the Training on Advocacy, Gender and Peace Building implemented when 5 young women leaders from South Sudan came to Uganda as part of a 3-day learning visit from 10th to 12th February 2020. This was planned for a more immersive learning experience with women leaders and women’s rights organizations within Uganda’s women’s movement. Women’s International Peace Centre (WIPC) which hosted the girls, is partnering with the Centre of Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice (CIGPJ) to strengthen young women’s capacity to participate in and influence peace processes and their outcomes from a gender perspective in South Sudan.

The visit was part of the plan of equipping Young Women to Participate in and Influence Peace Processes and Post-Conflict Governance and aimed at;

  1. Facilitating an exchange of information, experiences, strategies and solidarity between the young women in South Sudan and a diversity of women and women’s rights organizations in Uganda. This was accomplished with interactions with the Peace Centre and a session on Personal and Professional Leadership and Growth – Rita Atukwasa Executive Director, Institute for Social Transformation
  2. Exposing the trained young women leaders to models and positive examples of young women’s leadership and efforts to influence policies, programs and structures in post-conflict context and this was achieved with the help of the women in leadership symposium organized by Akina Mama wa Afrika
  3. And strengthening their personal leadership skills which was possible through interactions like experience sharing from young leaders by Rachel Wanyana and a session facilitated by Harriet Nabukeera Musoke on recognizing self-worth and the importance of having a vision as a young leader

“ Words cannot explain how much I enjoyed my time in Uganda and how the training empowered, mentored, inspired, molded and capacitated me.” Arek Malek; one of the 5 young women leaders shared about her visit.

This comes after a previous training in Juba where 25 women aged between 22 and 35 were trained on advocacy and collective action to advance the women, peace and security agenda. At the end of which, participants created an informal network dubbed ‘Young Women Leading for Peace’ composed 4 working groups and produced 4 work plans for their engagement with key decision-makers and mechanisms on issues of young women in governance and in the coming Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU), the formation of states/boundaries, security (including DDRR, security sector reform and SGBV) and legislative review processes. The 5 young women leaders (and 1 sign language interpreter) represented the 25 members of the 4 groups.
The women left motivated, with a pack of lessons and ready to share all they’ve learnt in Juba.

Atim Caroline one of the participants with a hearing impairment mentioned that she had been encouraged “I learnt that it is important to keep your target and goal in mind but I also need to allow yourself to make mistakes as it’s the normal learning experience”

Harnessing Our Power With Soul: Bespoke Curriculum for Transformational Leadership and Wellness

As a feminist organization that is committed to the intentional integration of wellness into the ways and practices of organizing for transformational leadership, we developed a training model, “Harnessing Our Power with Soul: Bespoke curriculum for Transformational Leadership and Wellness” with the support of Womankind Worldwide through the “Women’s Advocacy for Voice and Empowerment through inclusive platforms in Uganda” project.

The Bespoke Curriculum contains some practical activities in an attempt to meet the needs of diverse groups at different stages of organizational growth and their varied approaches to learning and ways of sharing knowledge. This allows activists to visualize the experiences of others doing similar work to their own and to see themselves in these experiences.

Taking a Look At Now and the Future Gender Equality, Peace and Security in a COVID-19 World.

The Peace Centre is excited to be a part of the second phase of the COVID-19 project Now and the Future Gender Equality, Peace and Security in a COVID-19 World. The second phase will focus on any changes to the COVID-19, peace, security and gender equality situation in each country; any uptake of the recommendations and findings; the recommendations; and a summary of the overall project findings.

This comes after the completion of the first phase of the project where GAPS, its members and partners researched and published 11 papers on COVID-19.  Phase 2 aims to build on the situation post lockdown using recommendations to conduct a desk research. This is hoped to provide a succinct resource to allow updates on the findings based on phase 1 as well as changes in the COVID-19, peace, security, and gender equality situation.

 The papers from phase 1 provided sound gender-conflict analysis which the international community and governments can use to develop short and long-term programmes that address the impact of COVID-19, future global pandemics and crisis, gender inequality, peace and security. 

Phase 2 acknowledges that changes to the COVID-19 situation will vary in each context. In some countries there are major changes, in others limited to none at all. In some contexts, this could be as result of elections, in others: further lockdowns or a removal of lockdowns and restrictions; or changes in conflict and peace in some parts or across the country (such as increases of violence); changes in or increased evidence of gender (in)equality such as legislation or new data.

