On 18th February 2021, the Peace Centre convened a Girls Power Camp under the theme ‘My Body My Power’ targeting 178 Primary Seven (P.7) pupils from Orungo Primary School of which 34 girls and from Moruinera Primary School of which 47 were girls in Amuria district. Through conversation circles, we emphasized self-exploration skills, critical thinking and self-awareness.
The camp included a dialogue among the pupils looking at building adolescent’s competencies for the future and providing a platform to discuss the values of girls’ education in the society. The girls were trained in leadership, informed about their bodies, and sensitized on HIV and AIDS to reduce discrimination and stigma.
The Peace Centre also held a talk on conquering fear and confidence building. Under the theme “My body My Power” young girls were guided on how to conquer fear and build confidence using the word of God by Rev. Canon Lawrence Onyait. This was followed by a session on career development covering. The talk also discussed prioritized life values which included courage beyond primary level and self-management during vacation to avoid joining bad groups and early/child pregnancy, forced marriage. This camp aimed to enable learners, take actions that will shape their career path. The P.7 candidates and staff of Orungo primary school appreciated the Peace Centre for their timely intervention of confidence building and career development as they approached PLE.
Since June 2018, Women’s International Peace Centre has organized camps for adolescent girls aged between 9 and 16 years from five schools from Ocakai, Ococia, Otubet, Orungo and Moruinera Primary Schools during which skills girls in leadership, understanding their bodies, discovering their dreams and setting goals .
The Peace Centre between 22nd to 27th February conducted a training on Peacebuilding and Leadership for 50 women leaders and 50 youth leaders as peace advocates in Soroti district. The Women and youth leaders were from different political, religious, cultural and other different leadership positions. The Peacebuilding and Leadership training is timely based on the fact that women’s participation in decision making, in peace building and post conflict recovery in Uganda is markedly low, particularly at local level.
The training enhanced their conflict analysis, peacebuilding, governance, leadership and mediation skills. To build their effective and meaningful participation in the formal and informal peace building processes, participants were trained to apply a gender lens to conflict and peace issues. They also discussed the gendered impact of conflict to further understand the conceptual and practical tools and the different roles that men and women play in peacetime and wartime.
The women and youth leaders were trained in communication and conflict resolution to be able to address the issues of gender discrimination and problems of patriarchy in their society.
The training also included practical exercises and a conflict analysis session, where women leaders were taken through the types of conflict, tools for conflict analysis such as the human knot, that demonstrates teamwork, communication skills and conflict management which helped participants identify the root causes, consequences and interventions for peacebuilding and conflict resolution in their communities.
Practical exercises were also used at our Peace Advocates training focused on negotiation through a drama on the Itesot traditional wedding ceremony that introduced participants to negotiation and dispute resolution tools, techniques and strategies. During the negotiation process participants noted that negotiation begins by identifying the conflict, clarity about what is being offered and what is needed from the other party, effective communication between the parties & agreement to resolve the conflict.
As a result of the training, Soroti Women’s Mediation Networks were created by the women leaders in Gweri, Asuret, Arapai at sub county level in Soroti with the vision of a peaceful and prosperous community. The networks hope to influence women to dialogue with decision-makers for improved service delivery through radio talk shows and engaging local leaders. They look to address child neglect, land conflicts, SGBV, forced and early child marriages in the community.
The Networks will also prioritise sharing good practices, expertise and peer-to-peer learning, where women engaged in mediation in different contexts learn from each. This will contribute to strengthening efforts to enhance women’s meaningful participation and influence in peace processes at all levels.
Youth for Girls’ Peace Network (Teso) was also formed by the Youth Leaders in Peacebuilding and Conflict Analysis with a goal to fight for girls’ rights to education and advocate against early marriage in their community. Apalat Freda, Chairperson of the Youth for Girls’ Peace Network is looking forward to transforming the lives of girls in Teso. She envisions a world where girls live in peace, have a voice and their rights are respected.
The Peace Centre is excited to be a part of Just Future, an Alliance that will over the next 5years, work towards fair, equitable & inclusive justice, security and peace in Afghanistan, Burundi, DRC, Mali, Niger and South Sudan. Just Future was formed in response to the challenges of a fragile world. Consisting of 6 established CSOs and networks, from the Global North and South, our work will strengthen the capacity of CSOs and enable their collective action to bring about more inclusive and peaceful societies.
