The Centre researches and documents the critical yet often-neglected experiences of women in situations of armed conflict globally. Since 1996, we have provided data and information on women, peace and security, highlighting human rights violations against women and women’s human rights defenders.
We acknowledge that women are knowers and not merely sources of data. As such we listen to women’s voices to gain access to and amplify their insights, voices and experiences.
Isis-WICCE research has been conducted in 27 countries including 15 countries in Africa (Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Somaliland, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Southern Sudan) and 12 countries in Asia, Latin America and the Balkans (Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, El Salvador, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri-Lanka, Yugoslavia and Nepal)
The feminist leadership institute is a safe space for women to galvanize their feminism while enhancing their leadership capacities to effectively participate in peace building and conflict resolution. We build the capacity of women as change agents in peace building and post-conflict recovery through leadership training, cross-cultural exchanges, research and ‘giving back to the community’ initiatives.
The institute addresses the deficit of women’s leadership in armed and post-conflict settings, by building a vanguard of women leaders with skills and knowledge to respond to conflict dynamics, sexual and gender-based violence as well as challenging structures that undermine women’s rights.
Since 1984, the institute has reached over 1500 women leaders from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Balkans. Through educative cross-cultural exchanges, training seminars, solidarity visits and think tanks, a multiplicity of feminists, leaders and change agents share knowledge, critique existing policies, leadership and structures to design and apply approaches for social change.
Women leaders have exchanged ideas, learnt from each other, and adopted cross-cultural strategies and solidarity actions to address a wide range of women’s issues while giving back to their communities. Institute alumnae have conducted research to conduct evidence-based advocacy to influence policies, programmes and action in response to women’s identified concerns.
Some of the alumnae’s efforts as part of the institute include hosting war victims’ burials for community healing and closure; conducting medical camps to address sexual and reproductive health issues; trauma counseling; supporting local livelihood enhancement efforts; creating community based organisations to effect local peace building activities, conducting policy advocacy and creating unique tools such as videos, as aids.
The institute works towards building and contributing to a global movement of women peace activists.
Since 1984 institute has reached over 1,800 women leaders from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Balkans , building a vanguard of skilled and knowledgeable women leaders contributing to a global movement of women peace activists. Through educative cross-cultural exchanges, training seminars, solidarity visits and think tanks, a multiplicity of feminists, leaders and change agents share knowledge; conduct research; critique existing policies, leadership and structures.
Through communication and knowledge management, The Centre, formerly Isis-WICCE seeks to inform and influence global discourse on gender, peace and security, serving as a vital resource hub and reference point for policy makers, activists, academia, civil society, ordinary women and men to effect gender-responsive social change.
We prioritise sharing information and communicating directly to decision-makers as well as a diverse set of individuals shaping women’s lives at local, national, regional and international levels.
Through this, The Centre contributes to building an informed wave of world leaders who respect gender diversity and uphold women’s rights.
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On the 26th to 27th
September, Women’s International Peace Centre, in partnership with Community
Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) and Eve Organization for Women
Development convened a two days Think Tank under the theme; “Reclaiming
our Space; Women influencing Multiparty Democracy”for Women in Political
leadership to reflect on strategies of enhancing the influence and strategic
participation of women in multi-party political dispensation and national
development. The Think Tank brought together 15 women
politicians from 5 political parties, Ministry of Gender, and CSOs.
In August 2015, following almost 2years of on-and-off peace negotiations mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), parties to the conflict and other stakeholders signed the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The agreement provided for the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) and for national elections after two and a half years. It also envisaged broad security sector reform, transitional justice, and a constitutional development process. In December 2017, the High Level Revitalisation Forum commenced resulting in the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) in December 2017, the Declaration of Principles in February 2018, the Khartoum Declaration Agreement (KDA) in June 2018 and the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) on the 12 September in Khartoum, Sudan. In all these processes, women played key roles as mobilisers, advocates, mediators and negotiators. Organized under the auspices of the South Sudan Women’s Coalition, women pushed for inclusivity and secured space for the technical team to access the negotiation venues in Addis Ababa and Khartoum. They also influenced the peace agreement to Include a provision to have at least 35% affirmative action /women representation in all committees and for the implementation of the agreement and at all levels of decision making.
Our Key objective was to strengthen debate on women’s participation and influence in post conflict governance and decision making in South Sudan and specifically providing a space for critical dialogue and analysis on women’s engagement and influence in politics and national development for meaningful gender equality and equity and also develop a strategic agenda to strengthen capacity of women in decision making.
