Grassroots Women Leaders Building Peace

The Women’s was a month full of exciting events with lots to learn from. This year’s 62nd session of the Commission on Status of Women (CSW) focused on the empowerment of women and girls in rural areas from 12th to 23rd of March. Our team had the chance to be part of the gathering in New York City, engaging in discussions to exchange knowledge and also host its own side event on Grassroots Women Leaders Building Peacebuilding.

In partnership with Cordaid Global Fund for Women, and Women’s Major Group we discussed Women’s Peace Building Initiatives; Experiences, Challenges and Opportunities in rural affected settings. Women and girls in rural areas are largely the primary survivors of armed conflict but their voices and representation are often excluded from formal peace processes or decision-making on peace and security.


Our all women panel; Carine Kaneza MFFPS, Emilie Nsimire Cordaid Goma DRC, Avia Scovia STEWARDWOMEN South Sudan, shared their experiences as women peace activists in Burundi, South Sudan and DRC with an emphasis on the inclusion of young women.

It is important for development actors to know that women and girls in rural areas have the capacity to articulate what they want. Existing gender inequalities, the absence of women at peace tables, and the nature of peace talks as negotiations between warring parties and formally educated technocrats often translate into the under representation of rural women during transitional and post-conflict decision making processes. This then manifests itself in the shortage of rural women’s voices and the absence of specific policies and actions addressing the needs and specific status of rural women affected by conflict.

Evaluation of Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange Strategic Plan (2013-2017)

Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange Strategic Plan, 2013 to 2017, was dedicated to visions and goals intended to transform the organisation into a powerful entity that works and co-creates with strategic partners in conflict and post-conflict environments in different parts of the world. The five-year plan emerged from an evaluation of the organisation in 2013; an external evaluation was commissioned in 2017. The specific objectives were to assess the contextual relevance of the Strategic Plan and its appropriateness to the needs of beneficiaries; the coherence of interventions in relation to the goals and results set therein; effectiveness, in terms achieving the intended results; efficiency in relation to use of available resources; impact with regard to benefits that have accrued, and the sustainability of the interventions.

31st Gender Is My Agenda Campaign

Our year begun with a number of exciting events and meetings from the 10th African Union Gender Pre-Summit (AU-GPS) to African Young Women and Girls Advocacy Training at the 31st GIMAC – AU Pre-Summit Meetings, and the Gender Is My Agenda Campaign.

The 31st Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) Consultative Meeting on Mainstreaming Gender Equality in the African Union and Member States took place on the 20th-21st January, 2018 at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia under the theme: “Corruption and Governance: Impact and Way out for Women, Children and Youth”. The theme was aligned with the African Union (AU) dedication of the year 2018 as the year for anti-corruption under the theme: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”.

African Young Women and Girls Advocacy Training was held under the theme: A Corrupt Free African: Unleashing potentials and Protecting Rights of Africa’s Young People Especially Girls and Young Women. The training aimed to build the capacity of youth to actively engage African leaders in designing solutions to the issue of corruption as well as prepare them to be frontiers of Africa Development and about 35 youth were trained. Our Executive Director, Helen Kezie-Nwoha facilitated the session on advocacy and lobbying and shared practical experience of how Isis-WICCE conducts advocacy and lobbying at the African Union using the GIMAC platform.

The 31st GIMAC brought together over 150 delegates from over 30 countries, including representatives of Diplomatic Missions, African Union and United Nations officials, leading Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on Gender in Africa and other interested groups in advancing women’s rights in Africa. Drawing from the two-day discussions, participants outlined key recommendations. The meeting identified strategies and interventions that have continental implications in order to forestall the continued impact of corruption in governance, which hinder development, weaken the fabrics of sanity in the communities, promote violence and encourages avoidable negative consequences or marginalization and ethnocentrism.

Africa in Review 2016: Uganda Takes in Refugees

2016 was an eventful year for Africa and for the world, with important implications for U.S.-Africa relations. From continuing democratic consolidation and deepening trade ties in many countries to the shocking electoral defeat and standoff in the Gambia, to South Sudan’s escalating crisis, to the debates over the future of the ICC in Africa, the year was marked by progress, setbacks, and change.

The Wilson Center Africa Program asked experts, scholars, and policymakers to weigh in on the most important and impactful events on the continent in 2016. They responded with this collection of brief and insightful essays touching on issues of governance and democracy, conflict and security, trade, and the role of international partnerships across the African continent.

Isis-WICCE is a member of the Wilson Center Africa Program’s Southern Voices Network and the Executive Director, Helen Kezie-Nwoha contributed a piece on addressing the global challenge of migration and the specific case of Uganda taking in refugees.

DRC: Public Letter from Women on the Political Accord

Some 50 women’s organizations from the DRC, Africa and the rest of the world call on President Kabila and other political actors to swiftly implement the 31 December agreement. (Full list of signatories and recipients below) 

Dear All Parties to the 31st December Political Accord,

We, the undersigned women of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa and across the world, welcome the Global and Inclusive Political Accord of the Centre Interdiocésain de Kinshasa, reached on the 31st of December 2016. We congratulate each of you as signatories for choosing peace over conflict. This agreement represents an important step towards ensuring a peaceful future for DRC, though to do so, it is vital that parties work together to translate the agreement into tangible progress on the ground.