Just Future’s vision is of a world in which all people in fragile states benefit from more accessible, responsive and accountable security and justice institutions, and more inclusive arrangements for political governance and peace-making. Just Future will work in solidarity with CSOs in each country—especially those representing women, young people, displaced people, and identity-based groups—enabling them to represent the voices of the most excluded at the local, national, regional, and global levels.
Just- future is seeking to change the current state of life because conflict and violence are the most significant obstacles to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The alliance hopes to change the situation through; Lobbying and advocacy toward state security and justice institutions (police, judiciaries, customary authorities), elected officials at local and national levels, and regional and international organizations like the African Union, EU and UN, based on research and evidence
Civil society Capacity strengthening, based on a shared learning agenda, enabling all Alliance members and country-level CSO partners to benefit from knowledge-sharing, peer mentoring, and tailored training—especially through fragile-fragile linkages. Just Future will be implemented by an Alliance of partner organizations.
The Just Future Consortium consists of:
Women’s International Peace Centre (WIPC):
Women’s International Peace Centre (The Centre), formerly Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE), is a feminist organization with a mission to ignite women’s leadership, amplify their voices and deepen their activism in re-creating peace.
African Security Sector Network (ASSN):
The African Security Sector Network (ASSN) is a pan-African network of experts and organizations working in the area of Security Sector Reform (SSR). Founded in 2003, the network is headquartered in Accra, Ghana, with regional hubs in Addis Ababa, Johannesburg and Nairobi.
West Africa Network for Peacebuilding:
The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) is a leading Regional Peacebuilding organization founded in 1998 in response to civil wars that plagued West Africa in the 1990s. Over the years, WANEP has succeeded in establishing strong national networks in every Member State of ECOWAS with over 500 member organizations across West Africa.
The Liaison Office Afghanistan (TLO):
Founded in 2003, The Liaison Office (TLO) is an Afghan non-governmental organization (NGO) that emerged from a Swiss peace pilot project on good governance after the organization was approached by South Eastern province community elders requesting assistance for participation in the peace and reconstruction process. TLO has since evolved into an independent Afghan NGO conducting research and analysis across Afghanistan.
Search for Common Ground:
Founded in 1982, Search for Common Ground works to transform the way the world deals with conflict – away from adversarial approaches and towards collaborative problem solving.
Search works with local partners to find culturally appropriate means to strengthen societies’ capacity to deal with conflicts constructively: to understand the differences and act on the commonalities. Search’s mission is to transform the way the world deals with conflict: away from adversarial approaches, toward cooperative solutions.
Cordaid is an internationally operating emergency relief and development organisation. Cordaid believes in a world where people can break through barriers of poverty and exclusion, influence decisions that affect them, and participate in equitable and resilient societies. Cordaid operates in fragile settings, where citizens have no access to even basic services, because of poverty, armed conflict or power imbalances. Cordaid supports local communities and their endeavors to improve healthcare, food security, education, security and justice. Where disasters strike, Cordaid offers humanitarian assistance.
Next to the Consortium, the Alliance consists of 3 research partners:
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI):
SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public. Based in Stockholm, SIPRI is regularly ranked among the most respected think tanks worldwide.
Rift Valley Institute (RVI):
The Rift Valley Institute (RVI) is an independent, non-profit organization, founded in Sudan in 2001, currently working in eastern and central Africa. The aim of the Institute is to advance useful knowledge of the region and its diverse communities, bringing a better understanding of local realities to bear on social and political action. The RVI works with institutions in the region to develop and implement long-term programmes that combine action-oriented research with education and public information.
Van Vollenhoven Institute of Leiden University (VVI):
The Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society (VVI) is part of the Leiden Law School. The VVI seeks to develop and disseminate socio-legal knowledge and theory regarding the interaction between law, governance and society. More specifically, the Institute studies the emergence, functioning, and evolution of legal institutions. The VVI combines a top-down with a bottom-up approach; it considers perspectives of both state agents, citizens and other non-state actors.
Finally, the Alliance also comprises our network partner:
Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS):
The Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS) is a member-led international network composed of civil society actors, practitioners, experts and academics from the Global South and Global North who work together on conflict and crisis prevention, peacebuilding and statebuilding in over 27 fragile and conflict-affected countries (FCAS).
Together with partners and local communities, we will implement Just Future across 6 countries, as well as at the regional and global levels.