Through a desk-based review and limited Key Informant Interviews, GAPS and partners hope to assess the uptake of the first report, the extent to which recommendations have been taken up and changes in the situation. This will then inform short country briefing papers and a multi-country briefing paper which will include an update to any changes in the COVID-19, peace, security, and gender equality situation since the report was published. You can find a copy of the first phase report here. The Peace Centre will be working on this project to strengthen the report in partnership with Womankind and  with funding from GAP.

Launch of the Research study on Gender Dimensions of the Implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.

February was an exciting month that kicked off with the launch of the research report on the Implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan from a gender perspective. This research launch came on the occasion of the new political dispensation in South Sudan with the impending formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) in February.

This Research Study examined the opportunities, constraints, and extent to which women influence the peace process in South Sudan; and how women and young women’s advocacy efforts can be supported in ways that create new spaces for them to engage key decision-makers at national, regional and international levels. Methods of data collection included in-depth interviews with key informants, document review as well as a validation workshop with key stakeholders in Juba, South Sudan in December 2019 and January 2020.

The report also captures the following thematic areas of the Revitalized Peace Agreement; Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU), Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements, Humanitarian Assistance and Reconstruction, Resource, Economic and Financial Management, Transitional Justice, Accountability, Reconciliation and Healing, and Parameters and Review of Permanent Constitution.


Women’s participation in peace processes is critical for sustainable peace. Women should be supported to participate in both the peace processes and the transitional government of National Unity- Zainab Osman

Participants during the launch acknowledged The Peace Centre for good work done to ensure a gender perspective is taken into context in the implementation of the TGONU. Several limitations were identified as challenges facing women in the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan. As a means of communicating strategies to support advocacy by women organizations, several recommendations were proposed.

35th Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC): Recognizing and Amplifying Women and Girls’ Agency to Silence the Guns in Africa

The African Union Commission Heads of States Assembly has marked the year 2020 with the theme “Silencing the Gun: creating conducive conditions for Africa’s development”. In line with this theme, Agenda 2063 stresses the imperative of ending all wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence and violent conflicts and prevention of genocide in its ten-year implementation plan. Speaking to this endeavor, the 33rdAU Summit aims to take stock of achievements and challenges encountered in implementing the AU’s Flagship project ‘Silencing the Gun by 2020’ and devise a more robust action plan informed by the Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism of the road map for a peaceful and prosperous Africa.

Women’s International Peace Centre, as a member of the GIMAC steering committee, co-organised the 35th GIMAC meeting held from 3rd to 4th February 2020 in Addis Ababa, under the theme “Recognizing and Amplifying Women and Girls’ Agency to Silence the Guns in Africa”.  

“The role of young women in silencing the guns is to make decisions, raise awareness on the peace processes because we suffer longer from the impact of conflict”- Racheal Juan, Project Assistant, South Sudan.

The Peace Centre’s alumni and partners including a young woman from South Sudan’s informal Young Women Leading for Peace network and from DRC’s Karibu Jeunesse Nouvelle who as panellists made statements and concrete recommendations for the AUC Silencing the Guns roadmap. They called on Member States and the AU to ensure the meaningful inclusion of women, including young women, grassroots women and women war survivors, in nation-building, the design and implementation of peace agreements, responses to violent conflict, and post-conflict governance.

Far Right; Arek Malek and Juan Racheal pose for a photo with other Young Women at the 35th GIMAC.
Source; GIMAC, twitter

Their recommendations were included in the final 35 GIMAC outcome document as follows; “We urge the African Union Heads of State and Governments to: To adopt and adequately finance UNSCR 1325 national and regional action plans and endorse the Continental Result Framework developed by the AU Office of the Special Envoy on WPS towards effective implementation, monitoring, evaluation & reporting of the WPS Agenda as well as the involvement of women and youth in nurturing a culture of peace, tolerance and constructive resolution of disputes”.

“We need to push member states to prioritize the protection of women and end all acts of SGBV  against women”-  Arek Malek Young Women Leading for Peace network, South Sudan 

 

Transitional Justice Advocacy Campaign Planning Meeting

To ensure a fruitful campaign, The Peace Centre and TRAC FM organized a 3-day advocacy campaign planning meeting from 22nd to 24th January in Gulu District. 21 partner organizations represented Acholi, Lango, Teso, West Nile, and a national focus. These included ICTJ, AYINET, Refugee Law Project, Concerned Parents Association (CPA), Lira Women’s Peace Initiatives (WOPI-U), NECPA, Teso Women’s Peace Activists (TEWPA), Uganda Victims Foundations (UVF), Foundation for Justice and Development Initiatives (FJDI), LDML, Ombaci Massacre Victims Association, People’s Voice for Peace (PVP).