Protecting women’s space in politics is especially important in the conflict resolution area. Despite women’s longstanding role in informal dispute resolution, their near absence from peace talks and similar international security processes & mechanisms requires particular attention.
The 10th World Humanitarian Day campaign recognised ‘#WomenHumanitarians’ and
the role they play in fostering peace and security, with women often ‘the first
to respond and the last to leave’ when a crisis hits their communities.
The Group of Gender Equality Leaders
established issues a set of recommendations
on gender parity in education and access to health services, as well as
promoting women’s “full and effective participation.”
Embassy in Manila partners with the Center for Peace Education (CPE) for the “WePeace:
Women in Peacekeeping project, an initiative that provides a
gender-responsive, community-based, training that will build the capacity of
women peacekeepers in their local communities.
Since the introduction of multi-party
politics in 1988, Uganda has not experienced peaceful, violent free democratic
electoral processes. Uganda’s elections continue to be
characterised by violence, ballot stuffing, altering of results and in the end
a myriad of election petitions. The political
environment in the build-up to, during and after elections has become increasingly
charged with a number of reports of harassment, intimidation, acts of
corruption, human rights abuses perpetrated by different political nemesis over
the years. While the government has enacted laws on guiding the electoral processes
such as the Presidential Elections Act and the Parliamentary Elections Act,
2005 gaps were identified by the Supreme Court in its ruling on petitions made
it to court in 2006 and 2016 with the greatest challenge in the conduction of
democratic elections being the conflicts that emerge before, during and especially after elections.
With funding from
Democracy Governance Facility (DGF), The Centre is implementing a project ‘Promoting
Women’s Effective Participation in Peaceful Electoral Processes in Uganda’aimed at improving women’s
engagement and influence on electoral processes. In its initial stages, the project will focus on broader interventions
covering pre-election, election and post-election processes and shall be
implemented in the districts of Arua,
Kapelebyong and Kassanda respectively. The project builds on the success
of The Centres’ implementation of the Women’s Situation Room composed of the
youth peer-to-peer peace process and women advocates for peace programmes
implemented in the build-up to, during and in the after-math of Uganda’s 2016
general elections. In addition, the project also contributes to DGF’s higher-level outcome
proportion of population satisfied with the way democracy works in Uganda and
DGF higher-level indicator ‘proportion of population who believe decision
making is inclusive and responsive’.
The future of women leaders in
Afghanistan; It is
only when the institutional structures change in Afghanistan, when there are
structural changes on a macro and micro level, can the status of women leaders
shift from symbols to real people.
The Open Letter to the Group of Friends of 1325 calls on governments to accelerate commitments on Women, Peace and Security as part of their work on sustainable development, including on gender equality and peaceful and inclusive societies.
Writing for the Global Observatory,
Jamie Hagen has considered the future of LGBTQ human rights in the context of the Women, Peace
and Security agenda.
Women are working to make inroads as mediators and advocates
in a number of conflicts elsewhere despite the July meeting between US President Donald Trump and
Pakistani leaders excluding women and Trump’s signing of the US Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017.
A book by Patricia Wall, Our women on the ground, delves into the
stories of 19 Arab and Middle Eastern female journalists.
The London School of Economics’ Middle East Centre releases a
short video on the nexus between displacement and the Women,
Peace and Security agenda.
The United Nations–African Union peacekeeping mission in
Sudan’s Darfur region—launches a public awareness campaign on the ‘elimination of sexual
violence in conflict’.
Women leaders in Kenya demand for 50 per cent of all State
and public office jobs following the 50:50
Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Office to
the African Union (UNOAU) call for nominations of African women who have exceptionally advanced the women,
peace and security agenda in Africa. The women will be featured in an upcoming commemorative
book set to be launched in year 2020.
deputy chief issues an impassioned plea on 21st July for Afghans to
reconcile with the past and put “women at the centre” of all
efforts to forge a durable peace, and a truly inclusive political process where
women’s voices are truly heard.
The role of
young women as advocates of peace and security in Palestine is being
strengthened through implementation of the Interpeace and Freedom Theatre project through creativity and art.
45 years into our journey of amplifying women’s voice and power, we are pleased to share that Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE) is NOW to Women’s International Peace Centre (The Centre).
Isis-WICCE –named after the Egyptian goddess of wisdom and justice- started out in 1974 as a global women’s resource centre documenting and disseminating women’s ideas, concerns and experiences with the aim of ending gender inequality. This organically resulted into physical cross-cultural exchanges, bringing together women human rights defenders from diverse countries to discuss topical gender equality issues, share experiences and strategies to dismantle patriarchy and advance women’s empowerment across the globe.