International Rescue Committee (IRC) trained 14 staff members from the Peace Centre on case management from 25th to 29th January 2021. The five-day training enabled participants to handle gender-based violence cases amongst urban refugees in Kampala.
This is in line with the Peace Centre and the IRC partnership on a project to reimagine, support, and reshape nationally driven and locally-led protection systems. The project titled, Scale-Up: Catalyzing Systems to Keep Refugees and Host Communities Safe from Violence (Safety and Power) will rapidly map and analyze how gender-based violence and child protection humanitarian interventions in the urban context, should link up to and be integrated into existing social protection, social welfare, child protection, and justice law and order sector systems. It will also feature engagement of the Centre’s alumni as some have been refugees themselves.
The training was facilitated by the IRC team who took participants through a couple of modules on GBV case management which included; understanding power and GBV and the theoretical foundation for a survivor-centered approach context, and causes of GBV among many others.
The Peace Centre in partnership with Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAP) and the Women Peace and Security Centre of the London School of Economics (LSE) studied the intersection between environmental conflict, peace and gender. This was to provide recommendations for the international community for how it can better ensure that women and girls’ human rights can be delivered despite the challenges of environmental degradation and climate change.
The research; conducted in Yumbe and Adjumani(Uganda), targeted refugee women and women in host communities. It was carried out to enable the International Community to better understand the context-specific and global gender, peace, and security impacts of COVID-19 and develop policy and programming responses was launched in a virtual event hosted by The London School of economics.
Hannah Bond, Director of Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS), and Bineta Diop the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Women, Peace, and Security, joined Our executive director Kezie Helen Nwoha in the launch to introduce the report on- Defending the Future:Gender, Conflict and Environmental Peace.
The research which is by the Women’s International Peace Centre in partnership with GAPS, and the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security focuses on the gendered impact of climate change and how this intersects with women and girls’ right to peace. This research report highlights that there is a growing recognition of the need for the Women, Peace, and Security agenda to take into account how the climate crisis poses risks to women and girls’ peace and security, particularly in conflict and post-conflict contexts.
The research also shares expert insight on the need to account for the risks posed by climate change to women, girls and peace and security and can be reached here.
In preparation for the 2021 presidential election, the Peace Centre conducted fourteen (14) election observer workshops across Uganda which were concluded with a final training held from 9th– 13th January 2021 in Kampala. The Peace Centre trained a total of 540 election observers selected from sub-counties in Arua, Kassanda and Kapelebyong in addition to other districts of Soroti, Lira, Amuria, Kampala, Sembabule, Luwero, Ntugamo, Rukungiri, Yumbe, Kotido and Adjumani.
The training was successful in ensuring that each district had 40 trained election observers with election observation materials deployed to observe elections from 14th to January to 22nd January 2021.
Election observation is a valuable tool for improving the quality of elections and creates confidence in elections that can help promote sound democratic practices. This is vital as Uganda has not experienced peaceful, violent free democratic electoral processes since the introduction of multi-party politics in 1988. The political environment in the build-up to, during, and after elections has over the years become increasingly charged with reports of harassment, intimidation, acts of corruption, human rights abuses perpetrated by different political opponents.
It was successful in training election observers on Electoral Commission election observation guidelines, laws related to election observation, do’s and don’ts of an election observer, and provided tools for data collection to ensure a difference this year. This enabled them to monitor elections and document electoral violence incidences in the eleven districts.
‘The UN Resolution 1325 has succeed in raising awareness of the women peace and security agenda.’ shared Helen Kezie Nwoha representing the Peace Centre shared in a conversation with joined leading women peace advocates from across the Commonwealth as they reimagined what ‘women, peace and security’ might mean for our future. The conversation comes two decades after the Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, part of a global effort to highlight the impact of conflict on women and the need to bring the voice of women into peace processes., it is clear that much remains to be done.
In this second event in the Commonwealth Foundation’s Critical Conversations series, the peace advocates discussed; how Resolution 1325 can be reimagined to better serve the needs and aspirations of women and communities across the Commonwealth. If mainstream approaches to women’s leadership in conflict resolution were actually working? How can women’s participation in peace processes be made more meaningful? How can women peace advocates secure better access to the forums and institutions where decisions are being made?
Speakers drew on their front-line experience to tackle these questions; sharing concrete examples of what has worked well and their perspectives on what needs to be done differently.