During the meeting, we identified and agreed on the focus areas for the campaign including goals and objectives, identified existing and new advocacy issues and opportunities related to transitional justice in northern Uganda mapped out stakeholders that are relevant to the conversation on transitional justice and strategize on a memorization act for northern Uganda.

To set the scene for the meeting, Chris Ongom, Executive Director of Uganda Victim Foundation, shares the Historic Overview of Transitional Justice: 10 Years After the LRA Conflict.

He noted that the missed opportunity was the documentation of the atrocities that the Transitional Justice policy is trying to address. The language used in the Transitional Justice policy also needs to be articulated as CSOs carry out advocacy campaigns in order not to victimize the survivors and victims.

Some of the issues raised after the presentation included; Popularisation of the policy among its beneficiaries and the citizens; there should be a strategy developed by all relevant stakeholders to popularise and publicize the policy. The policy does not address the issue of stateless children born during the wars and the issue of the atrocities has been narrowed down to northern issues yet victims think it should be handled as a national issue. The participants formed groups to discuss what issues (challenges/ problems) they are addressing in regard to Transitional Justice, solutions/ interventions that they and other stakeholders/ partners are using to address those challenges?

Sandra Tumwesigye, The Peace Centre’s Communications and Advocacy Coordinator, guides participants during the session on the planned community dialogues and how they relate to data-driven advocacy.

Sandra highlighted that the campaign will consist of community and radio dialogues and data will be collected during the dialogues to be used in advocacy to promote Transitional Justice at the regional and national levels.  The community dialogues will be issue-specific conversations supported by data collected during the radio talk shows. The participants then had to identify the most ideal criteria/structure on where and how to engage citizens during the community dialogues.

Group sessions underway to cluster challenges related to transitional justice into themes. This session is vital in how TRAC FM develops poll questions and topics that will be discussed during radio talk shows and for later advocacy.

Radio Advocacy Campaign Themes identified included; the Transitional Justice Policy, Access to Justice (Formal Justice system), Traditional Justice Mechanisms, Nation Building and Reconciliation, healing, Reparation, Amnesty and Memorialization.

What opportunities does radio present in the campaign?


Lacambel Ogena speaks about the role of radio during and after the LRA War. Ogena ran a radio program named ‘Come Back Home’ during the turbulent times in northern Uganda. He dedicated his message on peace and reconciliation.

During this session, participants discussed the role of the media in the campaign highlighting that the media should not cause friction within the public to enable the campaign to achieve its objectives but rather use radio as a mediator between the government and the victims of the atrocities. There have been different unfruitful interventions on Transitional Justice in the target communities of the campaign and victims are tired of dialogues. How is this campaign going to be different?  What strategies have been laid to achieve results? Participants emphasized that the poll questions shouldn’t be pointing figures but facilitating more open dialogue and the campaign should educate victims that reparation does not necessarily mean compensation.

Participants discuss the ways to communicate the transitional justice issues in a simple way, identify who should be part of the conversation and the contentious issues under the themes.

Africa CSOs Position Statement on Beijing+25 Review

We, 212 representatives of women’s rights and civil society organizations in all our diversities, drawn from across the 5 sub-regions of Africa and the diaspora, gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 28th–30th October 2019 to review the progress of implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA). 

Recognizing, that 25 years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA), some progress has been recorded towards realizing women’s rights in Africa. Notably, legal reforms to legislate and institutionalize women’s rights in different aspects, for example, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) adopted in 2003 and now ratified by 42 countries. In addition, gender equality protection and the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex is now entrenched in most national constitutions of AU Member States. There is also an increase in the enactment of laws targeted towards protecting women and girls such as labor laws and domestic violence acts, though enforcement of these laws remains a big challenge.

Concerned, that the legislative reforms in Africa has not altered relations of power between women and men. In most countries, the status of women and girls remains largely unequal, with men and boys at all levels of society (both the private and public spaces) continue to enjoy patriarchal privileges while women continue to carry the burden of servicing an unequal society. 

Sadly, the manifestation of multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination against women and girls in all their diversities has still persisted. Despite a number of women’s rights commitments signed by African governments, normalized negative social norms, cultural and religious practices supersede national laws, overtly or covertly. 

Noting, the 25 years review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) is being conducted against the backdrop of an eroding pan-Africanism ideology; Africa’s high dependency on foreign aid to finance development projects; increasing illicit financial flows; extractivism; unprecedented poor land governance, rapid unplanned urbanization, propagation of xenophobia, misogyny and extremism under the guise of nationalism and protectionism; migration crisis; militarization; totalitarianism and centralization of political and economic powers in the ruling class; shrinking civic space, freedom of expression and association; weakening trade union; financialization of social services; armed and unarmed conflicts; increased levels and forms of violence against women, girls, children and minority groups, including technology-related violence and femicides; recurrent disasters and extreme weather and climate crisis. 