With the move to Uganda in 1994, the organisation carved out its niche with a focus on women, peace and security. The international cross-cultural exchange morphed into the feminist leadership institute on peace building and human security; the resource centre focused on conducting research and generating feminist knowledge on women’s experiences and specific needs in conflict and post-conflict which also formed the evidence base for women’s advocacy for peace and gender-responsive post-conflict recovery in 27 countries.
Isis-WICCE also focused on healing women war survivors – addressing their psychological, physical and gynaecological needs – and mentoring women leaders and women’s groups to continue their peace building and conflict transformation efforts. With the move to a more holistic approach (of research, advocacy, healing, skills building and mentorship for peace), it has become increasingly recognized that the organisation is no longer solely a platform for women’s international cross-cultural exchange. As such, we deemed it necessary to adopt a name that reflects our core focus on igniting women’s leadership, amplifying their voices and deepening their activism in recreating peace.
The new name Women’s International Peace Centre reflects our commitment to create an incubator for women seeking to re-create peace and live in peace across the globe. The change in name is also timely as the name Isis has been adopted by other actors with views and actions antithetical to ours.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
has experienced a series of conflicts since gaining independence in the 1960s with
an impact on the governance and livelihoods of the citizens and spill-over to
the neighbouring countries of the Great Lakes Region. A number of dialogues
have been initiated through the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in
the Great Lakes Region; the Peace and Security Cooperation Framework for DRC
and others. The DRC has launched its second-generation NAP and has been upfront
in providing relevant frameworks to promote the women, peace and security
agenda. DRC is also emerging from an electoral process held on 30th December
2018 that has brought in new leadership at different levels. Women have played
a significant role in all these peacebuilding and governance processes.
In this regard, The Centre has in
partnership with Karibu Jeunesse Nouvelle Association des Femmes Des Medias and
the Ministry of Gender,Family and Children conducted a five-day leadership
institute from 20th to 26th June, bringing together 20
women leaders from political parties and the civil society on the topic “Women’s
Political Participation for Peace and Security”. The training aimed to strengthen the capacity
of women leaders to engage in and influence post-conflict decision-making and
governance as well as to demand accountability from policymakers towards realising
the meaningful inclusion of women in governance and decision-making in
Democratic Republic of Congo -.
Participants looked at the background
and context of Women, peace and security Participants looked at Transformative Leadership, Feminist Leadership,
Communication in Leadership, training on UNSCR 1325, and coaching in Women’s
Participation in leadership.
Elections are an important mechanism in democratic and
peace processes as they provide citizens with an opportunity to choose freely
their political leaders and allocate power peacefully. However, underlying
tensions in a society and high-stake competition can also result in violent and
fraudulous elections. Based on its mandate in peacebuilding, Women’s
International Peace Centre with support from Kingdom of Belgium are
implementing a 2yr project “Promoting Peaceful Electoral Processes in
Uganda through Constructive Engagements” in the districts of Kampala,
Lira, Soroti, Luweero and Rukungiri.
Inception meetings were held to introduce the Districts to the project. The project aims to reduce violence and conflict in the electoral processes by;
Creating a platform for research
and knowledge generation and sharing on election-related conflict in
Developing informed peace
training content, programmes and tools to strengthen peace building for
capacities for coordination and information systems management for
monitoring and tracking programme delivery.
The Centre will conduct research
on Election Violence in Arua, Soroti, Rukungiri and Kampala District, design
training materials, train
50 youth peer educators and 50 women peace advocates in trainers, hold Youth
dialogues & debates establishing of youth peace committees to mitigate
conflict during the electoral processes.
and Conflict directly derails
education, yet it is education that is a catalysis towards renascence of
Africa. The number and
intensity of violent conflicts has increased in the past decade and Africa has
not been an exception. In 2017 Africa experienced 18 state-based conflicts, a
decrease from 21 in 2016, though the continent experienced a significant
increase in non-state conflict; and the denominator is that girls and women
bear the greatest human casualties. Based
on the high population of girls and women affected by these conflicts, it is
important that conversations majoring on education are focused towards
actualization of education right during and post conflict periods. It is known
that existing power dynamics and inequalities are amplified during conflicts,
educational gains lost, social fabric torn, and thus jeopardizing the
achievements of the continent’s Agenda 2063.
