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.
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 belief that anyone labelled as a second-class citizen must be protected without labelling.
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.
Through this edition of Women’s World, we contribute to the body of feminist knowledge on the experiences and agency of women affected by forced displacement as a result of conflict, political turmoil or insecurity in Africa. This focus aligns with the African Union’s theme for the year 2019, as the Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa: Towards a Durable Solution to Forced Displacement. As Africa seeks to address the challenges associated with a growing number of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons, it is even more critical that we ensure women and girls, and their priorities, are at the centre of any solutions. In the absence of truly gender-responsive solutions (backed by political will and accountability), efforts, partnerships and structures tackling forced displacement will not achieve the desired results.
As we embark on a transformational journey in our new Strategic Plan 2019-2022, The Centre seeks to ensure that women not only powerfully contribute to peace building processes and results, but also transform these spaces to be more gender inclusive and gender responsive.
This report looks back into the year and describes what we have accomplished with our Partners. We enhanced women’s expertise to influence and transform peace processes, made deliberate attempts to claim spaces to ensure women influence and participate in peace processes at all levels, made information available for women to influence decision-making in peace processes and continued to strengthen the holistic wellbeing of women in post-conflict settings.
Authors; Helen Kezie-Nwoha and Juliet Were
The ‘Women and Peacebuilding in Africa’ project looks at the cost of women’s exclusion and the possibilities for their inclusion in peace talks, peacebuilding, and politics in Somalia, Algeria, northern Nigeria, South Sudan, and Sudan. The project also examines the struggle for women’s rights legal reform and political representation as one important arena for stemming the tide of extremism related to violence in Africa.
The three themes that make up the project are:
- Inclusion and exclusion in postconflict governance
- Women activists’ informal peacebuilding strategies
- Women’s legal rights as a site of contestation
The ‘Women and Peacebuilding in Africa’ project is a consortium between Center for Research on Gender and Women at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) and Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE). The project is funded by the Carnegie Foundation and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
This edition focuses on the women, peace and security issues discussed during the institute, as informed by the UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1325 and 2250, Sustainable Development Goals (5, 16) and related national frameworks (including national action plans). It takes a closer look at the state of conflict and post-conflict in the 5 countries, progress in implementing UNSCR 1325 which centres women’s concerns as well as women’s responses to peace and security gaps and challenges.
The University of Wisconsin – Madison in partnership with African researchers, Isis Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE) and Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) conducted a research project that looks at the cost of women’s exclusion and the possibilities for their inclusion in peace processes, peacebuilding, and politics in countries affected by war in Africa. The research project also examined the struggle for women’s rights, legal reform and political representation as one important arena for stemming the tide of extremism related to violence in Africa.
In 2017, Isis-WICCE partnered with National Union of Women with Disabilities Uganda (NUWODU) and Gulu Women with Disabilities Union (GUWODU) to implement a 1yr project on “Increasing Access to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights for Women with Disabilities” with funding from Amplify Change. The project sought to strengthen the capacity of Women with Disabilities (WwDs) to advocate for improved SRH services and improve competencies of service providers to ensure quality services for WwDs in Gulu district.
At the beginning of the year, we set out to strengthen our existing partnerships and make new connections to ensure women live in peace and recreate peace across Africa and in Asia. We affirmed our desire to make meaningful progress on behalf of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict settings in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the sustainable development agenda and African Union’s agenda 2063. This year’s annual report offers an the opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months including the strides made, challenges faced and our collective impact on women and girls in conflict and post-conflict settings.
The report presents highlights of Isis-WICCE’s Seventh annual Peace Exposition held in Amuria district, Eastern Uganda under the theme “Families United Against Gender Based Violence and HIV/AIDS”. The 7th peace exposition brought community members, local government and civil society the opportunity to discuss HIV/AIDS and its links to gender-based violence while proposing solutions and committing to action for a peaceful Amuria.
This documentation provides an opportunity to illuminate covert and overt voices and actions of women political actors that most times get silenced in patriarchal political settings. Two cases of women political leaders are selected from Uganda and Zimbabwe respectively, with a specific intent of learning from their historical experiences particularly of those who participated in liberation struggles of the two countries as well as a new breed of women leaders that emerged in post-conflict political leadership thereof.
This was a remarkable year, Isis-WICCE adapted to a changing landscape, including new trends in conflict, militarism and fundamentalism that call for a new type of leadership by women. The organisation has faced new challenges and worked to overcome them, closing the year stronger and better prepared for the future. In 2016 we continued to strengthen existing partnerships and make new connections to ensure women live in peace and recreate peace across Africa and in Asia.
UN Women in partnership with Isis-WICCE held consultations with girls and women refugees to feed into the review report. This report provides details of consultations held with girls and women refugees in Adjumani as a contribution to the review of the Uganda National Action Plan on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR1325)
In 2015 Isis-WICCE partnered with Tilburg University, Mbarara University and Makerere University to conduct research with the aim of identifying the impact of social protection schemes, such as cash transfers on economic resilience in order to influence policy. The research is focused on populations with high levels of income fragility and trauma, seeking to understand the impact of trauma on their use of cash transfers. Women are a specific focus of this study due to their particular economic and mental health vulnerabilities. This study targeted districts affected by the 20-year war between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan government in Northern Uganda including Kitgum, Lira, Soroti and Katakwi.
2015 was a significant year as the world adopted the 2015 development agenda and reviewed 15 years of implementing UNSCR 1325. Isis-WICCE played a significant role in the review process as our Executive Director was appointed to the 17-member advisory group on the global study on UNSCR1325. 2015 was also a year of internal transition as Isis-WICCE’s Executive Director of 20 years made the decision to move on. This was very significant as it preceded Isis-WICCE’s celebration of 20 years in Africa.
Ruth Ojiambo Ochieng’s leadership was celebrated not only by Isis-WICCE but also with the Ford Foundation honouring her work and contribution to the global women’s peace movement. After 20 years and in preparation for new leadership it was instructive to review Isis-WICCE’s systems and structures to ensure that the organization adapts easily to changes in leadership. 2015 saw shifts in responsibilities within the organization and the rethinking of Isis-WICCE’s direction. The strategic plan was reviewed considering the changing world order and new global trends in conflict and militarization.
Since 1996, Isis-WICCE had demonstrated an impressive alternative to the world’s limited responses to situations of armed conflict particularly in addressing women’s dire needs. We have had extensive experience and expertise working with women organizations, strategic partners and survivors of armed and post conflict, globally.
This paper therefore, summarizes Isis-WICCE’s contribution to the achievement of the key aspects of the Beijing Platform for Action. Working in post conflict settings has been a challenging and fulfilling experience too. It also provides recommendations that will contribute to the post 2015 sustainable development goals
This report provides a snapshot Think Tank that was held in Harare as a follow up to the previous Think Tanks that were held in Kampala. It gives an overview of the next steps as far as women and leadership in post conflict settings in Africa.
The report presents the highlights
of Isis-WICCE’s annual peace exposition that was held in 2010 to celebrate 10
years of the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution. The exposition
provided time and an effective platform for grassroots women’s organizations
working in the area of peace and security in Uganda to share successful
strategies and to review the extent to which government has implemented the
resolution and to call upon it to implement the National Action Plan for the
implementation of UNSCR 1325 and Goma Declaration.
It highlighted how various grassroots women’s activists and organizations have been able to interpret this international framework into one they are able to utilize in their communities. It also presented a valuable opportunity to share information, best practices, and successful strategies, and highlight the challenges and gaps that will inform the way forward in the implementation of the resolution as well as the National Action Plan.