Taken aback, with the realization that the review process of the Beijing+25 has in significant ways isolated women’s rights organizations at the national and regional level. Although, women’s rights organizations were ‘invited’ they were not an integral part of the review from planning to reporting, resulting in fewer countries developing alternative (shadow) national CSOs reports.

Advocacy Campaign on Transitional Justice in Northern Uganda

The new year kicks off with an exciting partnership between The Peace Centre and TRAC FM on a 6-month interactive radio campaign to engage citizens and leaders on transitional justice in the greater North of Uganda, including Acholi, Lango, Teso, Karamoja and West Nile.

This campaign follows the recent approval of the June 2019 National Transitional Justice Policy and focuses on a 10-year post-conflict period with the aim of facilitating public discussions and reflection on citizen’s experiences of the conflict, related responses and gaps that still remain in government and civil society efforts to address the impact of the conflict. The campaign also seeks to contribute to making citizens aware of existing government policies that provide the basis for individuals and groups to demand specific actions from local and national leaders.

During the 6 months period, we hope to engage citizens in a debate on the status of peace, conflict and transitional justice in the target areas of this campaign and evaluate the wins, challenges and (missed) opportunities of the 10-year post-conflict period, and also support citizens to hold their local and national leaders accountable for gaps in responses to their key post-conflict concerns. Advocate for implementation of transitional policies, especially for enduring victims. Work towards government recognition, a joint narrative and collective remembrance.

The 10 radio stations we shall partner with include; Radio Pacis (Arua) and Pakwach FM (Pakwach) in West Nile, Mega FM (Gulu) and Mighty Fire FM (Kitgum) in Acholi, Radio Wa (Lira) and Dokolo FM (Dokolo) in Lango, Delta FM (Soroti) and Continental FM (Kumi) in Teso, Akica FM (Moroto) and Voice of Karamoja (Kotido) in Karamoja.

About TRAC FM

TRAC FM is an NGO that enables citizens to take part in meaningful public debate on public policy and governance. TRAC FM reaches out to even the most remote and excluded citizens through the use of basic mobile phones, free SMS and interactive FM radio talk-shows broadcast in local languages. Through this, TRAC FM collects valuable real-time data from citizens throughout Uganda which helps to identify socio-economic and political trends. The collected data assists policymakers and practitioners on the ground to respond in more flexible ways to emerging opportunities and risks.

Transformational Leadership and Wellness

Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. It is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth. Maintaining an optimal level of wellness is absolutely crucial to a high quality of living. Everything we do and every emotion we feel relates to our well-being. In turn, our well-being directly affects our actions and emotions. Therefore, it is important to achieve optimal wellness in order to reduce stress, lower the risk of falling ill and ensure positive interactions. Wellness focuses on different dimensions that are occupational, emotional, spiritual, environmental, financial, physical, social, and intellectual wellness. All of these dimensions are interconnected.

Wellness helps to understand how to communicate with each other and work collaboratively. If employees or students are unhappy or unhealthy, this then again affects the organization’s or the institution’s growth and development. Transformative leadership goes hand-in-hand with wellness. Confronting violence and the survivors of that violence daily is traumatizing. Leaders and activists face injustice, hatred, repression, oppression, sexism, homophobia, violence and discrimination on a daily basis. This takes a toll on their personal life too. Our opponents are fully aware of the deeply personal nature of the work and thus attack where it hurts most, in very personal ways. Hence, for us to fully engage, we need activist energy and passion.

For this reason, the Women’s International Peace Centre conducted a training on transformation leadership and wellness for student leaders on the 19th and 20th November, using its model in engaging with self-care. The model allows participants to understand the gendered demands and expectations on women’s emotional and physical labour, their history with violence and discrimination and how this impacts their leadership development process. Ultimately, the model also allows women to look inwards and proposes interventions for thriving at the personal level, before looking outwards to influence their communities as well-grounded and emotionally intelligent leaders.

The training aimed to educate the student leadership on how to create a supportive work or learning environment, improve productivity and health behaviour, reduce elevated health risks and to promote sustainable growth as well as meeting our social, emotional and physical wellbeing. The student leadership was in the focus of this training because being a leader and student comes with a lot of responsibility. The training aimed to assist leaders in understanding the needs of their bodies, why it is important to free-up small pockets of time for self-care and well-being, work–life balance, physical and emotional safety.

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