There is need to deliberate,
understand and exchange ideas on policies, legislation, plans, financing and
monitoring reforms within the education continuum while being cognizant of
conflict situations in Africa. It is
within this context that The Centre joined the Government of Kenya, the
Canadian Government in collaboration with the Office of Special envoy of
chairperson for African Union Commission of Women Peace & Security, and the
Forum for African Women Educationalist (FAWE) in a one day conference focusing
on girls and women’s access to education in conflict and post conflict
situations in Africa and review existing implementation mechanisms by
governments, CSOs and education stakeholders to harmonize execution, strengthen
synergy and alignment to regional, continental and global educational
The conference recommendations will
contribute to the outcome document to be presented as African position on girls
and women education in conflict during the Women Deliver conference in Canada
in June 2019. The outcome of these deliberations will lead to formulation of
policies for the continental position paper on girls and women education in
conflict to be tabled at the African Union next Ordinary Session for
endorsement and also inform the framework that the Office of African Union
Special Envoy Women Peace & Security is currently adapting towards advocacy
on education for girls and women in conflict, guide various government
implementation strategies in conflict education as well as inform FAWE and other
CSOs working education in conflict in Africa.
The #EducationInConflict conversation was held at Windsor Golf
and Country Hotel in Nairobi Kenya, on 22nd May 2019 bringing representation
from Government of Kenya, Government of Canada, African Union, all 33 countries where FAWE has presence,
government representation from countries who are / have been faced directly
/indirectly by conflict, within the past
decade, civil society under GIMAC, the academia and experts in education in
On 16th May 2018, the Peace and Security Council
of the African Union Commission adopted the Continental Results Framework (CRF)
that aims to accelerate delivery on commitments made over years by Member
States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and other stakeholders on Women,
Peace and Security Agenda. And 18yrs after the adoption of UN Security Council
Resolution 1325 that anchored the
important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, and
despite the existence of numerous instruments at the Global, Continental and
National Levels, women’s role and leadership in peace and security processes on
the African continent remains marginal.
Efforts to ensure that the voices of women are heard and
taken into consideration in conflict prevention and peacebuilding includes the
establishment of Regional Women, Peace and Security Forums in various parts of
Africa. Recent efforts to strengthen the leadership of women in Africa include
the creation of a Network of African Women Mediators (FemWise) and the establishment of an African Women Leaders
Network (AWLN), as vehicles for women leaders in various areas to contribute to
the transformation of Africa, in line with Africa Agenda 2063.
Building on these initiatives, the Office of the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) convened a consultative meeting of Regional Women Peace Forums in Africa, Regional Economic Communities(RECs), Centres of Excellence on Women, Peace and Security and other Networks, in partnership with the Women’s International Peace Centre with the aim to establish an informal platform that provides space to share experiences and explore ways to speak with a united voice, advocating for women leadership in peace processes and delivery on commitments across the continent, using the Continental Results Framework and other adopted regional instruments. The meeting also provided women of Africa with an opportunity to join hands and examine profoundly their role in silencing the guns, as a path to bring lasting peace to the continent. The year 2020 marks also the 20th anniversary of UNSCR1325 that constitutes the bedrock of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. The Forum provided an opportunity to review the implementation of UNSCR1325 in the region and identify priority areas towards 1325 at 20 years.
As one of the leading actors on
Women, Peace and Security, Women’s International Peace Centre prioritises
strengthening and re-igniting women’s leadership potential to build peace
because women and girls bear the burden of armed conflict and war. The periods
of transition from conflict to peace offer opportunities for women to
participate in the rebuilding and reshaping of societies. However, to enable
women maintain the momentum required in the different spaces of engagement,
they require specialized skills and a support network. The 2019 5-day WIPC Leadership Institute
focused on 20 vibrant women leaders from South Sudan, Burundi and Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC) including refugee women leaders living in Uganda. These
countries assented to the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and have
developed National Action Plans for its implementation.
The training focused on three modules; Feminism, Peace and Security, understanding peace building processes and personal wellness and selfcare.
1. Feminism, Peace and Security facilitated by Dr. Tabitha Mulyampiti focused on the gender and feminist analysis of conflict and peace building and introduced feminist conflict analysis tools that enabled the participants to apply feminist principles to particular conflict situations at personal, community and government levels. Participants were introduced to ‘gender’ as an integral concept that shapes the understanding of peace/war making connections between gender, conflict, peace and security. Participants reflected on their experiences of being gendered as women and how this has shaped their experiences of ‘peace’/safety/security.
2. Understanding Peace Building Processes; This module was facilitated by Helen Kezie-Nwoha who introduced participants to informal peace processes, advocacy providing participants with skills to engage and influence peace processes at national, regional, and global level.
