33333333 11111111111 July 2016 – GNWP
Month: July 2016

Month: July 2016

GNWP Welcomes first Cora Weiss Fellow

GNWP Welcomes first Cora Weiss Fellow

June 27, 2016 by Mavic Cabera-Balleza and Rachel Ford

New York, USA – The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) is delighted to welcome Patience Ikpeh from Lagos, Nigeria as the first recipient of the Cora Weiss Fellowship for Young Women Peacebuilders. Ikpeh, who holds a master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Lagos, is a peace activist and has contributed to many important projects toward the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security through education and the inclusion of women in Nigeria’s peacebuilding agenda.

Through this fellowship, Ikpeh will have the opportunity to work with GNWP for one year on its global and regional advocacy work in the UN and other intergovernmental institutions to promote the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and its supporting resolutions, as well as related laws and policies on women’s empowerment, and gender equality. In addition, Ikpeh will participate in GNWP’s Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 training for local authorities to integrate women and peace and security commitments in local development planning.  Moreover, Ikpeh will take part in training young women and adolescent girls on leadership and peacebuilding under the Girl Ambassadors for Peace program.

Asked about what she hopes to achieve as the first Cora Weiss Fellow, Ikpeh answered, “This program will enable me share expertise and learn good practices from other parts of the world that will help us improve our work in actualizing UNSCR 1325 in Nigeria and other West African countries.”

When Ikpeh finishes her fellowship with GNWP, she will return to Nigeria to bring her enhanced skills and expertise back to her home organization.

The Cora Weiss Fellowship was established to honor Cora Weiss, a long time peace and social justice leader and activist. Weiss is a supporter of the United Nations, an early member of Women Strike for Peace, serving on the National Board of WSP from 1961-1973. She was a leader in the anti-Vietnam war movement in the United States. She was the co-chair and director of the Committee of Liaison with Families of Servicemen Detained in North Vietnam from 1969-1972. As part of this group Weiss organized the exchange of mail between Prisoners of War (POW) held in Vietnam and their families. Weiss and the COL arranged for the return of some POWs. She was the president and a co-founder of The Hague Appeal for Peace. Always interested in the international aspects of the peace movement Weiss was president of the International Peace Bureau from 2000-2006. She is the recipient of numerous peace awards from all over the world.

The Cora Weiss Fellowship for Young Women Peacebuilders supports the development of young women peacebuilders to ensure that more young people share Cora Weiss’s vision for sustainable peace and gender equality as strong and integral parts of our global culture.

Kenya Adopts and Localizes National Action Plan on Resolution 1325

Kenya Adopts and Localizes National Action Plan on Resolution 1325

June 6, 2016 by Mavic Cabera-Balleza and Lori Perkovich

Nairobi, Kenya – Kenya’s National Action Plan on the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the supporting resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (KNAP) was launched March 8, 2016 on International Women’s Day. It is a comprehensive approach to implementing UNSCR 1325 that aims to mainstream the resolutions into national conflict resolution, conflict prevention, peace promotion, and peacebuilding strategies and relevant gender policies. The KNAP also recognizes the important role of civil society in its implementation.

Internationally, Kenya is not regarded as a country in conflict. However, violent conflicts have been going on in many rural communities for many decades. The violence is due to ethnic conflicts, unequal distribution of resources and power struggle among political parties.

Behind the scenes the Kenya 1325 Localization Advocacy Group, comprised of Kenyan civil society groups including Amani Communities Africa, Footprints for Change, PeaceNet – Kenya, and Rural Women Peace Link (RWPL) among others, with support from GNWP, advocated for the formal adoption of NAP to take place in early 2016.

Building on the momentum of the recent adoption of KNAP, GNWP and the Kenya 1325 Localization Advocacy Group are running a series of workshops in Nairobi; as well as in Bungoma and Isiolo counties from June 3 – 10, 2016. National government and county officials, leaders of women’s groups, youth leaders and media practitioners will participate in these workshops. The Coalition for Action on 1325 (CoACT) in Uganda will also take part in the workshops to share their experiences and lessons learned in the Localization of Uganda’s National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325.

The KNAP Steering Committee as represented by the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government is also taking part and providing technical support to the series of national and localization of KNAP workshops.

The Localization of KNAP is made possible with support from the Austrian Development Cooperation.

