Mobilising Across Africa for Feminist Peace
By Abigail Ruane, WILPF’s Women, Peace and Security Programme Director and Elena Cason, WILPF’s Membership Coordinator
Some of the participants of WILPF’s April 2018 Reclaim UN as Peaceful Organisation Convening. (Photo: WILPF)
One of the best things about working with WILPF is being part of a global sisterhood of committed women who believe things can get better, and are doing their part to create that change.
Next week, WILPF will hold our 2018 International Congress in Accra (Ghana), where we are looking forward to meeting new members, seeing old friends, and connecting, learning and mobilising for feminist peace.
Our WILPF family is expanding, and thus becoming stronger, more united and more dynamic. Over 175 participants from 37 countries will join in meetings in and around WILPF’s Congress.
Lobbying and advocating for non-violent alternatives is easier when working together, so the members of the WILPF family work to support each other in being agents of change, creating regional synergies, sharing knowledge and crafting new approaches to peacebuilding. Being part of WILPF enables them to join a global network that provides more visibility and amplifies their grassroots organising.
In the last few years, WILPF has successfully grown and nurtured a safe and inclusive network of women who share the same commitment to prevent conflict and build peace. In the last three years, WILPF welcomed groups from Afghanistan, Argentina, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic (CAR), Burundi, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Niger, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
It is empowering to see the growth of activism across Africa. The region has become a movement hub thanks to strong leadership by women peace leaders from the DRC to Nigeria to Cameroon, who have mobilised within Africa and worked with sister sections in other regions to build the movement for feminist peace. These leaders have pioneered Women’s Situation Rooms, worked to mobilise action for the adoption of the UNSCR1325 NAP, and challenged shrinking civil society spaces across Africa.
Growing WILPF’s membership organisation through enabling grassroots leadership is an essential element for a shift towards feminist peace. 103 years after 1,136 women from nations on both sides of World War I mobilised at the Hague to prevent and address the root causes of war, the Feminist Peace Movement is growing and thriving.
As we prepare for the Congress, we look forward to learning from our sisters in Africa and around the world, and strengthening bonds of solidarity for feminist peace!
By Colleen Bromberger, Security Council Monitor
WILPF Members at the WILPF’s 2015 Triennial Congress (Photo: Li Grebäck)
The 32nd WILPF Triennial International Congress, the highest decision-making body of WILPF, will be held on 20-22 August 2018 in Accra, Ghana. Under the theme “Building a Feminist Peace Movement”, it will be the first WILPF Congress to be held in Africa. After months of drafting and consultations, the Congress will adopt a 2018-2021 International Programme, which will identify the priorities for the work of the Secretariat and the national sections until the next Congress. It will also adopt resolutions and elect a new International Board.
Within the Congress, different meetings will take place: the Gertrud Baer Seminar, workshops, as well as regional and cross-regional meetings to focus on the development of WILPF’s International Programme. The open Gertrud Baer Seminar for young women will provide space for new WILPF members to learn more about the organisation and thoroughly discuss key global trends of and challenges to peace and security. Other closed meetings, workshops, and regional roundtables at the Congress will offer an opportunity to strategise around conflict root cause analysis, disarmament, transforming multilateral systems, among other issues, including in specific country contexts. The first Congress since WILPF’s centennial in the Hague in 2015, this will be an opportunity to connect, envision, and build action toward feminist peace across WILPF’s global sisterhood.
Register for the Gertrud Baer Seminar here>>
Read more about WILPF 2018 Triennial Congress in Ghana here>>
By Mikayla Varunok, United Nations Monitor
WILPF members at the December 2017 WILPF Africa Regional Conference in the DRC (Photo Credit: WILPF)
In advance of WILPF’s Triennial Congress, WILPF will host a Feminist Peace Movement in Africa Forum on 18 August 2018 at the University of Ghana in Accra. The Forum is aimed at strengthening linkages within and across the African feminist movement for peace and non-violence, and will facilitate a variety of political discussions to mobilise action for change.
Discussions will explore and document the historic and current realities of women working for peace in Africa. It will include plenaries as well as cross-learning workshops including on root causes of violence, mediation, masculinities, and feminist political economies, and will mobilise strategic action for addressing challenges, learning from achievements of the strong and innovative work in Africa. The Forum is open and available to the public.
Join us in Ghana!
Register and learn more about the Feminist Peace Movement in Africa Forum here>>
By Jamila Afghani, WILPF Afghanistan President and Eleanor Bennett, Communications Fellow.
Some of the members of Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO) preparing for the “Mobilising Afghan Men to Protect Women’s Rights, Democracy and Peace” workshop in Kabul, Afghanistan (Photo Credit: NECDO)
Having held its first meeting in May 2015, WILPF’s section in Afghanistan works to advance feminist peace primarily by transforming gendered power. With a primary goal to address the roots of violence in its communities, WILPF Afghanistan has undertaken a number of initiatives that support WILPF’s Theory of Change, including through an “Imams Initiative Training” Programme. This Programme trains religious leaders, youths and clerics in aspects of Islamic tenets with greater emphasis on women’s leadership role for peacebuilding.
WILPF believes that in order to challenge patriarchy, we need to expose violence and inequality as counterproductive to peace. To this end, WILPF Afghanistan directly trains imams to become advocates for gender equality and women’s participation. Through self-reflection, the group encourages the change of hearts and minds of individual influential religious leaders, and builds movements of feminist men who promote care and equal partnership, rather than dominance and violence. This work has a transformative quality in that it aims to achieve long-term societal change by creating mechanisms for comprehensive and respectful engagement with stakeholders.
Read more about WILPF Afghanistan here>>
Read more about WILPF Afghanistan’s work on engaging imams here>>