3. Personal Wellness and
Leadership in contexts of conflict
and peace negotiation processes is often challenging and can result to burnout
and fatigue. During the training, It was important that these vibrant women
understand that their passion for peacebuilding, Leadership and activism should
not be at the expense of their personal health and fun. Sessions of Wellness
and Self Care were practiced throughout the training. Our wellness facilitator
Solome Nakaweesi provided Participants with simple tools they can use for their
own self-care such as wellness journaling. A beautiful and strong web of
sisterhood was weaved during the 5 days
After the 5 days training, participants developed action plans that they would implement in their home countries.Our role is to ensure that women are at the center and the provisions of the agreement and the mandated structures work towards the desired peace in South Sudan, DRC, Burundi and Uganda
The Centre with support from African Women’s Development Fund
(AWDF) are implementing a 2yr project on
“Women Leading Change In Post
Conflict Governance” in South
Sudan focused on supporting advocacy for the implementation of the National
Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 for the inclusion of a significant number of women in
implementation of the peace agreement and in mediation processes. The project
also seeks to enable national monitoring and reporting on 1325 implementation
progress against the AU Continental Results Framework in an effort to advance
the women, peace and security agenda. Our mission to Juba, South Sudan on 15th
April introduced the project to the Ministry of Gender and targeted women’s
rights organisations working on UNSCR 1325 as well as gather key information on
the current status of women’s participation in post-conflict governance and
1325 NAP implementation.
reforms are intended to connect the numeric and the substantive representation
of women. Gender-responsive governance ensures that institutions respond more
effectively to women’s needs and priorities; enhance women’s wellbeing,
livelihoods and citizen-ship rights; and build government institutions that
require and produce more participation by women, and not only by women elites,
but also by grassroots women.
of young people around the world, the onset of adolescence brings not only
changes to their bodies but also new vulnerabilities to human rights abuses,
particularly in the arenas of sexuality, marriage and childbearing.
girls are coerced into unwanted sex or marriage, putting them at risk of
unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
including HIV, and dangerous childbirth. Yet too many
adolescents face barriers to reproductive health information and care. Even
those able to find accurate information about their health and rights may be
unable to access the services needed to protect their health.
In partnership with Akwenyutu People Living with HIV&AIDS (APHAS), we conducted a 2-day Girls Leadership camp reaching out to 128 girls helping them to recognize and avert risks and improve their reproductive health. The girls were trained in understanding their bodies, HIV&AIDS, stigma & discrimination, positive living, knowing/understanding their menstrual cycle, menstrual hygiene and making Re-usable sanitary pads.
School-based sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education is one of the most important and widespread ways to help adolescents to recognize and avert risks and improve their reproductive health. Schools are the primary institutions able to reach a majority of adolescents, while also having an impact at the community level. They have the infrastructure, the tools and the staff trained to teach. In many developing countries teachers assume an important role in the community, while also serving as role models to many adolescents. By providing reproductive health programmes early, schools encourage the formation of healthy sexual attitudes and practices.
“I have been appointed to several leadership positions within the Government of South Sudan in part because of the support and work of Isis-WICCE.”
Prof. Amina Mama(Nigeria/UK)
“In my own teaching on women’s movements these cases are very useful. We urgently need more of this kind of work- I strongly recommend this report and its collaborative strategy as a very good model for other national studies on women’s political participation.”
“They wondered how nine men could sleep with me and I could still talk. The greatest part of the project was enabling us to tell and write our stories. This has been very energising. We have regained our self-esteem and more women in the community want to be open about their HIV status so they can join us to get these benefits. We are no longer reviled by the community and I am now a Local Councillor.”
Bernice T Dahn(Liberia)
“The manual on Management of Medical and Psychological Effects of War Trauma is a very useful reference tool for continued response to women survivors issues. Isis-WICCE brought in a team of experts that trained our own team. This was a clear case of south-south cooperation. [The Ministry of Gender] used the research findings to fundraise for our GBV programmes.”
Josee KusinzaDemocratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
“I went out like a bushfire to respond to the challenges women faced in Eastern Congo. The institute challenged me to see things in a different way and to take action. As a result, I was one of the initiators of COCAFEM (a network of womens associations in the Great Lakes) to respond to the regional challenges.”
Pooja Bhatarai (Nepal)
“I found myself. The Isis-WICCE-WOREC feminist institute
helped me embark on the journey of transformation. It equipped me with
practical skills to document cases of different forms of violence
against women and analyse them with a feminist lens.”