Implementing Kenya’s Newly Adopted NAP

Implementing Kenya’s Newly Adopted NAP

June 2, 2016 by Lori Perkovich

Nairobi, Kenya – Kenya’s National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325, the KNAP was launched March 8, 2016 on International Women’s Day. It is a comprehensive approach to implementing UNSCR 1325 and addresses the four pillars, specifically recognizing that civil society “can and will play an important role in implementing” the mandates of the NAP. The KNAP will enhance coordination among all relevant actors, raise awareness, and increase accountability among actors responsible for implementing commitments related to women´s participation in peace and security.

Behind the scenes the Kenya 1325 Localization Advocacy Group, comprised of Kenyan civil society groups including Amani Communities Africa, Footprints for Change, PeaceNet – Kenya, and Rural Women Peace Link (RWPL) among others, with support from GNWP, advocated for the formal adoption of NAP to take place in early 2016.

Building on the momentum of the newly adopted KNAP, GNWP and its members who are part of the Kenya 1325 Localization Advocacy Group will hold a series of workshops June 3 – 10, 2016 in Kenya. The group will convene government officials, civil society and other local actors to participate in a NAP workshop in Nairobi June 3 and Localization workshops in Isiolo County June 6 – 7 and Bungoma County June 9 – 10. Robinah Rubimbwa, the National Coordinator for Coalition for Action on 1325 (CoACT) in Uganda will participate in the workshops as a peace exchange member to share best practices and successful Localization implementation and monitoring strategies, while strengthening regional cooperation on integrating women, peace and security standards on the continent.

 

The Kenya KNAP is available for download below.

GNWP and its members in Kenya thank the Austria Development Cooperation for supporting programming in Kenya. 

Role of Media in the Attainment of Goal 16 & the SDGs Overall

Role of Media in the Attainment of Goal 16 & the SDGs Overall

July 26, 2016 by Erin Quinn

As part of the 60th U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, GNWP, along with Peace is Loud and the Permanent Mission of Austria to the U.N., organized an event entitled, “The Role of Media in the Attainment of Goal 16 & the SDGs Overall”. The panel discussed the use of media in the successful implementation of policy and the role that media can play in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through governments, civil society, and the United Nations. It focused specifically on SDG 16, which aims to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. H.E. Ambassador Jan Kickert of Austria gave opening remarks concerning the powerful actor that the media can be in influencing paradigm shifts in gender equality and peace. However, there must be an awareness of the potential harm media can posit for both women and society at large.

The panel began with Christina Stummer, the Senior Gender Advisor of the Austrian Development Agency. Since 2015, Stummer explained, gender goals have been at the forefront, and will continue to be unto 2030. Like GNWP, the Austrian Development Agency uses media actively to demonstrate support in other counties and to promote Women, Peace, & Security in those countries. The Agency reaches 5 million audiences in 30 countries, including in Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, and South East Asia.

Mildred Ngesa of Peace Pen Communication in Kenya continued the discussion by explaining that media is often thought of last in processes such as peacebuilding, which limits sustainable partnerships between media and civil society or NGOs. Specifically, in Kenya, media was blamed for inciting violence, which left 1500 people dead, after the elections in 2007 and 2008. Because the media often operates on party or tribal lines, which it can have limited knowledge on, journalists can cause a polarization between audiences leading to the disengagement with the public. Coverage of UNSCR 1325 and other aspects of Women, Peace, and Security is not always desirable for the media, but there has been progress to make it a more intensely covered topic. If civil society organizations and NGOs partner with media from the start of a peacebuilding process, Ngesa argues, the increased visibility that results increases the importance of the issues. Without media and the consequent lack of visibility, the importance of peacebuilding will diminish.

Adding to the previous presentations, Jamie Dobie discussed Peace is Loud’s work that uses media and live events to highlight the stories of women, peacebuilding, and resisting violence in communities. Her own work has included overseeing the PBS documentary series POV in which over 40 documentaries were made, and the documentary Women, War & Peace shot in Liberia, Afghanistan, Syria, and Egypt. The aim of these documentaries is to tell stories not being documented in mainstream media, which has real impact on communities and changes the ideas concerning women, peace, and security.

From WebPublicaPress in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Erol Avdovic explained that the role of the media is to criticize, which will aid in filling the gap between implementation of policy and practise. Specifically for the U.N., Avdovic recommends that Member States need to be more sensible by going and participating in interviews from smaller blogs and press places on the internet that enables them to have more agency in their own countries.

Malika Dutt of Breakthrough India gave two examples of videos used globally to engage in campaigns of masculinity. Be That Guy and Ring Ring. Be That Guy shifts the norms of masculinity in spaces where men engage in their norms. Changing the rhetoric and dialogue from negative stereotypes to positive affirmations can shift the paradigm of masculinity. Ring Ring uses the concept of bringing a public intervention to private spaces, which asks men to challenge each other when a cycle of violence is being perpetuated. She explained that media is available to use as tool like never before, especially in areas of violence against women where media can be used for power and agency.