In a previous letter addressed to President Kabila on December 15th 2016, we stressed two urgent demands: first, that President Kabila state publicly he will not run for a third term as Head of State; and second, that he not support any amendments to the Constitution. We are very pleased to see that that these two asks have been met and are specifically mentioned in the agreement of the 31st December.

We now ask for all parties to the agreement to ensure two things:

1) To fully implement the Accord, including by swiftly finalising an electoral schedule to ensure that elections are held before the end of 2017.

2) To ensure that civil society, in particular women, have a significant role in the follow-up mechanism for the peace agreement (‘Conseil national pour le suivi de l’accord.’)

We call upon our sisters and brothers across Africa and the international community to support your leadership and efforts towards a successful implementation of the agreement. We warmly welcome the response to the agreement by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and the United Nations Security Council Presidential Statement. However we believe it is ultimately Congolese leaders who can prioritize peace and bring stability to the nation.

We express our gratitude to CENCO for their role in this agreement being reached, and urge CENCO to continue working with all sides to ensure the accords’ full implementation.

As signatories to the political Accord, the world is watching you. We are watching you and remind you that the security of the Democratic Republic of Congo is in your hands. We urge you to use the political gains that you have secured with the global inclusive accord to achieve the first ever peaceful and democratic transition of power in the history of the DRC, and to pave the way for lasting peace.

Please accept the assurances of our highest consideration.

Signed:

Women’s Organisations from the Democratic Republic of Congo:

  1.       Action des Femmes pour le Développement (AFD)
  2.       Action pour la Paix et la Protection de l’Enfant (APPE)
  3.       Action pour la Protection des Droits Humains et de Développement Communautaire (APDHUD)
  4.       Agir pour la Reconstruction de notre espace et la convivialité (AGIREC)
  5.       Association pour le Développement des Initiatives Paysannes (ASSODIP)
  6.       Association de défense des Droits de la Femme (ADDF)
  7.       Association des Femmes Juristes Congolaises Représentation du Maniema (AFEJUCO/MMA)
  8.       Centre de Promotion Socio- Sanitaire (CEPROSSAN ASBL)
  9.       Centre d’Observation des Droits de l’homme et d’Assistance Sociale
  10.   Cercle internationale Pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme, la paix et l’Environnement (CIDDHOPE)
  11.   Convention Pour le Respect des Droits de l’Homme (CRDH)
  12.   Femmes Agissons pour la Paix (FAP)
  13.   Femmes Engagées pour la Promotion de la Santé Intégrale (FEPSI
  14.   Femmes Juristes pour la défense des Droits de la Femme (FJDF)
  15.   Femmes Solidaires pour la Paix et le Développement (FSPD)
  16.   Great Lakes Human Right Program (GLHRP)
  17.   Groupe d’Associations de Défense des Droits de l’Homme et de Paix (GADHOP)
  18.   Mama Tupendane (MTP)
  19.   Mama Tushirikiane (MATU)
  20.   Maniema Libertés (MALI)
  21.   Maniema Yuende Mbele (MTM)
  22.   Mini Réseau de Plaidoyer de Protection/Butembo
  23.   Observatoire de la Dépense Publique (ODEP)
  24.   Pax Christi Butembo
  25.   Réseau des Para-juristes du Maniema (REPAJUMA)
  26.   Solidarité des Associations Féminines pour les Droits de Femmes et de l’Enfant (SAFDF)
  27.   UCOOFADE
  28.   Union des Femmes pour le Développement (UFD)
  29.   Wanama Tusimame

International Organisations :

  1.   Akina Mama wa Afrika, Uganda
  2.   Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI), Uganda
  3.   Fahamu, Kenya
  4.   Gender Empowerment for Sudan Organization (GESO), South Sudan
  5.   Inspiring Africa, Zimbabwe
  6.   Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange (ISIS-WICCE), Uganda
  7.   Mouvement des Femmes Filles pour la Paix et la Sécurité au Burundi (MFFPS), Canada
  8.   Never Again Coalition, United States of America
  9.   People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), South Africa
  10.   People’s Empowerment Foundation (PEF), Thailand
  11.   Regional Associates for Community Initiatives (RACI), Uganda
  12.   Rural Women and Youth Fund, Uganda
  13.   South Sudan Women’s Empowerment Network (SSWEN), South Sudan
  14. Strategic Initiative for women in the Horn of Africa Network (SIHA Network), Horn of Africa region
  15.   Swaziland Rural Women’s Assembly, Swaziland
  16.   Uganda Women Writers’ Association (FEMRITE), Uganda
  17.   Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), United Kingdom of Great Britain
  18.   Women and Girls for Peace and Security in Burundi, United States of America

_________________

Letter addressed to:

H.E. Joseph Kabila

President of the Democratic Republic of Congo

All parties to the Political Accord of the 31st December 2016:

Majorité présidentielle

Opposition républicaine

Opposition politique

Rassemblement des forces politiques et sociales

Front pour le Respect de la Constitution

Parti travailliste

Société civile

CC :

African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security;

Conférence Nationale Episcopale du Congo

European Union Managing Director for Africa

Southern Africa Development Community Executive Secretary

Head of United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO)

International Conference of the Great Lakes Region Executive Secretary representative

International Organization of the Francophonie Special Envoy

United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region

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