Watch this conversation here
The Uganda Women’s Network host of the Women’s Situation Room(WSR) in Uganda in 2021; the Women’s International Peace Centre and the Secretariat of the WSR launched the 2021 WSR. The Women’s Situation Room is a process that mobilizes women and youth to ensure their active participation in promoting peaceful electoral processes.
The process promotes women’s leadership in conflict resolution and peace building in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. The WSR is an early warning and rapid response mechanism to election related conflict and violence in African countries. First implemented by the Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) during the Presidential and Legislative Elections in Liberia in 2011, the WSR was adopted as a Best Practice by the Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) of the African Union, and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia was designated as the Champion for the WSR.
The WSR is a tested mechanism that has been implemented in other African countries including Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda in 2016. The mechanism is a non-partisan platform that focuses on providing early response to election related violence incidents. The WSR works directly with the Electoral Commission and national security organs responsible for security in elections. It also engages with political party leaders, human rights commissions and civil society organizations to ensure peace before, during and after elections.
The 2021 Uganda Women’s Situation Room is set out to work in thirty (30) districts including; Gulu, Amuru, Kitgum, Koboko, Arua, Lamwo, Nwoya, Kampala, Wakiso, Masaka, Luwero, Mityana, Sembabule, Kassanda, Serere, Iganga, Jinja, Mbale, Katakwi, Bugiri, Soroti, Hoima, Mbarara, Isingiro, Kasese, Ntungamo, Kabale, Rukungiri, Kanungu and Rubanda.
The key activities of the 2021 WSR include mobilization and engagement of women and youth to promote peaceful elections through an early warning and rapid response system to election related conflict and violence. The WSR will also train 3,000 women and youth in election observation to report potential and incidences of election related conflict and violence. The Women’s Situation Room process works with a team of Eminent Women who are experienced, respected and non-partisan from different backgrounds.
The WSR in 2021 will have a team of 15 Eminent Women from Uganda and 10 Eminent Women from other African countries. The main role of the Eminent Women is mediation between different actors. The eminent women receive election related incident reports and ensure real time response by the relevant authorities. A Group of The Wise, made up of four experienced senior citizens will provide support to the Eminent Women in their mediation role. All the mentioned actions and activities will culminate into four regional Physical Situation Rooms where intervention and mediation by the Eminent Women will take place, supported by political, legal, gender and security analysts.
The 2021 WSR will have a Steering Committee made up of The Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), Women’s International Peace Centre (The Peace Centre), Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), Action for Development (ACFODE), Women Democracy Network Uganda Chapter (WDN-U), Center for Women in Governance (CEWIGO), Women Human Rights Defenders Network-Uganda (WHRDN-U), National Union of Women with Disabilities (NUWODU), Uganda Media Women’s Association (UMWA), Institute for Social Transformation (IST), The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-U), Center for Conflict Resolution (CECORE) and Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization(GWED-G) and Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET).
The Peace Centre trained 78 refugee women in December 2019 and they have participated in the formal and informal decision making forums for peace. To further strengthen their skills, The Peace enhanced the capacity of 90 peace mediators; 40 in Yumbe from 7th to 9th September 2020 and 35 in Adjumani from 10th to 12th September 2020 and 15 in Kotido from 19th to 21st August 2020.
During the training the 75 women peace mediators discussed what they did with the skills they obtained during the mediation training in December 2019, with demonstrations on how they handled the conflict cases and they were guided. The training also focused more on advocacy for conflict prevention and peace building, OPM community based service department took participants through the referral pathway, new action plans were developed and participants went out to implement. The 15 participants in Kotido included community development officers whose involvement in peace building has been low since they had never been targeted with peace building initiatives yet are key if peace is to be realised.
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.
Violent conflict across Africa and its disproportionate impact on young
women and girls shines a light on their usual marginalization and vulnerabilities, often exacerbated during times of instability.
In a bid to understand and respond to young women’s specific experiences of conflict across Africa’s hotspots, UNSCR 2242 invited actors to track the gender focus of aid contributions and urges the redoubling of efforts to integrate women’s needs and gender perspectives in all work in order to address deficits. As such, Isis-WICCE sought to capture the experiences of South Sudanese refugee young women and girls living in Uganda while assessing the extent to which their gender-specific needs are addressed.
This is document contains ;
- experiences of South Sudanese refugee girls and young women in Uganda,
- the recommendations intended to inform policy and programming in humanitarian settings and serve as the basis for provision of urgent assistance based on identified need.
- South Sudanese refugee girls’ experiences of war
Read more here;