GNWP’s International Coordinator, Mavic Cabrera-Balleza concluded the panel by providing recommendations to challenge the dominant paradigms in media that currently focus solely on war and conflict. Instead, she says, media can be used to emphasize women’s work in peace and conflict resolution. Ensuring women’s participation in decision-making processes, she continued, will ensure the narration of stories we want to see and hear.

This blog does not necessarily represent the views of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders.

Youth Participation at CSW60: Good Initiatives But More is Needed

Youth Participation at CSW60: Good Initiatives But More is Needed

April 11, 2016 by Erin Quinn

Youth and their role in peace and security was of broad and current interest as part of the 60th U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. GNWP, in partnership with other organizations, hosted and organized two panel discussions concerning this topic. Additionally, a group of 11 students from the University of Winnepeg in Canada volunteered with GNWP to participate in and attend CSW events, providing a youth perspective to the events.

The first event, which took place on March 14, was titled “Youth Speak Out on Sustainable Peacebuilding Tools.” It featured female youth speakers and their experiences with peacebuilding and its sustainability. Moderated by Professor Marliou McPedran of the Institute of International Women’s Rights at the University of Winnipeg, the panel included GNWP research and advocacy intern and human rights student also from the University of Winnipeg, Katrina Leclerc. Leclerc presented on GNWP’s Girl Ambassadors for Peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and described the integral role youth play in peacebuilding and post conflict societies. “Through the programming, such as Girl Ambassadors for Peace, we can clearly see that youth are at the heart of our communities and have great potential to bring change,” expressed Leclerc. She continued, “I think it is essential to involve youth in every process of peacebuilding in order to develop sustainable peace in our communities.”

Other youth panelists included Breanne Lavallee-Heckert, from Plan International Global Youth Advisory Panel, Gabriela de Carvalho of Taking IT Global, and Kasha Slavner Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. Slavner, who is also a 17-year-old filmmaker, photographer & social entrepreneur, explained her recent documentary project in East Africa and Southeast Asia, which aimed to highlight the stories of youth who are shaping what it means to be global citizens.

Coming from Mexico, Carvalho discussed the role that media plays in contributing to the body image and confidence of young girls and women. She described, “media taught me, that as a woman, I should aspire to be just like the models that spend hours applying makeup and getting their hair done only to be photoshopped.” However, a wave of body positivity recently in the media, specifically for Carvalho, Dove’s Real Beauty campaigns have helped to counter this. “Dove, inspired me to accept who I am, and that I am beautiful no matter what the magazines say. If I am happy with myself, that is enough.”

The second event discussed the complementarities between the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda and the Youth Peace and Security Agenda, especially given the U.N. Security Council’s recent adoption of Resolution 2250 on December 9, 2015. UNSCR 2250 focuses entirely on the role of young men and women in peacebuilding and countering violent extremism. The panelists included: H.E. Benedetto Della Vedova, the President of Libertiamo and the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Italy, H.E. Dina Kawar, the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the UN, Laura Londén, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, Honn. Betty Ogwaro, a Member of the National Legislative Assembly of the Republic of South Sudan and Representative of GNWP, Yousef Mahmoud, a Senior Adviser at the International Peace Institute. The only actual youth panelists were, Mr. Sölvi Karlsson, the Leading Coordinator at United Network of Young Peacebuilders and Hajer Sharief of the United Network of Young Peacebuilders and Together We Build It.

Although the discussion of the panel focused on the great importance of youth voices in peacebuilding processes and the successes made leading up to UNSCR 2250, it was disappointing that there was only one actual youth panelist in the room for this event. Hajer Sharief, the other youth panelist, was only available through skype after her visa was denied. It is disheartening that technical difficulties as experienced during Sharief’s presentation, like the attainment of a visa, can keep youth voices from being expressed.

Despite the unanimous approval by the Security Council on Resolution 2250 in December, there are still many obstacles in the path of youth participation in peacebuilding. There are often high-level discussions of youth, peace, and security matters without youth representatives in the room or with youths in the room while other voices dominate the conversation. University of Winnipeg student volunteers were denied access to a youth networking event during the CSW, although the majority of the room was filled with participants over the age of 35. Although this issue may be one of physical space at events, there needs to be a greater effort to let youth voices into the room and lead the discussions that concern them. Without active participants from youth, the Youth, Peace, and Security Agenda cannot move forward because it will not know what youth want or need.

This blog does not necessarily represent the views of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders.