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.
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
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.
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 Self-care
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
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This year’s Feminist Leadership Institute under the theme “Socio-cultural transformation through the transformative leadership” kicked off with 15 Deputy Chair of the all 13 districts of province 3 and Women Human Rights Defenders in Nepal. This was an opportunity to embed a feminist approach to bring social and cultural transformation, clarify transformatory leadership, enhance the knowledge of bodily integrity, value women work, and identity, develop an understanding on causes and consequences of violence against women from women’s perspective and build agency for Socio cultural transformation.
Our partner, National Alliance of the Women Human Rights Defenders (NAWHRD) recently organized the Feminist Forum in the all 7 provinces of Nepal with the theme “Women’s bodily integrity, labor and identity is a pre requisite of Federal Republic democratic Nepal”. This forum has acted as a common ground where the local level women representatives, women human right defenders, social activists, politicians, journalists and other stakeholders come together to discuss plan and strategize to create enabling environment to ensure women’s rights for the five years tenure at local bodies.
The forum enabled women leaders to understand their role to create enabling environment for every single woman in the country to enjoy their right to bodily integrity, work and identity curbed by the century long patriarchal socialization process. In all these forums, the major difficulty shared by women elected was not receiving proper cooperation from Mayors on their work. It was realized that a lot of women elected are not clear on their role and are having difficulty to assert their rights that are ensured by the constitution. In this regard, NAWHRD, in partnership with Isis-WICCE is working together to provide support to strengthen leadership position of these women elected.