The Peace Centre with the support of Womankind Worldwide and Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS) joined 200 organizations in Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nigeria, Palestine, Somalia, Uganda 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.