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.
At the parallel event we focused on the actions necessary for transformative change in the next 25 years, and as a Catalytic Member of the Generation Equality Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action Compact, we discussed this in the context of a two hour moderated conversation in plenary with speakers making brief
submissions. The discussions included the role of academia in feminist peace building and creating the next
generation of transformational leaders which was led by Dr Angelina Mattijo Bazugbo, from the National Transformational Leadership Institute, University of Juba, South Sudan.
It also included conversation on the game changers necessary for real progress towards feminist peace from
the perspective of young women, refugee women and girls who were represented by, Eunice Pikiyiko, Crown the Woman South Sudan and Elizabeth from Nyumanzi Refugee Settlement respectively. Women peace mediators views were also shared by Aimee Imani Matabaro, Initiative de Lutte contre la Vulnerabilite et de promotion de la Personne humaine (ILVP).
The concrete actions necessary for us to see the transformative change associated with our vision of feminist peace over the next 25 years were discussed as;
The need for continued conversation and advocating for Safe spaces/Plat forms and Mechanisms to protect women peace builders from insecurity, threat of intimidation, revenge/retaliation from combatant behaviors in political institutions; and exhaustion as a result of excessive work of lobbying and advocacy. The need to provide resources to women and organizations to be able to translate WPS agenda and other policies into practice, without leaving out men and boys who remain responsible for preserving the gendered norms in the society.
The conversation in Burundi discussed the need to strengthen the potential influence of women, strengthen the women’s movement, work on social norms, practices and legal systems that block women in peace and security processes, and define a new approach that involves influencing key players at several levels. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, it would be better first of all to understand that the various conflicts are due to the natural resources of the country. Women therefore need to be protected especially during the post-conflict period in their direct involvement as actors in all peace processes by granting them substantial means to actualize the solutions to their problems.
The executive director, Helen Kezie closed the conversation by linking to regional and global opportunities for monitoring, accountability and collective action. She asked the participants to think about ways in which we can sustain activism at the individual level and hold state and non-state actors accountable to holding peace. She stressed that we need to mentor young people so that when we leave we have built a critical mass.
The Peace Centre, as a member of the GIMAC Steering Committee co-hosted the 37th Pre-Summit CSOs Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union and Member States from 31 January to 2nd February 2021. This included training of young women on advocacy at the African Union and facilitating the Peace and Security panel where the Peace Centre’s partner Centre for Inclusive Governance Peace and Justice (CIGPJ) highlighted the issue of non-implementation of the 35% quota for women’s leadership in the South Sudan peace agreement.
37th GIMAC highlighted the contribution of women & girls to Africa’s peace processes & economic integration, and will also review & consolidate a common position on the effectiveness & efficiency of the AU, RECs, and Member States in mainstreaming gender equality. This year’s meting aimed at consolidating CSOs review of the AU legal and strategic framework on arts, culture and heritage focusing on achievements and critical gaps towards implementation; proposal of inclusive, effective and efficient strategies that enhance and utilize the agency and role of women and girls in realizing the vision for a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics, building on the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area, StGs and AU Reforms.
The proposed key topics for discussion were guided by GIMAC’s six (6) thematic clusters, namely: Governance, Peace and Security, Human Rights, Health, Education and Economic Empowerment. In addition to the thematic focus of work, GIMAC established a sub-committee on girls and young women in 2017 to harness the demographic
and gender dividend. The outcome of the event was a set of key recommendations that will be utilized in advocacy towards the AU Summit and for the GIMAC to outline its roadmap and strategies with specific action points to inform effective coordination and implementation of AU Declarations at the RECs and national levels.
Our partner Carol Kibos from South Sudan
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.